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Blinded by the Light – Hermitage Museum – St. Petersburg, Russia


Photo of the Day – Blinded by the Light – Hermitage Museum – St. Petersburg, Russia

I’m not a big museum guy. There, I said it. The majority of the museums I have visited around the world have failed to really excite me. Too often museums are all about finding a few very famous pieces, that frankly if the museum brochure didn’t highlight the fact that the pieces were famous, you would find nothing extraordinary about them vs. the twenty other beautiful paintings in the room. I know this all sounds very unsophisticated, but I bet this is how nine out of ten people actually feel.

The Hermitage is different. It is more of a palace than an actual museum – although that comment is really unfair because it contains a great deal of absolutely stunning artwork. A visit to the Hermitage consists of walking around a massive palace for hours making your way from room to room in total amazement of what surrounds you. This photo is an example of one of the very “normal” rooms that we walked through on our visit earlier this year.

Blinded by the Light - Hermitage Museum - St. Petersburg, Russia

Domed Ceiling of The Hermitage Museum – Saint Petersburg, Russia


Photo of the Day – Domed Ceiling of The Hermitage Museum – Saint Petersburg, Russia

Where do I begin?

First of all, realize this is a ceiling.

Secondly, understand that the ceiling was designed and painted in the 18th Century.

Lastly, this ceiling is located in The Hermitage Museum which was the Summer Palace for Russia’s Royalty.

I am not sure if that is helping to give you a better understanding of this photo, but just look at it, enjoy it, and get lost in it!

Domed Ceiling of The Hermitage Museum - Saint Petersburg, Russia

Hermitage Profile over the Bolshaya Neva – St. Petersburg, Russia


Photo of the Day – Hermitage Profile over the Bolshaya Neva – St. Petersburg, Russia

Today marked our second day in St. Petersburg and it was time to conquer The Hermitage Museum. The Hermitage Museum is ranked #77 on our list of the Top 100 Places in the World and is often regarded as the second best museum in the world only to The Louvre.

We ventured off to The Hermitage and got to the ticket line 20 minutes early. After a few minor hurdles, gearing up, and checking our bags, we were off to our 3rd AbsoluteVisit in Russia! Our expectations for the museum were moderate. We knew this would be a special museum – it is an AbsoluteVisit after-all :P But, we didn’t have the highest expectations.

From the very first incredible, large and stately entrance staircase to the final Egyptian Sarcophagus we were absolutely (pun intended) in shock! The Hermitage Museum left us in a daze due to its overwhelming number of palace state rooms each holding art, furniture, and relics from around the world. What makes The Hermitage special is its combination of maintaining its palace state rooms with its fine arts collection. Also, the outside is class elegance in nature and certainly stands out among the best museums in the world. Today’s photo shows you the outside beauty of The Hermitage which stretched from the far-right of the photo to the second green building from the right!

Back to the interior, Brad and I were literally scratching our heads at the number, size, and elegance of the dozens of state rooms through The Hermitage. It is rare that I am overwhelmed due to a site’s quantity of awesome-ness, but the Hermitage achieved this easily.

Does anyone else see The Hermitage moving up the list … ? (hint hint) Also, we will be putting together some of our favorite photos within The Hermitage soon so stay tuned!

Hermitage Profile over the Bolshaya Neva - St. Petersburg, Russia

A Photo of The Mona Lisa – Louvre Museum – Paris, France


Photo of the Day – A Photo of The Mona Lisa – Louvre Museum – Paris, France

Growing up as a kid I held the belief that the famous Mona Lisa painting was protected behind all sorts of secret lasers making it impossible for the average peon like myself to see it in person. As I grew older the laser fantasy was replaced by the idea that one could see the Mona Lisa in person but under no circumstances were you allowed to take a picture of it. I knew that The Mona Lisa was well guarded and the punishment for blinding her eyes with your camera flash would be severe.

Last December while touring the Louvre Museum in Paris, I surprisingly walked easily into the room housing the Mona Lisa and was shocked at what I saw. There were no visible lasers protecting Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. Furthermore there was a huge crowd of tourists snapping away thousands of photos of her. Security didn’t even blink an eye when the camera flashes lit up The Mona Lisa!

Without the lasers and strict security, all that was before me was a small (less than 2×3 feet) and rather boring (in my opinion) painting hanging on the wall with a bunch of tourists standing around taking pictures. Being a photographer I was happy that I was able to get a clean shot of the painting, but the rest of the experience was…bleh.

Don’t expect much from seeing The Mona Lisa in person. You will surely be let down.

