Saturday, July 19, 2008

A number of small barren islands

On the morning of the third day we entered the Gulf of Finland, which is two hundred miles long and very wide. During the day we saw one or two towns on the Finland shore, and a number of small barren islands; also numerous sails, mostly of small craft.

Early the next morning, being the fourth day from Stettin, we landed at Cronstadt, where we were boarded by a whole phalanx of policemen and searchers of luggage, passports, etc. ...

On the right shore of the gulf from Cronstadt we saw the town of Oranienbaum, and a little further on, the gilded towers and park of Peterhoff, which are situated on a slight acclivity; but after they are passed the banks again become low, and present from a distance the only feature of the Finnish shores, interminable flats. At length a golden spot, sparkling in the sunshine, and of dazzling splendor, together with a tall and taper spire, shooting like a needle to the sky, and rising apparently from the water, are seen, and these are the first indications that prove that the great city founded by Peter the Great is near at hand. This golden spot is the gilded dome of the Isak Church, which may, in fair weather, be seen from Cronstadt, a distance of sixteen miles. The spire is that of the Admiralty. Aside from these two objects, the approach to St. Petersburg is anything but prepossessing, being situated on a number of low islands, formed by the winding of the Neva, and built up on the side next to the sea with indifferent-looking houses.

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