After resting for a bit back at our hostel, we headed out to the Peterhof Palace, also called Pedrovoret
Visiting Peterhof is an expensive proposition. It is usually advised to take a 30min Hydrofoil (boat) ride to it and the price is quite steep at 700 Rubles. Instead, we took the local bus for 70Rub (about 2USD). It takes the same 1/2hr and you get to ride with locals instead of tourists. It’s obviously not as fancy but you’ll need your money to pay for all those entrance tickets at Peterhof: everything is charged separately here. When the boys complained they had seen enough palaces for the day, we didn’t disagree and only bought tickets to see the fountains. Some of them are very serious and imposing,
After an exhausting day, we headed back to our hostel for much needed sleep. Unfortunately, during the summer the sky never gets dark: the famous “White Nights”. I’m really feeling the effects of it and have begun fantazising about heavy window drapes which don’t seem to be common here.
For the most part, all of the touristic sites are located within walking distance of each other. Since our hostel was so centrally located, we fashioned our own walking tour of St. Pete’s the next morning, beginning with St. Isaac’s Cathedral just 2 blocks away.
This cathedral is the third largest domed cathedral in the world and there is a walkway around its dome from where one can get a 360• view of the city. The line to climb was too long and we decided to come back later. We never didn’t though.
From the cathedral, we walked through Nevsky street which is lined with shops and street vendors and had a generalized feel of a carnival. Tip: don’t buy hamburgers from one of these carts: they’re nastier than McD’s.
This church is named so because it was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was murdered and is dedicated to him. The church is decorated with mosaics of all colors and I think it must be the prettiest in town. Next to the church is a small souvenir market with outrageous prices. Tour buses stop here and hoards of tourists pour out of them which drives prices thru the roof. Comparing prices here with those of Sudzal, we wished we had done our souvenir shopping there. Oh, well, it’s not like we have much room in our packs for extra weight anyway.
Simply walking around St. Petersburg is a treat for the eyes.
Our takeaway from Russia is this: People are helpful if you can get past the (very) rough exterior. Safety is not any more of a concern here than it would be at any other touristic place. St. Petersburg is very pretty while Moscow has that full-of-life vibe which is so energizing. We’re glad we visited Russia and would love to come back again.