St Petersburg was a real eye opener. I was really looking forward to visiting this city, not that I ever thought I would get there to be honest, as it’s in Russia and I never thought I would even get to Russia! There were beautiful buildings everywhere to be seen and I’m glad I took a coach tour as it did take you to the most important sights instead of getting public transport. One of the most iconic buildings and one of the most beautiful is the famous Church on Spilled Blood, with the ornate brightly coloured and mosaic onion domes. I’ve recently seen a near identical copy of this church, the Russian Church in the centre of Nice, so it’s got a twin! There’s a lovely little market right by the side of this Church which sold amongst other things, row upon row of Russian dolls.
The Hermitage Museum, or the Winter Palace, was my next port of call, and it was filled to be brim with treasures bought by Catherine the Great. This place was so massive with over 1000 rooms so it would take a few days to get round and see everything. There were loads of mean looking Russians outside the Hermitage selling all sorts of stuff from boxes and it did seem a bit menacing, so if I weren’t part of a tour I might have felt a little uneasy about walking around on my own here. There wasn’t a nice easygoing vibe in St Petersburg that I was expecting, but I think I did read somewhere that Russians are taught not to smile as children so this might have something to do with it!
Halfway round the tour, the tour bus stopped at a local watering hole which gave out free coffee and free VODKA!! I think this is to make sure you get drunk enough to empty your purse in there! There is a Vodka Museum in St Petersburg, how could there not be!
We then made our way to the Peter and Paul Fortress, another magnificent sight to behold with a little beach area, believe it or not, where I spotted some NUDISTS! Anyway, back to the Fortress…. This is the original site of the Citadel of St Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great no less in 1703, and in the early 2oth Century it was used as a prison by the Tsarist Government. Today, its houses the State Museum of St Petersburg’s History and is still in the ownership of the Government.
Next on our list was St. Isaacs Cathedral, another gold topped domed church, and another example of the magnificent architecture to be found here.