St. Petersburg Journals

Peter’s City

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A May 2000 trip to St. Petersburg by barbara

St. Petersburg Restaurant Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia More Photos
Quote: Peter the Great wanted a modern Russia, so he built a glorious capital to be held up as a beacon of light for his people. Therefore to visit St. Petersburg is not just to visit another place, but to experience a tsar's vision for the future of an entire country.

Peter’s City

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Overview

Quote:
The neatest thing about Russia for me was the incredible interest in Russian History that was sparked in my mind by our trip. I have never been somewhere before and immediately visited the bookstore upon my return. Quick Tips: A guide who speaks Russian is EXTREMELY helpful. We normally do not travel in a group, but I feel the city was easier to see for the first time in this manner. Our tour group leader also arranged for a guide to go out with us on a one-on-one basis at certain points in the tour to suit individual interests. Since many Russians do not speak English, this was wonderfully helpful and a good security blanket for us in the beginning. Later, when we had a better clue ...Read More

Deeson Ladoga

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Hotel | "Deson-Ladoga"

Quote:
The hotel was very comfortable though it had some quirks with its moody water pipes (more a city problem than a hotel problem) that made showering an interesting experience. Nonetheless, the hotel was clean and safe with a very friendly staff that, for the most part, spoke fluent English. There was a nice sauna and salon available to guests and a bar that was open late. The Russian cuisine in the restaurant was good. Excellent Chinese food---a very uncommon cuisine in Russia---could be ordered as well. Some Western Hotel comforts were not available such as an in-room blow dryer, so bring your own. You'll also need a transformer to use any American appliances ANYWHERE in Russia. The Deson-Ladoga ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Deeson Ladoga
26, Shaumianna Prospect
St. Petersburg
+7 (812) 528-5393

St. Petersburg Restaurant

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Restaurant

St. Petersburg Restaurant Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The restaurant is wonderfully decorated with tall Tiffany-style lamps in the lobby. Our tour guide got our group tables right in front of the stage for a floor show one evening for dinner. As we ate caviar and drank vodka (Russian delicacies both), Peter the Great led a 'Russia meets Las Vegas'type floor show that was actually raucously entertaining. Women in traditional Russian dress danced while the most famous of Tsars sang in Russian. After the Chicken Kiev and desserts were eaten, the dance floor was available to guests. After leaving the St. Petersburg dinner, three of us left the group with which we were touring and met one of our young Russian guides in a bar next door...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

St. Petersburg Restaurant
5 Canal Griboedova
St. Petersburg, Russia
314-4947

Senat-Bar

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Restaurant

Quote:
One of our Russian guides told us that only very rich Russian people eat at this restaurant. It predominantly caters to foreigners, and the prices are exorbitantly high by St. Petersburg standards. Our very charismatic group leader who happens to be a staunch Republican in the U.S., jokingly apologized for the signed picture of President Bill Clinton we saw hanging in a place of honor near the entrance to the restaurant. With that said, the food at the Senat Bar was very good. Only one meal had been scheduled there on our tour, but the group liked it so much that the group leader arranged a second meal for us to eat there as well.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Senat-Bar

St. Petersburg, Russia
271-39-43

Yusupov Palace

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Attraction | "The Yusupov Palace"

Yusupov Palace Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
This amazing palace was the home of the aristocratic Yusupov family, a family that spared no expense on its lavish residence. Not only was the guided tour we had through the home extremely interesting from the standpoint of architecture and beauty, the place had significant historical significance as well. It was where Prince Felix Yusupov first poisoned and shot Rasputin in the early 20th century. Going down into the dimly lit wine cellar of Prince Felix’s private rooms, I got an eerie feeling of discomfort---especially knowing the story of the death of the famous holy man, Rasputin, who was said to have bewitched Empress Alexandria thus contributing to the fall of the Romanov dynasty before th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Yusupov Palace
Naberezhnaya Reki Moyki 94
St. Petersburg, Russia

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum

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Attraction | "The Hermitage"

