Breaking A Rule in Russia~


Check out these fascinating old fortifications in the Gulf of Finland, off the coast of St Petersburg.

These abandoned fortresses provide eerie silent testimony to Russian history.

They are quite beautiful,

like man-made floating islands in the massive gulf.

Catherine the Great’s Palace has some remarkable architecture. In Empress Elizabeth’s time these statues were gilded in gold.

The over-the-top, huge, amber-room in the palace is entirely covered in amber, and taking pics is strictly verboten, probably to entice people to buy some picture books. I did my James Bond best and quickly and secretly, purloined this pic for your enjoyment! It was my Bond moment in Russia……


The Chinese wall paper and Delft stoves in the palace were very beautiful.

Catherine’s bath house and reflecting pool were lovely too.
If you are interested in Catherine the Great, you may want to check out:
We leave tomorrow for Switzerland, but until then, it’s still…..
Cheers to you from Russia!

“It’s Good to be The King or Queen!”

Traveling Tea Set for the Royal Party.
When in Vienna in May of this year we visited The Hofburg Imperial Apartments which contain The Winter Imperial Apartments, the Royal Silver Collection and The Imperial China Collection.
Each different pattern you see in a photo, represents a different complete set of royal china to serve up to 140 royal guests.
I only photographed one example of patterns that I liked. There were many more, from all around the world, that I didn’t photograph


This museum is filled with a VAST fortune of antique china services, each to serve large numbers of guests. It also contains vast stores of silver flatware and serving pieces to go long with each china service. It seems hard to justify this type of over the top opulence, when poor people at this time had hard and difficult lives.

All the sets had coordinating center pieces and serving dishes.
The palace was home to the Hapsburgs for 600 years. The furnishings and china you see in these photos date from the early 18th century to the mid 19th century.

There are more patterns that I took sample photos of that I liked. If anyone is interested in seeing them, I will post them, but I didn’t want to bore your with too many examples.


If you were the hostess of one of these dinners, this is the dress you might wear, an actual dress worn by Empress Elizabeth.


And if you were the King Franz Joseph, this was your bedroom. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to be taking pics here……but I did find out! So enjoy these rare photos.



Cheers to your from the decidedly Non-Imperial Holler~