After the information overload of the day it was quite relaxing to sit back and take in a tradional Russian folk show of singing and of course some Cossack dancing. Certainly a show to be remembered.
Our last day of the tour began with another bus ride. This time to Catherine Palace where we were blown away by the decadence of the rooms. This lady certainly knew how to spend money. The first room we entered is known as the Gold Room and you do almost need sunglasses. To top it off there was a small choir just waiting to sing for us. The palace is still undergoing reconstruction and we were able to watch some of the parquetry floor being laid in one of the dining rooms.
Once back into town we headed to Peter and Paul Fortress which lies across the Neva River from the Hermitage. It is here that all the Tsars are buried.
Outside fortress with Hermitage behind
One for the random funny sign collection. This one at the Peter & Paul Fortress seemed to include such important items as 'No Ski Jumping', 'No jumping off tall buildings' and 'No karate chopping trees'.
For the record it is around 4pm in the afternoon and you can see it is already dark. Only 6 hours of sun (if it shines) to soak up. Our last stop was St Isaac Cathedral and yep we could take pictures inside a cathedral!! At last we can show some of the effort that goes into decorating Russian style. The first thing to note is there are no chairs. Everyone stands during the service and even the Royals need permission in order to sit. Services also take up to 6 hours. The interior of the churches are decorated to a common theme with the altar always being on the eastern side and between 3 and 7 rows of iconostasis surrounding it. Believe us, everything has a spot. One unique aspect of this cathedral is that nearly all the 'paintings' lining the walls are actually mosaics.
They didn't like people taking photos during the show, so the best we got was this view of the curtain.So in ending this series of posts, we had an amazing time in Russia and would recommend it as a destination to anyone considering it. We hope everyone had as good a Christmas as we did.