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The Hermitage used to be Catherine the Great’s Winter Palace. It is a huge and expansive building housing literally millions of pieces of great art. My husband and I went by ourselves to the Hermitage a second time after having already visited once with our tour group. We wanted to take more time wandering through the spectacular hallways, looking at the incredible, original paintings hanging all around us. We saw originals by Renoir, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh. Every style of work you could think of from every time period and art movement imaginable was available for viewing. Wanting to see an exhibit by Matisse even though we were running short on time, we practically sprinted from one floor to a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum
Palace Embankment, On The Neva River
St. Petersburg, Russia

Mariinsky

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Attraction | "Mariinskiy Theater"

Quote:
The Mariinskiy theater is beautiful with its gold gilded balconies and lush hallways. It was wonderful fun to get dressed up (evening dress; suit) for a night at the Opera. Unfortunately for me, however, I discovered I don’t like the Opera! We saw a four hour long presentation of Rimsky Korsakov’s Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maide Fevronia. I was most grateful for the champagne and ice cream that was available during intermission! And I know I wasn’t the only one because at one particularly quiet moment, I distinctly heard a gentleman on our row of seats let out the not-so-quiet grumble of a snore! On the other hand, there were several people in our group, classical music an...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Mariinsky
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg, Russia
+7 326 4141

The Metro Club

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Attraction

Quote:
The Metro Club was suggested to us by a girl at our hotel. Flagging down a private car was part of the adventure! We had been shown how to do this by a Russian guide a few days before. The three of us got a car to take us to the Metro for 60 Rubles which is a little less that $2 US. As was our experience with all Russian drivers, this one drove like a NYC cabbie. He did not speak more than two words of English, but the Back Street Boys were blaring out of his tape deck! Once at the Metro Club, we had to wait in line until it opened at 10 PM. The crowd was a little young---early twenties---and there was a doorman checking ID’s. The drinking age in Russia is also 21. When we got to the door, we...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

The Metro Club
Ligovskiy pr., 174
St. Petersburg, Russia

Konyusheny Dvor

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Attraction

Quote:
The Konyusheny Dvor is next door to the St. Petersburg restaurant. We met one of our Russian Guides and her French boyfriend there for a drink. Philip was in Russia studying as an artist at the Russian Academy Arts, a school known to have produced an almost infinite list of talented artists, and he spoke English well. Oleysia, our Russian guide, was also a student at the Academy, but she was studying Art History. It was great fun talking about the US and Russia with these two fun, intelligent people, and we had a great time just sitting around indulging in Georgian wine (a definite must try if you are a wine drinker!) and dark beer. As the night wore on, however, the music pumped up louder, and my...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Konyusheny Dvor
Griboedova kan.na. 5
St. Petersburg, Russia

Gastiny Divor

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Attraction | "Gostinyy dvor"

Quote:
The department stores in Russia are interesting. My Russian guide had to point out to me that when we walked through an archway and the walls changed color, we were not walking into another room of a store, but into another store entirely! I needed another pair of pants to wear because the first days we spent in Russia were colder than I had anticipated. I was able to find a very nice pair of Olga pants and black high heels for a little over $50 US total. The prices reminded me of those you find at a good US sale. One great thing I also noticed, however, was there was no sales tax added to purchases. For other types of shopping there are many, many street vendors from whom you can buy both souve...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Gastiny Divor
Nevesky Prospeck
St. Petersburg, Russia

Alexandr Nevsky Monastery (Lazarev and Tikhvin Cemeteries)

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Attraction | "Running Past Tolstoy's Grave"

Alexandr Nevsky Monastery (Lazarev and Tikhvin Cemeteries) Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
I was told by the hotel staff that most Russians run either in the country or in various parks throughout the city. They do not normally run on the sidewalks by the streets. To get to the country or the parks was not an easy thing for me to do when the purpose was to just get in a run, so the hotel staff advised me to exercise either late at night (before sun down---11 PM) or early morning (7 AM). Supposedly the traffic is lighter at these times. The pollution is not as thick either. I was fortunate in that another lady who was in my Tour Group was a runner, too. It was wonderful having a running partner in this strange city. In fact, I am not sure I would've wanted to run alone. Bravery is ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Alexandr Nevsky Monastery (Lazarev and Tikhvin Cemeteries)
Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo
St. Petersburg

