Superb St Petersburg

Our inauspicious introduction to St Petersburg saw us standing in a queue for 1.5 hours immediately we left the ship. When we finally made it through Customs on the dock, we boarded the bus for the first of our three shore excursions. Passengers can only go ashore in St Petersburg if they either have a Visa or have purchased a shore excursion. We were told that Russian Visas not only take weeks to obtain but that they are very expensive, even for just one day.

Our first destination in St Petersburg was the fabulous Hermitage Museum. As we drove through the city we were surprised at just how cosmopolitan it is. There are massive modern apartment buildings, beautiful palaces, long canals and flower boxes along the streets. We didn’t see many shops as unlike ours, they don’t have large windows advertising their wares, but they are there all the same. The Hermitage is one of the richest museums in the world, alongside the Louvre and the Guttenberg. Paintings and sculptures fill the gold lined coloured walls and the floors are exquisite parquetry.
Our next excursion took us on a river boat cruise on three separate rivers within the city, under low bridges and surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. We finished our day at the wonderful Yusapov Palace, filled with treasures and home to the murder of the infamous Rasputin, peasant, mystical faith healer and a trusted friend to the Tsar's family.

Our final shore excursion - on our second day and without the Customs dramas - was a walking tour through the city. We saw the mysterious Mikhailovsky (Michael’s) Palace which, according to  legend was named after the Archangel Michael when one of the soldiers guarding the construction site experienced a vision of the angel guarding the castle alongside him. The castle is thought to be  haunted.

The brilliant Spilled Blood Cathedral contains 7000 square metres of beautiful mosaics that took nearly 15 years to complete. It is a museum now and is no longer used for services. Finally we were taken to a souvenir shop where we enjoyed free coffee and vodka! We were very impressed with St Petersburg and would love to have been able to spend more time, and on our own, just wandering the streets.
The queue on the dock

Apartment building

Inside the Hermitage Museum

Parquetry flooring

Take note of the face on the dog at left. Our guide told us the museum is thinking of removing the exhibit as it looks too much like their President!

Our tour guide Sergei

Inside the Yusapov Palace

On our river cruise

This bridge was designed by Eiffel

St Petersburg has its share of homeless people

Spilled Blood Church in the background

Michael's Palace

Michael's Garden

The author Pushkin

Spilled Blood Church

Inside Spilled Blood Church


  1. Absolutely amazing place to visit!!!!!

  2. Wow! I've always wanted to visit St Petersburg, and it's even more beautiful than I expected.

  3. It was very different to what we'd imagined and we were very pleasantly surprised.


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