A Photo of The Mona Lisa - Louvre Museum - Paris, France

Louvre Museum Fountain – Paris, France


Photo of the Day – Louvre Museum Fountain – Paris, France

The Louvre is world renowned for having perhaps the greatest art collection in the world. The exhibits inside of this massive museum are nothing short of extraordinary. Every person should make an effort to walk the halls of the Louvre at some point in their life. It offers you an unparalleled walk through the history of our world and its distinct cultures through art.

I personally find the outside of the museum complex equally impressive. It is, without a doubt, the most beautiful museum structure on the planet. I took this picture at night on a recent trip to Paris. The calm sounds of the fountain water splashing while viewing one of the most spectacular sights these eyes have ever seen made it very difficult for me to move on to the inside of the museum. If you get a chance to visit the Louvre, I highly recommend you take a few hours to explore the outside of the building in the early evening and at night.

Louvre Museum Fountain - Paris, France

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Serious Statues – Vatican Museum – Rome, Italy


Photo of the Day – Serious Statues – Vatican Museum – Rome, Italy

Through all of my global adventures I’ve been able to explore the majority of the top museums on the planet. But the Vatican Museum absolutely blew me away. The small size of the museum relative to its peers is what sets it apart. Most museums seem to follow the pattern of showcasing a few pieces of art in empty, grandiose rooms. The Vatican Museum takes a different approach and literally lines the walls of their rooms with its impressive collections. The rooms are much more raw and are absolutely overflowing with an endless supply of art.

I particularly enjoy a very long corridor of the Vatican Museum with hundreds of busts on display. Take a slow walk down this hall and I promise your jaw will drop in amazement. I took this photo of several of the heads lined up together in this room.

What is your favorite museum you have visited? What is unique about the experience that makes it stand out from the rest?

Serious Statues - Vatican Museum - Rome, Italy
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The Top 100 Places in the World
1 Great Wall of China
2 Pyramids of Egypt
3 Machu Picchu
4 Serengeti Migration
5 Galapagos Islands
6 Grand Canyon
7 Angkor Temples
8 Antarctica Cruise
9 Taj Mahal
10 Iguazu Falls
11 Amazon Rain Forest
12 Great Barrier Reef
13 Bora Bora
14 Victoria Falls
15 Bagan
16 Petra
17 Potala Palace
18 Karnak
19 Mt Everest
20 Cappadocia
21 St Peters Basilica
22 Fjords of Norway
23 Jerusalem Old City
24 Burj Khalifa
25 Borobudur
26 Forbidden City
27 Kashmir Valley
28 Li River Cruise
29 Ladakh
30 Alhambra
31 Louvre Museum
32 Perito Moreno Glac.
33 Banaue Terraces
34 Colosseum of Rome
35 Easter Island
36 Venice Canals/Alleys
37 Kathmandu Valley
38 Wat Phra Kaew
39 Yellowstone NP
40 Pompeii
41 Rio Panoramic View
42 Palace of Versailles
43 Dubrovnik
44 Golden Temple
45 St. Basils Cathedral
46 Vatican Museum
47 Florence Cityscape
48 Acropolis
49 Amalfi Coast Drive
50 Kremlin
51 Hong Kong View
52 TerraCotta Warriors
53 Mezquita Cordoba
54 Chichen Itza
55 Damascus Old City
56 Shwedagon Stupa
57 Sahara Desert
58 Mont St Michel
59 St. Marks Square
60 Egyptian Museum
61 Hagia Sophia
62 Angel Falls
63 Delphi
64 Teotihuacan
65 Baalbek
66 Banff NP
67 Santorini
68 Matterhorn
69 New York Skyline
70 Neuschwanstein
71 Chartres Cathedral
72 British Museum
73 Prague Old Town
74 Burj al Arab
75 Yangtze River Cruise
76 Yosemite NP
77 Hermitage Museum
78 Torres del Paine
79 Chambord Chateau
80 Lijiang
81 Portofino
82 Great Ocean Road
83 Tongariro Alpine
84 Las Vegas Strip
85 Tikal
86 Topkapi Palace
87 Sydney Opera House
88 Eiffel Tower
89 Luxor Temple
90 Kerala Backwaters
91 Golden Gate Bridge
92 Cinque Terre
93 Metropolitan Mus
94 Uffizi Gallery
95 Ayers Rock
96 Cliffs of Moher
97 Pacific Coast Hwy
98 Shanghai Skyline
99 Glacier Bay NP
100 Wulingyuan
Cappadocia  Cappadocia, Turkey
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