Views from the Ship - Some St.Petersburg Impressions
A smaller ship like the Albatros has a few advantages, among them the fact that the ship could get closer (in)to the towns than the big monsters that have to stay in the larger outer harbours. So the Albatros sailed up the Neva to anchor directly in town (same with the Daugava in Riga; and we got pretty close to the Old Town in Stockholm, too). That will make for a little series of photos.
Cranes in the inner freight harbour
I took those photos when the ship left St.Petersburg - with an extra swing towards the first of the bridges that connects the Vasilyevsky Island with the mainland to the south. There had been a thunderstorm in the morning after a hot day before, and towards the evening, the clouds started to let up, though they still were pretty impressive. I liked the surrealistic look of the cranes against the sky.
Annunciation Bridge, with St.Isaac's Cathedral in the background (mainland side)
Above is a view of the Blagoveshchensky Bridge (Annunciation Bridge, for those who don't want to get a knot in their tongue by pronouncing Russian, lol), the frist of the bridges that span the Neva, coming from the direction of the Bay of Finland. The second bridge in the background is the Palace Bridge, and the golden cupola belongs to St.Isaac's Cathedral.
Annunciation Bridge, on the Vasilyevsky side
The Annunciation Bridge has been renovated in 2007 when it also got its current name; before it had been known as Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge. Both bridges are drawn up for some hours every night to let transport vessels pass; thus effectively cutting Vasilyevsky Island off the mainland. This can end in a not so nice surprise for those who missed the time; they'll get stuck until about 5 o'clock in the morning.
The Vasilyevsky side of the Neva
The southern embarkment of the river - on the Vasilyevsky side - has some of the oldest houses in St.Petersburg (early 18th century). I got a nice view from my cabin, too, but the upper decks are a better place for taking photos. The canals and streets on this part of the island show a regular, square pattern that indicates a town planned on the drawing board.
The four masted barque Sedov
Another pretty sight was the four-masted square rigged barque STS Sedov
; a training ship for cadets of various schools of navigation in Russia (mostly Murmansk and St.Petersburg). She was just preparing for a voyage around the world and would leave two days later.
The ship has an interesting history. She was built in Germany in 1921 as Magdalene Vinnen
(later Kommodore Johnsen
), a freight carrying sailing ship, and one of the largest, too, with 117,5 metres length. Today she's only surpassed by the Royal Clipper
The Sedov against the Vasilyevsly skyline
After WW2 she came to Russia as war reparation and was renamed Sedov
, after the Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov who had died on an expedition in 1914. She served as sail training vessel of the Soviet Navy until 1957, then she was used as an oceanographic research ship until 1966. In the following years, the old lady was only infrequently used until she got overhauled in 1981. Besides new technical equipment and a fresh layer of paint, she also got a glass-domed restaurant and cinema. The Sedov
must have been the most luxurious training ship after that. After the independence of Latvia, she got transfered from Riga (her home since 1982) to Murmansk.
Mary's Annunciation Church on the Vasilyevsky side, seen thrugh the rigs of the Sedov
I saw a TV report just a few days ago that she had another thorough renovation in the dock of Wismar in Germany in 1995. She had been a white bird until 2005 when a movie about the Pamir
that sank in 1957, was filmed on the Sedov
and she got the black paint
participated in windjammer races already during Soviet times and won a number of prices. Today she still serves as training ship but also accepts paying guests. Though I'm not sure I'd like to climb the riggings. *grin* Albeit seeing her in fulls sails might be worth it.
Another surrealistic photos of cranes in the freight harbour
This was a first glimpse of St.Petersburg from a side not everyone's going to see the town. I have more material to be back with pretty palaces and shiny cathedrals some day. Or even some Russian kitsch - they sell that stuff everywhere around the Famous Sights. :)
Website of the Sedov