We spent two weeks in St Petersburg in the summer of 2017.

This is the Square looking from the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. If you go there, the art collections are in the building just to the left of the archway, not in the Winter Palace itself. You can read about it and more by clicking the link above.

We talked about also going to Moscow, but in the end we decided not to.

I like to get a sense of where I am going, which I why I research this stuff before setting off. I like to wander once I get there, but there are a few things I like to know – like whether the trains for city X leave from station A or station B. It’s easier to do that kind of thing from the comfort of home.

And I often draw a map of a city – or write on a tourist map – and mark where the things are that interest me (Tamara and me) so that we don’t end up going miles one way and then back again because we didn’t realise that an attraction is near another we have just visited.

Not letting things go to waste, here is what I drafted at the time about Moscow. We may visit in the future and then I can find the info here.


Moscow is 55.7558° N, 37.6173° E. That makes it about the same latitude as Edinburgh and the same longitude as Damascus at the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

Population of 12 million with another 17 million in the Moscow Region around the city. Moscow urban area is 46,000 square kilometres, which makes it bigger than Switzerland or Belgium.

There are four airports in Moscow Region: Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo, Bykovo.

The Moscow Region is within the Central Federal District – the westernmost of the eight Districts of the Russian Federation and it covers an area of  650, 000 square kilometres. That makes Central Federal District about three times the size of the UK.

A third of the Moscow Region is forest.

Mozart Kugel

From WikiPedia

A Mozartkugel is a round sugar confection made of pistachio marzipan and nougat covered with dark chocolate. It was originally known as Mozart-Bonbon, created in 1890 by Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst (1856–1941) and named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

A kugel is a ball, a globe, a sphere, or a bullet, depending on the context.

This confectionary shop is one of many in Salzburg in Austria that specialise in Mozart-themed chocolates.

It’s a big industry, feeding chocolate to tourists from all over the world.

We saw a man, maybe Chinese, buying several very big (very big – as in huge) boxes of chocolates. We did a double take – those chocolates were not cheap, and that was a lot of chocolate.

He seemed to know what he was doing. He didn’t seemed carried away with his experience like it is easy to do in the heat of the moment in a chocolate shop on holiday.

He looked like he had a purpose.

What was he going to do with all that chocolate?

We didn’t ask him. That would be rude – or might be rude – to ask a stranger like that.

I suspect that some tourists buy Mozartkugels and never eat them – saving the boxes and wrappers intact.

Mozart hearts

And here we have Mozart hearts, each chocolate stamped with a little bust of Mozart. Is that Mozart? Does it look like him?

It is a rendition of a posthumous portrait of Mozart commissioned by the Austrian librettist Joseph Sonnleithner, and painted by Barbara Krafft in 1819. That is 28 years after Mozart died, so the accuracy is questionable.

What Did Mozart Look Like

The image of Mozart varies wildly from one chocolate and one confectionary item to another, and few match the unfinished portrait painted by Mozart’s friend Joseph Lange. This portrait  is thought to be the most authentic to the person.

Tamara bought a large version of this portrait and it hangs now on the wall above her piano.

It’s a nice portrait, isn’t it. Worth looking into and thinking about the man.

If you have seen Amadeus, you might get the idea that Mozart was appreciated during his lifetime but didn’t do as well as he might have financially.

Then here is something we learned when we visited the house where he was born and the house in which he grew up.

He was earning around 9,000 gulden when things were going well for him, at a time when a salary of 1,000 gulden was considered a good salary.

But, he also gambled, and who knows what commitments he had. So if didn’t have money, it was not because he didn’t earn it.

And without labouring the point, if you have seen the film Amadeus and thought Mozart was a bit odd, then read some of his letters to his family. He shows himself to be a witty and inventive writer, a skilled communicator.

Kollegienkirche (College Church)

This is the inside of the church on the other side of the square from the rear of the house where Mozart was born in Salzburg.

You can read more about the Kollegienkirche in Salzburg – and see more photos of the College Church and the young Mozart in Salzburg, in a piece I wrote over on Quillcards.

Born: 27 January 1756, Salzburg, Austria
Died: 5 December 1791, Vienna, Austria