St. Petersburg Journals

Culture and Art tour of St. Petersburg

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A travel journal to St. Petersburg by marcopolo

Peter and Paul Museum of Curiosities Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia More Photos
Quote: I just led the most fantastic tour to Russia in the world! The food was great. The city was fascinating. The accomodations were much better than many in the group had anticipated, and my tour group felt totally safe at all times. Much of this had to do with the quality of other members of the M&M Art Ltd. tour staff (all Russian). I'm the American owner, and I have a Ph.D. from the Russian Academy of Arts. I have personally been to Russia over 100 times. It is great fun dealing with different situations while imparting my love for the city of St. Petersburg. I will take groups of never more than twenty people to Russia on 11 May, 2001, and on the 15th of the next five months. If there is enough interest I will be happy to consider a winter tour schedule as well.

Culture and Art tour of St. Petersburg

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Overview

The Throne Room/Peterhof Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The splendor of the city and the side trips to Novogorod, Pushkin, and Peter Hof make this one of the most exciting places in the world to visit. I am proud to be an American guide (MMARTTRAVEL.com) assisted by a team of Russians who speak good English and who anticipate needs before being asked. The sense of humor of the staff and their willingness to try and help every individual on every tour is laudable. If there is something we can not fix, we make folks understand that every effort is made to make the situation acceptable. My love for the city is apparent in everything we do. The beauty of the city is unreal. The architecture, art, museums, palaces, canals, and friendliness of the people ar...Read More

Castle Lakes Campground

Hotel | "Deeson Ladoga"

Quote:
Very clean and Western style rooms with excellent service and an English speaking staff. The beds were Western style and either king size or twin double beds were available. The hotel boasts a bar, sauna, hair salon, and a modest "nightclub." The hotel is very secure and has individual safe boxes in each room. The hot water does not come on until about 0730 in the morning and appears to be clean. There is a store right next to the hotel where one can purchase food of any kind.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 16, 2000

Castle Lakes Campground
County Road 30 on the Alpine Loop.
Lake City, Colorado
(800) 862-6166

Saint-Petersburg Hotel

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Hotel | "St. Petersburg Hotel"

Quote:
My next six tour groups are going to be staying at the Hotel St. Petersburg. The construction of the hotel is what could be described as "Constructivism". It was not a popular choice when the hotel first opened some time ago. It is huge and occupies a prime position in the city. You could not find a more beautiful location for a hotel in the city. It is right on the banks of the beautiful Bolshoi Neva just across from the mouth of the Nevka. The Cruiser, Aurora, is anchored there and the Naval Academy is just across the river. In the hotel, there are 65 rooms that have just been upgraded to Western standards. These rooms represent the best value in St. Petersburg. When you enter a room you fee...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 4, 2001

Saint-Petersburg Hotel
Pirogovskaya emb., 5/2
St. Petersburg, Russia 194175
007-812-380-1919

Senat-Bar

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Restaurant

Quote:
The Senat Bar is most impressive. The first thing you see upon entering is the photo taken of a President of the United States who always eats there while he is in St. Petersburg. The rest room facilities are great, and the food and dining area look better the deeper you go into the restaurant. The food is beautifully presented and served in ample enough portions. The quality rival of the meals rival that of a four star establishment in New York. Adding to the enjoyment of the meal is the historical setting. It seems that the old Tsarist Parliment used to meet and eat in this same building. The attractive waitresses still wear the colorful uniforms of the old Parliament. Every meal I have had ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 16, 2000

Senat-Bar

St. Petersburg, Russia
271-39-43

St. Petersburg Restaurant

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Restaurant

Quote:
For the past several years I have always ended a tour with a farewell gala at the St. Petersburg Restaurant. This past June was no exception and I am delighted to say that the place is even better than ever. Our group ate at thirty three different restaurants during this "White Nights" tour and the St, Petersburg was the favorite of the group. Our vegetarian attorney from Atlanta, GA raved about the vegetable tournedos, a layer each of zucchini, super-sweet onion, grilled eggplant, and tomato topped with a sharp but understated sauce that seemed to draw out the individual flavors of each item. The floor show was spirited, the cavier and blinni (crepes) were great and our meals were also superb. We...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 5, 2001

