Saturday, January 6, 2018

Christmas at Littlecote House 2017.

2017 was the first year we decided to go away for Christmas. We would never do it while we had Eric and Flynn as we couldn't leave them at the coldest time of year.
This year being our first ever without any fur family we decided to go away for four days over Christmas to Littlecote House, an adults only hotel.
We weren't sure if we would enjoy it but we did have a wonderful time.

                                          Christmas Day.

Waiting outside the main house and singing carols while we waited for Santa to arrive.

Here he comes!

Ho ho ho!

Santa's little helpers.

The reindeer look somewhat different to how I imagined them to be!

Ivor insisted on taking my photo.

Santa, an elf and the hotel manager.

The donkey was very popular.

The little goat looked very cute in it's Christmas jumper.

We did have a good time. It was full board with three cooked meals a day if we wanted them, and there was entertainment throughout every day and evenings.
Every night when we went back to our room there were various little presents for us from selection boxes to diaries, and on Christmas Day Ivor had a anti skimming wallet for his credit cards and I had facial lotions and creams in a pretty satin case.

                                                   Littlecote House.
All of these photos were taken with my phone camera so are not as good as I would have liked.
The Orangery. This room is now used for indoor bowls and various other indoor activities.
This photo isn't very clear because it was too light outside and I couldn't get the exposure right. Around the edges there is Virginia Creeper planted and it grows up the trellises around the edges of the room and completely covers the ceiling. You can see some empty trellises at the far end which I assume will be replaced at a later date.

One of the many Christmas trees.

One of the tables in the Great Hall.

I don't know what this pot is with a snake on either side, but it was BIG!

Another tree! I think there must have been a dozen or more in various rooms, and then there all trees outside too.

In the gardens.

One of the outdoor Christmas trees.

Carol singing in the Great Hall on Christmas Eve.

The elephant in the room!
We came back one night to find him sitting on our bed.

I was looking in the gift shop and saw this fridge magnet. It was so appropriate that I had to get it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Baltics Cruise July/August 2014 Russia Pt. 4 - Rivers and Canals.

We had an early start the next morning for a boat trip on the River Neva and the canals of St. Petersburg before we went to the Hermitage.
We got on our boat with another small tour party and were told to be sure to remain seated.

We soon saw why!

There was bridge after bridge on the canal, and they were all very low.

As the canal widened the bridges got a bit higher.

Then we got onto the River Neva.

The Rostral Columns can be seen in the distance.

The Hermitage (Winter Palace.)

The golden dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral visible in the background.

More views of the Hermitage.

STS Mir a training ship on the River Neva.

On the way back, a closer view of the Rostral columns.

Another ship which we were told is now a floating restaurant.
After we got off the boat it was time for our tour of the Hermitage which will be in the next post.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Baltics Cruise July/August 2014 - Russia pt.3. Catherine Palace.

We left Peterhof Palace and our driver and guide took us to a small local restaurant where we had lunch before heading for Catherine Palace.

The Carriage Courtyard.

It looked so pretty, almost as if it had been created by Wedgewood.
I have copy and pasted from the Visit Russia site as they can describe it's history much better than I can.
"The Catherine Palace is the former imperial palace, one of the largest in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. The palace is located in the town of Pushkin (formerly Tsarskoye Selo), 25 kilometers south of St. Petersburg. Both architectural trends of each of the periods, which the palace survived, and personal predilections of Russian tsars of that time reflected in the history and architecture of the palace. The palace was built in 1717 under the direction of the German architect Johann Friedrich Braunstein as the summer residence of Empress Catherine I. In 1743, Empress Elizabeth asked the Russian architect Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrey Kvasov to expand and beautify the palace. Exactly during the reign of Empress Elizabeth the palace acquired its present form and style. In May 1752, she asked the architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli to rebuild the palace, because she considered it too old-fashioned and small. After the dismantling and grandiose reconstruction, which lasted four years, the modern palace was completely built in the Russian Baroque style. July 30, 1756 the presentation of the 325-meter Palace shocked the Russian dignitaries and foreign guests. A huge size of the Grand Palace is seen immediately. In addition, the symmetrical axis system of the overhead porticoes of the palace facade corresponds to the basic spatial coordinates of the park plan. The final touch in the construction and decoration of the Catherine Palace was the Main Staircase in the Rococo style, created in 1863 by the Russian architect I. Monighetti. After the October Revolution, the Catherine Palace was turned into a museum. During the German occupation, the ensemble suffered, the palaces were looted, many of the exhibits were burned. Nowadays, the ensemble is fully restored by restorers N. Baranov, A. Kedrinskiy, N. Tumanov, etc. Today, the exhibition of the Catherine Palace is opened in 32 rooms. The most interesting place of the palace for tourists is the famous Amber room restored by 2003. The main decoration of the Amber Room was made at the beginning of the XVIII century in Prussia, in 1716 it was presented by King Friedrich Wilhelm I to Peter I; in 1746 it was completed and fit in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, in 1755 it was moved to Tsarskoye Selo. During the Great Patriotic War, the decoration of the Amber Room was removed by the German occupiers to Koenigsberg. The further fate of the room was unknown. Since 1979, there have been the restoration work of the Amber room, by the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg it was completely restored by domestic restorers, including by funds of German companies. The fate of the original exhibits of the room is still under a veil of legends and myths."

The main entrance.

The Grand Hall
Only a set number of people can go into each room at a time, but as we had taken a small private tour we were able to go in early and avoid the the crowds.

Detail from the ceiling.

Another of the elaborate rooms.

Every room that we viewed amazed us with the opulence.
The Red Room
Yes, this is The Green Room.
Replica of  Empress Elizabeth's ball gown. 

Painting of the Palace before the Great Fire of 1820.

Painting showing the devastation caused by the fire.


*We also saw the Amber Room but were not allowed to take photos in there. I did a safe search and found this photo which is stated as being free to use and share.

After a tiring but very enjoyable day it was back to the ship to rest up for the next busy day sightseeing in St. Petersburg.