Since the lecture didn't start until 6pm, Everyday, I had a full day to go around St. Pete. The first place I wanted to visit was naturally the Hermitage, one of the most famous and oldest museums in the world.
The collection was absolutely breathtaking: Da Vincis, Michelangelos, the most amazing collection of Rembrandts in one room I have ever seen, Rubens, Van Gogh, room after room, the paintings and sculptures unveiled themselves in front of my eyes like jewels. But my eyes were not always directed at the walls of the museum. What really impressed me about the Hermitage were the ceilings. Each room had such amazing ceilings full of details and motifs that I started to walk looking up. It's interesting to observe the fact that in the modern and contemporary architectures, ceiling are often treated as a dead space. They're usually plain and white and often pretty boring. Obviously back in the old days, people loved to ornate their ceilings. It must have been a wonderful distraction during the boring speeches in cocktail parties. Hermitage should organize a ceilings tour where the visitors are laying down in beds with wheels. Now there's a great museum tour idea.