Minimal words… mainly just photos in which I have laboriously attempted to crop out the tumultuous tsunami of tourists in Russia yes I admit it I was there – a mere fleck of foam on that tidal wave.
This is the Fairy Castle at Schwerin – so naturally I signed up for the day tour. I skipped the Berlin option as I have visited Berlin several times in the past few years and the tour involved a few hours in a bus there and back, a singular ordeal just a few less masochistic turns of the screw than those of a queue, in my travelling world.
The Throne Room.
Part of the walls of the old town -there were originally 20 towers now there are 10 still standing
"restored" or "replicated"?
A moot point as almost all of the photos which follow are of the rich palaces and gardens from the days of the Russian Czars especially Peter the Great and Catherine, but they are replicas as the original buildings were completely destroyed in the revolution and possibly during the various world wars, so there was not enough remaining structure to "restore" but rather they were replicated from original drawings and pictures!
There were a few examples of the original furniture and art but again the majority of the genuine art works and priceless treasures reside in the Hermitage Museum, what we most saw were reproductions. If only our manic, enthusiast guide, Max had not taken it upon himself to eruditely set the architectural story "straight" so to speak, we all to a man would have gazed in awe assuming what we beheld was as old as Methuselah.
I can be forgiven for not remember the actual names of these mesmerising palaces, let's just say that one was the summer residence, the other, winter where Czar Peter and Queen Catherine hunted or played Scrabble respectively.
All the water features in these gardens were gravity fed.
Vivienne and I were the only two of our cruise group, some 42 odd persons, who chose to visit the Faberge Museum in the evening. Put it down on your "must do" list
Second day – St. Petersburg
So there we are! A few final alleged historical facts about Peter the Great
- He was 6 ft 8 in tall but with very small head, hands and feet! (There must be a syndrome in there somewhere?)
- He decreed that men must be beardless and introduced a beard tax.
- He outlawed homosexuality in the army.
- He collected butterflies.
- Despite marriage and the issue of numerous children, it is claimed he had a boyfriend.