April 24, 2006
HEROES OF HERMITAGE
Catherine the Great decided she needed a quiet little place to be alone, so she added the Hermitage onto the end of the Winter Palace, There she could be alone - with 50 guests and 1.5million works of art !!
You can have conducted tours of the complex, and in the "out season" these will last one hour, but my tour was on the first day of the "in season" so you only get a half hour sprint. But, of course, you are free to roam around the Winter Palace, Hermitage and 'Little Hermitage' for much longer after the tour finishes. And I discovered the cheapest price of admission is to buy an excursion ticket - it is actually cheaper than buying just an admission ticket.
A word of warning though. The appeal of the Hermitage and Winter Palace is the things that line the walls and stand on exhibition, and the building itself is secondary.
In my opinion the building itself is shabby. However, I had already visited a number of other Palaces, and the Baroque Rococco styles are really not my thing; I can endure them for a little time before their gaudy excesses grate. Neo-classical is also not high on my list of things to admire because I have seen actual Classical and Italy does this kind of thing much better.
If the building is tatty, be warned that the toilets are even worse ! If you want a sit down toilet then go before you enter this museum, and if you have an upset tummy you would be better to go on a day when your constitution is robust !
My interest was in the impressionists and post-impressionists because I have hardly ever seen such works in the "real" Enjoy