In part two of her travelouge, Vickie and her husband visit Tallinn, Estonia enroute to St. Petersburg and Moscow during their Russia, Warsaw and the Baltic States Guided Vacation.
Our next stop was the town of Tallinn, Estonia. Old Town Tallinn was decked out with cobblestone streets and beautiful historic buildings. The beautiful Opera House originally completed in 1913 was destroyed during the Soviet bombings of March 1944 but renovated in the late 1940s. Our dining experience included entertainment of a mock sword fight.
Next, we headed to the border with Russia. Our guide, Kari Ann, ensured all our papers were ready and eased our anxiety going through the entry point process. The next day we began exploring St. Petersburg. Our visits included the fortress of St. Peter and Paul and dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral. We cruised along the Baltic shore to Peter the Great’s summer castle situated atop the bluff, adorned with beautiful gardens and fountains.
The Savior of the Spilt Blood Church was built on the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in an assassination attempt on 3/1/1881. The intricate mosaic details on the exterior and interior make this a place to see.
In the harbor of St. Petersburg, we learned the story of the lighthouses located on the columns of red granite at the entrance to Vasilevsky Island boasting prows of captured ships on the sides.
Our next day’s agenda focused on the Winter Palace building of the Hermitage. We spent hours enjoying the breathtaking collection of art. Clearly time did not permit viewing the entire collection but it was well worth the stop for what we could see. St. Petersburg’s architectural buildings kept our eyes wandering all around.
The next day we boarded a high speed Sapson train that would take us to Moscow. Along the way, we were able to take in the countryside of Russia observing the condition of remote towns and rural life.
Moscow is quite different from St. Petersburg. Everything in Moscow was large – the buildings, streets, vehicles – even the traffic jams! New construction could be seen everywhere.
Taking a walk back in time, we explored Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Cathedral of the Dormition, Lenin’s tomb and the Kremlin. We admired the Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the Liberty Bell of Moscow. The rows of Russian field cannons, now silent, were also impressive.
Later we got a chance to experience Moscow’s Metro. Although similar to other metropolitan subways, we were impressed with the extravagant architecture including the marble walls, bronze statues and ceramic tiles depicting the history of life in Moscow throughout the years. A stop at the famous GUM department store was also included in the excursion.
Our trip finished in Moscow. Learning more of the history, culture and current life of the people living in these countries was well worth the trip. We have tried to mention the highlights but there was much more. Lastly, we met wonderful people sharing the trip with us from all around the world and have remained in contact.