Random fact about me: I don’t impress easily. But from the first glimpse of Peterhof, I was thoroughly impressed.
The day started with a boat trip up the Neva River from Petersburg to Peterhof. Peterhof was the summer palace of Peter the Great, and he spared no expense at making it one of the most luxurious palaces in Europe.
Your journey from the docks starts with a long walk through the lower gardens culminating in a circular pool with an impressive sculpture of a man wrestling a lion as the focus of a fountain in the center.
You then walk up the steps, past gold-gilded Greco-style statues framing a cascade of fountains until you reach the summit. The palace itself is a pastel yellow color–following the traditional pastel pallet of Petersburg–and is constructed in the Baroque style.
For many miles on each side of the palace lay vast gardens spotted with fountains, sculptures, buildings, and intricate flower arrangments. A ledge on the northern side gives a beautiful panoramic view of the Gulf of Finland.
Of all the people who took part in this excursion, myself, the Germans, and the Austrians fell in love with the area. The French, however, declared it “gaudy and fake.” But the truth of the matter is, judging from pictures and firsthand accounts of the Germans who have been to Versailles, the French are simply jealous. It’s alright, I would be too. 🙂