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St Petersburg (vi)

The Mikhailovsky Castle, (known in English as St Michael’s Castle,) St Petersburg. The Tsar Paul I, Catherine the Great’s son, apparently didn’t like the Winter Palace so had this one built instead. It was built surrounded by water, for defensive purposes, to be entered only by drawbridges. Not that that did Paul much good. He was assassinated in the Palace 40 nights after moving in.

Note eagle finials on the gate posts of the Summer Gardens:-

Paul's Palace, St Petersburg

Moyka River. St Michael’s Castle in background. Field of Mars to left. This looked more like a canal to me:-

Moyka River, St Petersburg.

Crossing the river you head to the Griboyedov Embankment and towards the Church on Spilled Blood. We noticed how ornate the lampposts were:-

Ornate Lamppost, St Petersburg

The stunning and very Russian in style Church on the Spilled Blood and Griboyedov Canal:-

St Petersburg, Church on the Spilled Blood

From the canal:-

Church on the Spilled Blood 4

From Griboyedov Embankment:-

Church on the Spilled Blood 7

Church on the Spilled Blood

Upper portion. It’s a pity the top was swathed in scaffolding:-

Upper Portion, Church on the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

From across the canal:-

Church on the Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

St Petersburg (iv)

Building, St Isaac’s Square:-

Building St Isaac's Square, St Petersburg

One of St Petersburg’s many palaces:-

St Petersburg, a Palace

Part of another:-

Winter Palace , St Petersburg, Russia

Government building:-

government building 2 stitch

Street scene. Notice the number on the traffic light. This is a countdown clock to when the signals will change. All the road crossings had them. The (animated) “green man” even speeded up his walk as the time ran down. These are brilliant ideas. They should bring them in here:-

street in St Petersburg, Russia

Canal with “blue bridge” near St Isaac’s Square:-

blue bridge canal, St Petersburg, Russia

It’s amazing what you can see on rooftops:-

Statue on Roof, St Petersburg

The Waterpoort, Sneek

The Waterpoort is the old entrance to Sneek town centre by canal. I suppose it functioned as a sort of mediaeval toll gate as well as the entrance to the town.

Canal with Waterpoort in distance:-

Canal and Waterpoort, Sneek

Bridge and Waterpoort behind:-

Bridge and Waterpoort, Sneek

Waterpoort from canal basin:-


View from Waterpoort:-

View from Waterpoort, Sneek

Waterpoort clock from town side:-

Waterpoort Clock, Sneek

Sneek (i)

There’s something satisfying about a town which has water in or near its centre. It nearly always brightens the place up.

Sneek (it’s pronounced snake) is a town in Friesland, in the north of The Netherlands.

Like a lot of towns in Flanders and most in The Netherlands, Sneek is built around canals. This one was right beside the road leading into the town from the motorway. The town centre is just off to the right.

Canal in Sneek,  Friesland

We parked by the side of this (different) canal:-


That was after having crossed this bridge to get to the canalside:-

Canal Bridge

And this canal is in the middle of a shopping street. Notice the “Christmas Light” style hangings over the canal:-

Canal in Sneek

Along with more standard light fittings these also appeared over the “normal” streets:-

Street in Sneek

The design is in the shape of the Waterpoort, a prominent feature of Sneek’s townscape which I’ll post about later.

This is another beautiful, leafy canal in Sneek:-


A bit further along the same canal was this striking modern theatre:-

Sneek Theatre

Bruges Canals

As well as fine buildings Bruges is replete with water and is sometimes known as The Venice of the North. I’ve never been to Venice but Bruges is certainly lovely, whatever.

The church in the background here is Bruges Cathedral, The Church of Our Lady:-

A Canal, Bruges

This shows the bridge from which the previous photo was taken:-

Canal and Bridge, Bruges

And this the view from the bridge to the other side:-

Canal, Bruges

View of same building left above from the opposite canal bank:-

Canalside, Bruges

And round the corner:-

Canal, Bruges

Canal and bridge:-

Bridge and Canal, Bruges


Canal, Bruges

Another bridge:-

Canal, Bridge, Bruges

Groningen Museum Exterior

To enter and leave Groningen Museum you have to cross a branch of the canal:-

Groningen Museum Exterior 2

Groningen Museum Exterior 1

View outside through window almost at water level:-

Groningen Museum View Outside

Ditto only the other side of the museum:-

Groningen Museum Outside View

Just to the left of the above:-

Groningen Museum View

Groningen Museum (Groninger Museum)

First a word on pronunciation. You might think Groningen is enunciated as Grown-ing-en. It isn’t.

Since the letter g in Dutch (certainly at the start and end of a word) is pronounced more like the Scottish “ch” sound – as in loch – and the final n is not emphasised, the name actually sounds more like HHrrrown-ing-ih. (I assume Groninger – HHrrown-ing-er – is an adjectival form meaning “of Groningen.”)

Anyway the museum is one of those modern architecture buildings that seems to have bits sticking out everywhere. I liked it. It reminded me a bit of the Imperial War Museum North.

It’s prominent from the ring road.

We didn’t have enough time to go in as we were going on a boat trip round the canals that encircle the town centre. You can’t go to The Netherlands and not go on a canal. This is the museum from the boat jetty.

And this is from the canal as the boat comes back to its starting point. That colour scheme could make your eyes go funny.

Maarssen, The Netherlands

Just to show I’ve been in the Netherlands this is a canal:-

The canal runs through the town of Maarssen, which is near Utrecht. The photo was taken from a traffic light bordered bridge over it which every so often opens up (along with warning noises and the necessary red lights) to let boats through.

We had gone to see the good lady’s nephew who lives in Maarssen. This nearby house was built in the 30s. Pity the main windows have been replaced:-

It has lovely stained glass in the gable windows, though.

Some of the modern houses in the street where said nephew lives have been built to mirror the deco styling of the 30s ones. Nice curve here.

Flat roofs, protrusions, porticos, porthole windows.

Good “reflection” here.

The theme is reproduced with variations.

Our nephew’s house is less deco, though.

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