Monday, July 14, 2008

Russian River Cruise - Day 11 - May 22

A few more photos from the city tour and then a few from the Hermitage. When you are on a tour of this kind, it is difficult to get good photos. One must keep up with the group and try to hear as much as possible of the information while trying to get good photos without tripod or time. The Hermitage is spectacular, awesome. Our night at the Ballet here, was the most treasured time of the Russian trip, for me. Our tour group left at 8:00 am so as to have an early start in the museum. This worked, to a certain extent, although there were other tour groups on the same schedule.
From the daily log of the Uniworld tour: Gaugin, Picasso, Monet, Degas. All great masters are represented in this fine museum. The tour lasts 2 hours. Photo and video fee applied. Big bags and water bottles are not allowed. Wear comfortable shoes.
Morre from the daily log: One of the world's great art galleries, set in a magnificent palace from which tsars ruled Russia for one and a half centuries. The State Hermitage fully lives up to its reputation as one of the country's chief glories.
The State Hermitage consists of five linked buildings along riverside the Palace embankment. From west to east they are the Winter Palace, the Little Hermitage, the old and new Hermitage (sometimes grouped together and called the Large Hermitage) and the Hermitage Theatre.
The present Baroque/Rococo Winter Palace was commissioned from Rastrelli in 1754 by Empress Elizabeth. Catherine the Great and her successors had most of the interior remodeled in classical style by 1837. That year a fire destroyed most of the interior, but it was restored virtually identically. It remained an imperial home until 1917, though the last two tsars spent more time in other St.Petersburg palaces.
The classical Little Hermitage was built for Catherine the Great as a retreat that would also house the art collection started by Peter the Great, which she expanded. At the river end of the Large Hermitage is the Old Hermitage, which also dates from her time. At the south end is the New Hermitage, which was built for Nicholas II to hold the still growing art collection and was opened to the public for the first time in 1852. The Hermitage Theatre was built in the 1780's.

Now.... John the Painter was in and has accomplished much his first day. The ensuite is patched and ready for its new paint. There is one wall in the master bedroom finished and the others are ready for another coat. Closets are done as is the woodwork. I absolutely love the new color... very light mauve.. gives the room a lovely warm glow. The guy from Hourigans has put down some filler on the floor at the entry way... it needs 2 coats and this has had to dry. He put the lino down in the storage closet and it looks great! This man is a perfectionist. I must get him back to do the rest of the flooring! John is doing a super job of the painting also. I spent part of the day sorting stuff to keep, send to goodwill, send to dump or the shredder; carrying things back downstairs. We really don't have that much space used up by our old archives. It is just time for some stuff to go.. the old Christmas decorations and tree are going to goodwill... they seem to have taken up most of the space. I called a person to come to give me a quote on new draperies all over the house. Joanne will be here on Thursday. I had a look at their website, and it really is pretty awful. They could use some good photos of their products, and a new design with better colors. Hope their actual draperies are better than the website. I should probably get another couple of quotes for comparison. I will see after Thursday, if we can work together, and she understands what I want. We are sleeping in the guest room, so I did not get much sleep in the strange bed, as well as worrying about the workmen arriving at 8:00. I am a night person, so this change of schedule, necessitated my having a nap this afternoon. Hope I am not up half the night again, as there is another early start tomorrow.

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