Monday, September 21, 2009

City Snapshot: St. Petersburg, Russia

I have been thinking about doing these "City Snapshots" for a while. My travels have inspired me in so many ways, so I thought it would be a good idea to show you why, and also, its a perfect excuse for me to relive my experience's!

I will start off with the beautiful St.Petersburg! It is probably one of the cities that I have been to, which most people haven't, so it might interest you a little.....

Just from looking at the photos, how could anyone with any artistic/creative talent not be inspired?!! This really is a city of beauty, opulence, and extravagance! Pictured above, I am standing in "The Hermitage", The Winter Palace- it rivals The Louvre in size, collections of art, and grandness.

We visited St.Petersburg in 2006, after going to the World Cup in Germany.

Outside of the Hermitage, with the hubbie. By the way, you can't see all of the Palace above in the photo- it goes on and on!

The Petergof or the Summer Palace. The gardens and surroundings are absolutely lovely! Well worth the trip on the ferry. We visited St.Petersburg in the summer, and while the days were actually fairly warm, the nights (to me) were quite cold. Take a jacket when you go!

Above is pictured the Saviour on Spilled Blood Cathedral. This would have to be my favourite Cathedral/Church in all of Europe. The colours are amazing! It really is just awe inspiring- the main reason being, that every surface inside the cathedral has been covered in mosaics.

The mosaics range from beautiful stylised floral patterns, to pictures depicting saints, to geometric shapes, etc. If you love colour, love meticulous craftsmanship, and love details, then make sure you visit this cathedral if you are ever in St.Petersburg.

Above, one of the doors inside the Hermitage.

One of the very special things we did in St.Petersburg, was to attend a Ballet performance in The Marinski Theatre. Ballet is an integral part of Russian culture, and they take it very seriously. They are often known as the best in the world. The Marinski Theatre (pictured above) would probably be the most opulent and different theatre I have been to. Stunning!

The Petergof above, and below.

The inside of the Marinski Theatre again, above.

Another must-see in St.Petersburg, is the opening of the bridges, at night. It is a boat tour, and at a certain time in the middle of the night (I can't remember when), the bridges open, and you ride around in the canals. Very beautiful.

St.Petersburg is a more "tourist friendly" city, compared to Moscow (more on Moscow later). It has a very Western European feel to it (as you can see in the architecture), but still has that same mysterious quality, that I associate with Russia.

I was lucky, as my husband speaks fluent Russian, so we had no trouble getting around, and we even got to pay local rates - they have 2 set prices usually for attractions; the local price; and the tourist price, which can be inflated by up to 10 times the local amount. Before I went to Russia, and before I met my husband, all I knew of Russia was from James Bond movies (silly, I know!), so to have travelled in Russia was truly an eye-opener, but also an experience that I won't forget!

I would recommend visiting St.Petersburg if you love Western European style, but you want to experience something a little different. St.Petersburg still has its own distinct flavour to it, it is not over-run with tourists (well, it wasn't when we were there), and there are certainly many attractions that are well worth the hassle of the visa and flight.

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