Goodbye Russia

After resting for a bit back at our hostel, we headed out to the Peterhof Palace, also called Pedrovoret

This palace is compared in beauty and style to Versailles in France. The palaces are indeed similar but where Versailles has gardens, Peterhof has fountains.

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,

while others are whimsical and playful.

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.

We crossed a bridge supported by griffins

and arrived at the Cathedral of our Lady of Kazan.

By now, we thought we had seen all the churches we wanted to see in our lifetime but we couldn’t leave without visiting the Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood.

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.

To finish our day off, we walked over the bridge

and all the way to the Peter & Paul Fortess.

Once more, everything here needs a separate entrance ticket and it can get quite expensive. We were tired and all we wanted was to sit for a while, so we did so at a chair-art exhibit on the grounds.

We strolled thru the gardens, watched people sunbathing on the tiny beach, and then walked back to our hostel with aching feet and blisters on our blisters.

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.


Categories: Europe, Russia, UNESCO site | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Goodbye Russia

  1. The Fayet-Faber Family

    Back on line … trying to catch up on your wonderful trip ! Reading that, I think you are back in the US … or on your way,

    Bottom line, we are with you: Russia sounds a MUST GO place !


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