I’m back in the States after a 20-hour flight, four security check points, two luggage check-ins (for one fat bag), an extra charge for an obese suitcase and three cocktails from airports in St. Petersburg, Helsinki and New York.
So far, I haven’t kept track of how many photos and videos I shot of St. Petersburg. I am working on few more photoblog entry about my Russian trip.
Lonely Planet and my Russian colleagues told me there was no way I could see everything I wanted to see inside the State Hermitage Museum.
I barely scratched the surface at the Winter Palace. Once the home of Catherine II and other Russian emperors, the palace is now a treasure trove of art. You can embark on an international tour of artistic masters without leaving St. Petersburg’s Historic Heart.
After shelling out a couple of hundred roubles for the English audio guide and photography/video rights, I was ready to explore the Hermitage collections.
I was dazzled by Da Vinci’s Litta Madonna. I think we may have seen Da Vinci’s sketch of this Madonna inside the Louvre.
Tour groups filled up most rooms in the Winter Palace. On my plane ride to Helsinki, one Canadian said his tour group had two hours to explore the palace collections. I’m happy I had my English audio guide and the luxury to linger.
My strategy was to hang by the back of the room, allow the tour leaders to babble on about the historical significance of the exhibits and then move to the center of the room as the tour group scurries on to the next collection.