St. Petersburg, Russia
Tour of the Hermitage and Symphony Performance
We were told to "dress" for the evening. The tour was after hours reducing the crowd.
The Winter Palace and Hermitage was amazing. Just as it was the last time I was here, it took my breath away. The craftsmanship of the ceilings and wood inlays of the floors were so delicate and lovely. The tour through the Hermitage lasted 90 minutes and included a great collection of Rembrandts and collectibles. Then what we had been waiting for, the St. Petersburg State Symphony performance. We were shocked to see it was a full symphony orchestra! We sat in a large room surrounded by Rembrandt paintings, skylight and ornate ceiling listening to a great collection of the masters. The program included the Blue Danube and Barber of Seville. Afterward, we were treated to a Champagne Reception in the atrium with cherry juice for non-drinkers. When we left the building, several cathedrals and buildings across the canal were lit up against the black night sky reflecting in the canals. It was romantic, I couldn't have planned it better myself.
There were four buses full of people returning from evening events at the same time. Customs took forever and the line to get back onboard was 30 minutes in the freezing cold. Good thing we dressed in layers! We were cold, tired and hungry as we were it was heartwarming to walk into our stateroom and see two covered plates of food waiting in our room.
(For a video of the performance copy and paste:
We were docked in Russia for a total of three days. It is a Magical City.