Today we woke up to rain. JJ made blini for breakfast. They are very similar to crepes. Super yummy! Anna came for us at 10:00am along with a driver. We drove and drove to get to one of the summer palaces. I guess it makes sense that if you were royalty and wanted to get away for the summer you wouldn't build your palace right beside the city, but it seemed to take a long time. Of course the traffic didn't help. For the first time I felt like we experienced driving that was, well, an experience. I don't think I driver put us in any danger, but the way people drove around us demanded some interesting driving in turn. It was a beautiful home. We got to walk all through the upstairs and through a few rooms in the downstairs. The really incredible part to me was seeing the pictures of the destruction after the Nazi invasion and comparing those to how it looks today. They've done so much restoration! It was raining off and on the whole time we were inside, but when we went outside to look at the grounds it had stopped. We had planned to see another palace, but Natasha called and said there was bad weather in St. Petersburg. She suggested we reschedule for another day. So we headed back into town and ate lunch at Pizza Hut. It was the same and not the same. It was good though. The driver took us back home. Anna was sweet and helpful. Hopefully she will get to translate for us next week. She has finals the next few days so she won't be available. We rested and ate super in the apartment. Then we headed back out to explore more of the shops near our apartment. I wanted to look at children's books and JJ wanted to look at DVD's. We found some movies in English for a very reasonable price so now we are watching something other than Sherlock Holmes. I will try to post some pictures from our day, but JJ took so many it will be difficult to decide.
A view from the outside.
Anna and I in the only bedroom we saw during our visit.
A photograph of one of the rooms in the palace after the Nazi occupation.
JJ beside a statue. We think it is Plato, but we might be wrong.
The beautiful floors! We had to wear blue booties to protect the floors. I kept mine when we left to protect my shoes from the water.
A very fancy bed. Anna said this room was just for show even when the family lived here.
One of the beautiful crystal chandeliers.
The domed ceiling in the central room.
A view looking out into the park.