To all the Russian history and literature buffs out there, the Tsar’s Village (Tsarskoe Selo) is a well-known spot. In this village outside St. Petersburg, Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature, made his name. It was here that the author of Eugene Onegin studied and wrote himself into stardom.
I had the chance to see the school Pushkin attended. Not the inside. Just the outside. You know why? Because I had no idea what the building was. Look at this picture. Do you see that small yellow chapel and the building next to it? Yep. That’s it. I’m an idiot.
To be fair, directly across from the school was Catherine’s Palace. I got a little distracted. Can you blame me?
On the inside, Catherine’s Palace was even more gorgeous. Some say there is beauty in subtlety. The Russian tsars have never said this. The ball room was covered in gold and glass. You could imagine so many lords and ladies dancing there and staring at their beautiful, wealthy selves in the many mirrors.
There were several other lovely rooms with tiled ovens, colored walls, and excessive amounts of adornment. My personal favorite was the dining room with the arrangement of fake fruit. With the fruit comes a story. Peter the Great, who stayed in the palace at one point, had a great affinity for dentistry. By that, I mean he liked to pull people’s teeth out. So, Peter’s hope was that his guests would bite the fake fruit and break their teeth because then he had an excuse to pull out their teeth. Isn’t history wonderful?
In the back of the palace was a large garden on a pond. The silence and solitude of the gardens were a well-appreciated break from the clamor of the city. As much as I love the excitement of an urban area, there’s something about an open expanse of nature that sets me at ease, as if up until then, I’ve been holding my breath.