I realised I never finished writing about the last two destinations on our Scandinavian mini-cruise this summer so today I wanted to share our day in St. Petersburg!
We arrived at the port and made it through immigration before making our way into the city centre. It started out as quite a grey and drizzly day which felt almost fitting for Russia.
I knew a little of St. Petersburg’s history after reading The Siege but it is a huge city with so much to see. Given the limited time we had there and the weather, we decided to get on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour so we could see most of the highlights as well as hearing some history too.
My first impressions were not as I expected – it was a much prettier city with beautiful boulevards, grand buildings and fascinating history.
We got off the bus at the iconic Hermitage. This was a vast building with a huge square in front of it. We decided that we couldn’t do such a massive art museum justice by simply popping in for an hour so we admired the exterior before having a wander along the river.
Ian hates the ‘tat shops’ I always manage to find on holiday but I do love a good gift shop and we stumbled upon babushka gold.
The highlight of the day was visiting the Church of the Saviour of Spilled Blood. This was breathtaking inside with gold, marble and colours everywhere you looked.
After a good walk we decided some tea and cake were in order so we found a coffee shop on Nevsky Prospect (the main street of St. Petersburg) in an excellent people-watching position!
Having spent the day walking around quite a beautiful city, it was interesting to see how the buildings changed to a more stark and ‘Soviet’ style as we neared the port.
St. Petersburg was a fascinating city. Not high on my list of places to visit but I think that’s what made it even more special – I wasn’t expecting much so was pleasantly surprised by our day there.