We went up by 4 in the morning to take a flight from Gothenburg to Stockholm and then on to St Petersburg. We came to St Petersburg in the afternoon and was surprised by the heat. It was +30 outside and we had definitely not counted on it when we packed our clothes for the trip! When we got to our hotel we could immediately name it “worst hotel ever”. The dark, long hallways gave you a nice KGB-feeling and there were guards everywhere. It was +32 degrees inside all weekend, no air condition and everything was in a very bad shape. But. The Russians always makes it work anyway. We have stayed at expensive hotels in the US for instance where nothing worked at all. This hotel was a little bit rusty, but there was definitely hot water in the pipes.
We met Jenny’s colleagues brother Magnus and joined him on a cruise on the canals. The guide spoke Russian so we didn’t understand much, but it was a beautiful cruise and well spent time. Highly recommendable.
After that we walked along Nevskij Prospekt and looked at the sights. We went to the enormous Palace Square and looked at the staff building and the Winter Palace. We also went to the Kazan cathedral and stepped inside. We went to get something to eat and had a lot of fun when we saw that everybody in the restaurant ordered a bottle of vodka as an appetizer. They totally emptied it before they had even got the main course! We had some great Beef Stroganoff before continuing our walk.
St Petersburg is definitely the most beautiful city we’ve ever been to. No wonder-if you own a building in St Petersburg the authorities will confiscate it if you don’t keep up with the maintenance work.
We took a city tour that left a lot to our imagination. Our guide was horrible. We passed the same buildings up to six times and she only told us what kind of building it was and nothing else. Nothing about the history of the building or of St Petersburg, nor did we get to go inside any of the sites we visited. It was a waste of time and we regret that we took the tour.
Afterwards we went to the Admiralty. We bought ice cream and tried to get some shadow. We moved on to St Isaac’s cathedral and went inside. It was magnificent! It was decorated with sculptures, paintings, polished stones, mosaics and much more. Then we went to the Church of Resurrection and went inside as well. That was amazing too. It is covered by 7000 square meters of mosaic! Imagine that …
We tried to do some shopping, but we couldn’t find anything to buy. We sat in a park and rested for a while before heading back to the hotel.
On Jenny’s birthday we went to Petrodvorets. The whole place is inspired by Versailles and you could definitely tell. The castle park has got fantastic fountains that lies on a hill by the Baltic sea. We took a walk in the park before we had lunch and went back to St Petersburg. On our way we passed president Putin’s new datja. Some summer cabin … It was like a huge castle. We also stopped by another beautiful church.
When we got back we took a walk to the Peter and Paul fortress. The heat was pressing as usual and people were swimming in the river Neva by the fortress. The river is extremely polluted and we felt sick when we saw children swimming in that unhealthy water. We went to St Peter and Paul’s cathedral where all the tzars are buried, including the last tzar Nikolai II and his family. They were buried there 80 years after the Bolsheviks executed them.
We spent our evening by the fortress, taking the Neva walk and just enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
On our last day we visited the Hermitage Museum. The tsar family lived there until the revolution and it is one of the worlds most famous museums. It has got a huge art collection that makes you dizzy. Renoir, Monet and Cézanne shares the same space as Picasso, Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Rafael. You simply can’t make the paintings justice-there isn’t enough time. At least we didn’t have it. We considered taking another trip to St Petersburg just to spend a couple of days in the Hermitage. We kept drooling through the entire museum.
The architecture is outstanding. The buildings are as impressive as the art collections. There is no description that can make justice to it. You just have to see for yourself. Together with all the other 35 000 visitors that comes to the museum every day…
On the airport we finally found the ultimate souvenir that reflected St Petersburg – a vodka bottle that held 3 (!!!) liters of vodka! They included a pump! Unfortunately we couldn’t find a way to transport it home since we had to change flight in Stockholm. The stupid security rules stopped our future parties … But we will definitely have a plan for that when we go there next time.
Photos from St Petersburg