Thursday, June 17, 2010


We start our Russian holiday in St Petersburg which is within spitting distance of Finland (actually, about a 5 hour train journey from Helsinki). 
St Petersburg was founded in 1702 – which theoretically makes it younger than Cape Town!
Jan van Riebeck arrived in 1652 to develop a way station and vegetable gardens to service passing Dutch ships.
Then in 1654 Asian ‘immigrants’ (banished to the Cape by the Dutch High Court) arrived and soon slaves from the east followed, no doubt to help build the Cape Castle and fort which was completed in 1679.

While this hive of activity was going on at the Cape of Good Hope, on the most southerly point of the African continent, 10 487.45 kms north east, Peter Romonav (soon to be Peter the Great) was born in Russia in 1672. When he was about 22 years-old, he cast his eye on a marshy, mosquito infected piece of real estate made up of over 500 islands in the mouth of the Neva River and decided that this would be a perfect place to build his naval port and Western style city. The result is a city that looks like the Venice of the North.
In 1710 he moved  his imperial family, lock stock and smoking barrels (from his new navy ships) and most of the government as well) from Moscow to his shiny new capital called ....  St Petersburg. 

It wasn’t always called that - you might remember it as Petrograd (1914 - 1924) or as Leningrad (until 1991) but now it has come full circle and is called St Petersburg again.  Our ship will be berthed at the Salt Pier, Oktiabrskaya Nab. 29, in the River Neva.  Will take photos to show you when we get there!

1 comment:

  1. A Golden Greeting to Sil and Patty from a sunny Royal Wedding Day in Stockholm 19th June 2010. May your journey be joyful, a source of beauty and cultural enrichment and full of fun. God Bless you and keep you both on the trip of a lifetime.