Peterhof Palace and Gardens

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Attraction | "Peterhof"

Peterhof Palace and Gardens Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The Peterhof Palace was Peter the Great’s and Catherine the Great’s summer palace respectively. It was my favorite large palace owned by the Imperial Family because the grounds were so beautiful. It is situated on the Finish Gulf, and the back gardens are wild and natural looking. Peter the Great had a great sense of humor, too, and there are trick fountains that turn on when you hit certain triggers, such as the bench that squirts water when you sit down. I saw several people running on the grounds---entrance for Russians is very cheap---and would say that I would have loved to have run there, too. To see all of the Palace and to explore all of the grounds in just one day, you could use the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Peterhof Palace and Gardens
Petrodvorets
St. Petersburg, Russia

Novgorod Kremlin

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Attraction

Novgorod Kremlin Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
Novgorod is a much older city than St. Petersburg having been established centuries ago. It is a very popular tourist destination. More interesting to me than Novgorod itself, however,was the Russian countryside we saw driving from St. Petersburg to Novgorod on the Russian Super-Highway. We were able to see many Russian summer houses along the way, people working in their gardens. Some of the fields left untended were so covered in dandelions that they looked like rectangles of blurred yellow as we drove by. At points we seemed to pass as many WWII Memorials as fields of flowers, which spoke volumes about the great sacrifices made by the Russian people during that terrible chapter in all of our ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Novgorod Kremlin
Novgorod
St. Petersburg, Russia

Nicholas and Alexandria’s Primary Residence Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The palace that Nicholas and Alexandria chose to make their primary residence for the second half of their marriage was a very sad place to visit. Unlike Catherine the Great’s grandiose Winter Palace nearby, the home of Nicholas and Alexandria felt very personal to me and was the only palace we visited that truly felt like it had once been a home. I really enjoyed the tour through the palace’s ground floor given by a Russian who worked there. She pointed out many small things of historical interest such as the old-timey phone that allowed Alexandria to speak to Tsar Nicholas when he was away in Moscow. The palace is also where the last Romanov ruler and his family were initially held under hou...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Nicholas and Alexandria’s Primary Residence
St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Russia

M&M Art Travel Tours

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Attraction | "M&M Art’s St. Petersburg"

M&M Art Travel Tours Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
M&M Art is a small art company run by a retired military officer who has traveled to and from Russia countless times over the last decade. He began to take groups of curious Americans over just a few years ago to enjoy some of the sites in a city he calls a second home. Because of Dr. Donnelly’s incredible interest in Russian art, the tour focuses on the great contributions Russians have made to the art world. The group leader was at his best when he took us through the Russian State Museum of Art. He narrated that tour with great knowledge and animation thus making each painting interesting. Of course we also saw many of the things that any other tour would focus on ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

M&M Art Travel Tours
Timurovskaya 30-1-155
St. Petersburg, Russia
+7 (812) 532-7504

Quote:
The cabin of Peter the Great, built in 1703, was the first building ever constructed in St. Petersburg. It was a very small and humble structure, and I thought it revealed a lot about the giant man who once resided there. Peter was never affected by glitter or pretension. He was a practical leader, and the cabin was a place from which he could direct the building of his city. The rooms are furnished with some of Peter the Great's things, but there is also an exhibit describing naval victories in the center of the museum. Peter made great strides to enhance Russia's navy because he recognized the strategic import of the sea. He was always fascinated with the ocean. Unfortunately, there is...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 21, 2002

Peter the Great's Cabin
6 Petrovskaya
St. Petersburg, Russia
232-4576

Free advice

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Story/Tip

Quote:
The weather in May can be quite warm, but it was quite cold on several mornings, too. Pack clothes that can suit 40-75 degree F weather. The second half of our stay was mostly warm---shorts weather--- but I was still grateful to have a windbreaker along. Saint Petersburg has so many things to see that you will not possibly be able to see them all on one visit. A tour can help you hit the most important things in the least amount of time by taking away the hassle of your worrying about the details. A guide of some sort would be extremely helpful if you don’t want to do a group because there is a language barrier. (The Tour Company that we went through provides an individu...Read More