Author Topic: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace  (Read 31962 times)

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Offline Mary Breheny

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Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« on: February 20, 2008, 06:21:30 PM »
I was wondering if someone might help me.  In August I will make my third trip to Russia and, of course, am very excited.  While my husband and I are in St. Petersburg, our group will go on a tour that includes the Catherine Palace in Pushkin as well as Pavlovsk.  Since I have already been in the Catherine Palace, I would like to walk over to the Alexander Palace while the tour group is inside the Catherine Palace.  It appears that the two palaces aren't very far apart, although maps can be misleading.  Would I have time to do this?  Also, will I be able to tour the Alexander Palace on my own?  The last time I was at the Alexander Palace a Russian guide took us.  This time I would be alone since my husband wants to tour the Catherine Palace.  Does this sound "doable"?

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 06:30:24 PM »
I was wondering if someone might help me.  In August I will make my third trip to Russia and, of course, am very excited.  While my husband and I are in St. Petersburg, our group will go on a tour that includes the Catherine Palace in Pushkin as well as Pavlovsk.  Since I have already been in the Catherine Palace, I would like to walk over to the Alexander Palace while the tour group is inside the Catherine Palace.  It appears that the two palaces aren't very far apart, although maps can be misleading.  Would I have time to do this?  Also, will I be able to tour the Alexander Palace on my own?  The last time I was at the Alexander Palace a Russian guide took us.  This time I would be alone since my husband wants to tour the Catherine Palace.  Does this sound "doable"?

I think it's very do-able. Just pick a day when the AP is open (not Tuesday) and you should be able to do it. The AP is very close to the CP, only about a 5 minute walk... I think you have to have a guide take you through the museum, but there is a guide there almost all the time...

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 06:37:41 PM »
P.S. You will probably be done with your tour before your husband since the AP is much smaller. It depends on when you start, but I think the entire tour of the wing takes an hour or less.

Offline pastpalacelife

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 07:25:36 PM »
Does the palace staff allow you to walk around for as long as you want, or do you go through each room and leave after the last room?  I also would like to ask the people who have been to the Alexander Palace, the first time you saw it, what surprised you the most?  For instance, was it smaller or bigger than you thought it would be, etc.  That would include Alexander Park first impressions as well.  Thanks, tracy

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 07:30:13 PM »
I also would like to ask the people who have been to the Alexander Palace, the first time you saw it, what surprised you the most? 

I guess by the time I first saw the AP, I had seen enough photographs of it to have a pretty good idea what to expect as far as size, etc. But I have to say that I think the thing that surprised me most was the squalid condition it was in...  It's rather sad at first, but you get used to it very fast and then it doesn't really bother you anymore.

As far as the palace staff allowing visitors to walk around, I honestly am not sure. Every time I was there, I think there was a guided tour. The last time I was there, I was doing an internship, so I was allowed to walk around on my own, but that was different... I am honestly not sure. I think tsaria may be able to tell you for sure if she comes to this thread, or maybe you can PM her....

Offline Joanna

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008, 07:34:04 PM »
Hi Mary,

Further to Helen's posts, the tour bus will let you off at the end of Dvortsovaya (see map link):
http://www.infoservices.com/stpete/pushkin/pushkin_map800e.htm
While your husband's group will then walk to the entrance of Catherine Palace, you can walk back up Dvortsovaya past the Kitchen building to the entrance of the AP. The many times I was in the AP, I never had a guide. There are women seated in the hall that you can ask if you wish for a guide. It would be better to tour the rooms on your own as you are then able to linger, to take photographs and feel the moments of history. Also take a copy of the floor plan from this site with you although the rooms are identified.

You should also find out the timeframe of your husband's group tour so that if it is an hour or two, you may want to walk to the Feodorovsky Cathedral which is very close to the AP along the path. And do confirm where the group will be meeting your bus. When I stayed in Tsarskoe Selo, I noticed that the buses were lined up along Malaya, Srednaya, etc. and this will allow you to end up back at the bus. I will be back in Tsarskoe in April and May and can answer after any question you have.

