The Amber Room, Catherine Palace

This morning I had a big breakfast. After losing so much weight I gorged myself on white bread with cheese and honey the colour of amber, a boiled egg, two cups of good coffee and two bowls of cereal.

Amazing what an old-fashioned breakfast can do to a person.

Many people wrote and asked what amber is. I quote:

“Amber is an organic material and originates from the ancient relic pine Pinas succinifera. Its resin fell into soil and stayed dozens of millions of years conserved in it. 50 million years ago the process of crystallization was finished on the territory of the Baltic Sea basin.”

In Afrikaans one would describe it as “versteende boomgom van ‘n tipe denneboom.”

I had a relaxed ride from Luga to Puschkin. The sun was shining and the road was good. I easily found Puschkin and the Catherine Palace. The sheer size of the palace was impressive.

Some information on the palace (thanks to Wikipedia):

“The residence originated in 1717, when Catherine I of Russiaengaged the German architect Johann-Friedrich Braunstein to construct a summer palace for her pleasure. In 1733, Empress Anna commissioned Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrei Kvasov to expand the Catherine Palace. Empress Elizabeth, however, found her mother’s residence outdated and incommodious and in May 1752 asked her court architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli to demolish the old structure and replace it with a much grander edifice in a flamboyant Rococo style. Construction lasted for four years and on 30 July 1756 the architect presented the brand-new 325-meter-long palace to the Empress, her dazed courtiers, and stupefied foreign ambassadors.”

So, four years after the end of my 2008 tour I managed to get to and see the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace in Puschkin near St Petersburg.

One may take photographs in the whole of the palace but NOT in the Amber Room. I did try and got shat out thoroughly by an elderly lady that had to oversee the ban on cameras there.

What amazed me even more, there were guided tours only in Russian. One may not go on your own into the palace. I had to join a Russian tour, understood zero, but I got to the Amber Room at least!

I got parking inside the perimeter of the Palace and a room looking onto the inner court of the palace. That is a story for another day how that happened.

The southern side of the palace facing the huge park.

I hate standing in any queue, that is why we have internet. However, at the palace I had to join the queue and wait for my turn to enter the palace.

The White Dining Room.

Part of the Great Hall.

Still part of the Great Hall.

We all had to wear these funny slippers to protect the floor. I think it is a good idea.

Thee Russians took care of me and gave me their English brochure. I don’t have all the names, but Julya, an air hostess, stands next to me, her mother from Vladivostok on the left, and Julya’s friend took the photograph. At the end of the tour they gave me a small souvenir for the KLR. They were very kind people.

The Green Pilaster Room.

The stolen photograph of the Amber Room. Its focus is not sharp as I had only milliseconds to point and take the photograph before I was caught out. What a fascinating room!! Third time that I saw the room, first time completely restored. My trip was worth every hardship.

Another photo towards the Amber Room, taken from the next room. I bought a booklet with the history of the Amber Room, how it got lost and then about the whole process how to rebuild it to look precisely like the original. where could those original plates be?

The groups come without stop to see this cultural wonder.

The Church of the Resurrection in the eastern wing of the palace.

A panorama picture of the southern side of the palace.

Panorama picture of the northern side of the palace.

The Church of the Resurrection at ten at night.

It was an unforgettable experience to walk late at night at the palace with no other tourist in sight. And I had a white perimeter fence to guard me and the KLR from all “evils from outside.” πŸ™‚

Lastly, the operation for the first two children with cleft lips and palates have been paid. Thanks to all the donors so far! I am not worried whether we reach our target or not as every Rand raised is a bonus. However, the experience of the past taught that most donations come at the end. The final date for all donations is 1 September.

A group of friends got together and put some money on the July Handicap horse race of last Saturday. At the end they donated all the money (R 1 000.00!) to Operation Smile. Thank you so much Brenda, Letitia, Elsabe, Syta, aunt Daleen, Jackie and Dorette!

Tomorrow I have to find a place where I can do an oil change on the KLR. I am now only at the halfway mark of my ride.

My thoughts will be with Dick and his family when they bury Dean this afternoon at two.

About Lodie

Africa, Africa, Africa!
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7 Responses to The Amber Room, Catherine Palace

  1. Neil Buckley says:

    Wow, awesome story and stunning pics.

    The KLR looks like in fits in to the palace environment πŸ™‚

    Your tour guide in the picture the one with the blond hair has nice eyes πŸ˜‰

  2. Ronel says:

    Onbeskryflik mooi!!!!!

  3. Bradley Timm says:

    That is really beautiful. Pity more Westerners don’t include this part of the world in their travelling itinerary. Be safe…

  4. Emil says:

    Lodie, You are rich beyond words. If I may: One day, many years in the future, you’d be sitting in your rocking chair smiling and on being asked why you’re smiling, you’d simply reply, “I’m just thinking back on my life. It was good.”

    Four months and counting before I get my Adventure bike!

    Kom kuier vir ons as jy weer ‘n tydjie het!



  5. Ernst says:

    Hi Lodie. Deesdae as ek by plekke nie mag fotos neem nie, stel ek my Drift “helmet cam” om elke paar sekondes foto’s te neem. die fotos is natuurlik onderstebo soos ek die helmet dra, maar op rekenaar “rotate” ek dit en ek het al die foto’s wat ek wil he, en niemand weet ek neem foto’s nie. Oops nou is dit nie meer ‘n geheim nie. Groete en geniet die reis verder.

  6. Christine R-G says:

    Awesome! Thanks for braving a rap on the knuckles to take a photo. Safe travelling and good riding!

  7. theuns says:

    Hi Lodie dankie vir al die foto;s en terugvoer vanwaar jy toer dis lekker om jou te volg op google.Hou maar by die reels en regulasies van elke land ou maat,dit maak net van jou en ons almal beter mense.

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