Joanna

Offline Mary Breheny

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2008, 08:00:40 PM »
Thanks, Helen and Joanna for your helpful information.  I agree with you, Helen, that the rather shabby condition of the Alexander Palace surprised me more than anything else when I visited in 2005.  But it was a thrill to be there then and it will be a thrill to be there again in August! 

Helen, I love your Ben Franklin/Librarian logo!

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 08:19:17 AM »
Helen, I love your Ben Franklin/Librarian logo!

Thanks :-)

Offline Raegan

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2008, 01:13:24 PM »
I did not have a guide when I went through the Alexander Palace. I took a tour bus with a friend to the Catherine Palace (by far my favorite of all the palaces I've been to) and after our tour, we walked over to the Alexander Palace while the rest of our group stayed to walk around the grounds of the Catherine Palace. Aside from the staff, we were the only ones inside the Alexander Palace. Also, we were allowed to walk anywhere we wanted to outside. So I took pictures down by the pond and on the little bridge. The Alexander Palace is in very bad shape, but I was actually surprised by the size. I didn't expect it to be that small. I still enjoyed it though, and trust me, you don't run into any crowds there like you do at the Catherine Palace.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2008, 01:41:27 PM »
So it sounds like you can wander around by yourself. For some reason every time I was there there were guides around. The guides are all Russian speaking anyway, so if you don't understand Russian it won't help much... The Russian guides are very good, but as far as I know none of them speaks English. As Raegan mentioned, there are very few people wandering about so that's kind of nice because you have the place almost to yourself...

Offline pastpalacelife

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2008, 08:53:54 PM »
I have another question or two for anybody:  How close can you actually get to the balcony of the semi circle room and also how close to the side of the palace where Alexandra's balcony used to be, can you walk?  Are there any traces of the "outline" of the balcony and weren't there steps outside so you could go from the garden up onto the balcony?  For some reason, the bridges just down from the palace are fascinating to me because you know for sure that one of those was the one the tsar, tatianna and alexie were sitting on while under guard.  I have always loved comparing pictures of old houses to the present and seeing if the same tree exists or same crack in the sidewalk, whatever.  That's really how I started becoming so obsessive about the Alexander Palace and this forum.  I'm  hoping (fingers crossed) that this summer while I am in London visiting family, that I can visit Pushkin.  Thanks for all the responses, I really enjoy this board, sorry for straying off subject!  Tracy

Offline ChristineM

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2008, 04:24:46 AM »
There is absolutely no evidence of Alexandra's balcony.   What once was the cultivated garden beneath the balcony is rough terrain, contained behind fences and not accessible.   Paths, which local residents use as shortcuts, will take you to the 'Garden' side of the palace, i.e. to the Semi-Circular Hall.   The balcony, ballustrade and steps are still there.   You can see them, from behind a tall barbed wire fence, but cannot access them.   Every oak tree you see was there when the last Imperial Family was in residence.   You will see some very old oak trees whose branches are supported by metal struts.   They would have been well developed during the reign of the last Emperor.   I think you will also be able to find the oak tree you might recall seeing in the photograph of Anastasia smoking.   This is situated beside the path which runs alongside the Children's Pond.   Because of the soil and the latitude, oaks grow very, very slowly.   I am always acutely aware that the oak trees I see in the park were in those precise spots when the family walked and played in the park.   Inevitably a number will have died or been destroyed during the nazi invasion/retreat.   

If you stand with your back to the Semicircular Hall and look down the alley to the twin bridges, the bridge on the left side is where the photographs were taken.   This was the eastern - and northern - boundary beyond which the family were not allowed to walk during their period of house arrest.

I hope you manage to go to Pushkin in the summer.   I'm sure you will enjoy every second.

ChristineM

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2008, 09:30:43 AM »
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline ChristineM

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2008, 11:34:38 AM »
Excellent - thanks, Robert.   From this point of view, the bridge in question would be on the right.

ChristineM

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Walking from the Catherine Palace to the Alexander Palace
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2008, 12:28:48 PM »
I was also trying to find a picture of where Alexandra's balcony used to be,, but I have hundreds of pictures to wade through to find it. But suffice it to say, one would never have known  there was a balcony there.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.