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

Peter and Paul Museum of Curiosities

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Attraction

Peter and Paul Museum of Curiosities Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The Peter and Paul Museum of Curiosities is colocated with two other museums under one roof. One is a marvelous museum about other cultures from various parts of the world. This includes one of the finest museums about American Indians I have been seen. I am sure that this stems from the Russian interest in tribes from Siberia that migrated across the land Bridge to the American continent. The Samurai warrior armor is really impressive as well as the 'tools of life' from various cultures from Africa and the Middle East. The Museum of curiosities that is the main attraction has a sort of 'Ripley's Believe it or Not' quality of oddities that Peter I bought from around the world and brought to Russi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2000

Peter and Paul Museum of Curiosities
Vasilivski Island
St. Petersburg, Russia

Gastiny Divor

Attraction

Quote:
It is an exceptional place to shop because it is arguably one of the oldest "malls" in the civilized world. It was founded in the mid 1700's and consisted of hundreds of specialty shops confined to one grand roofed structure bordered by Nevsky and Sinaiya streets. It has its own Metro station (subway) and is next to the beautiful Our Lady of Kazanski Cathedral, where the hero of the Napoleonic Invasion, Generalissimo Katusov is buried. Once, during a restoration of the walls of this marvelous mall, bricks of solid gold were found in the 1950's where they had been hidden for many years. One can only imagine who may have hidden them there with plans to return for them on a better day. This mall is...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2000

Gastiny Divor
Nevesky Prospeck
St. Petersburg, Russia

Novgorod Kremlin

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Attraction | "Novogorod Historical Excursion"

Novgorod Kremlin Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The tour is very relaxing. The group was free to travel with a guide from the Academy of Arts, go off on separate shopping trips, stop at the many shops of the vendors, or just take in the many museums and sights all by yourself. The tour begins with a visit to the Millennium of Russia Memorial, which celebrates 1000 years of Novgorod's contributions to the state and cultural development of Russia. This beautiful statue, which was stolen by the Germans, was located and returned to its rightful place at the end of the war. Next, comes St. Sophia. It is the oldest stone structure of the city and conveys the cultural and spiritual essence of the city itself. The building of the church was final proo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 26, 2000

Novgorod Kremlin
Novgorod
St. Petersburg, Russia

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum

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Attraction | "The Hermitage (Winter Palace)"

Quote:
The Hermitage is well known among the great art museums of the world. If a person were to spend two minutes eight hours a day looking at each piece of art, it would take one hundred and fifty-five years to see the Hermitage. The museum (which was really a palace) began to collect art even before Catherine the Great spent so many rubles collecting the great art collections of Europe. She bought art to demonstrate her love of culture and art and to demonstrate that she too was an enlightened leader who belonged to the fraternity of 'Enlightened ones.' This practice was followed by all of the Tsars that followed her and as a result the Hermitage boasts the largest collection of French Impressionist a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 20, 2000

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

Yusupov Palace

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Attraction | "The Yusupov Palace"

Quote:
If you are lucky enough to travel down the Moika and you happen to glance at the main entrance of the Yupsupov Palace, you will feel compelled to enter this jewel among the jewels of St. Petersburg. Built by one of the richest families of Russia during Tsarist times, the Palace is one of the most amazing buildings in all the world. It is the one palace in St. Petersburg where a guide is required and fortunately the guides speak excellent English and do not provide so much information that a listener ever feels restless waiting to go to the next marvel. Highlights of the palace include the gem room, the blue dining room, the red drawing room,the ball room, the white column room, the Moresque room, t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 20, 2000

Yusupov Palace
Naberezhnaya Reki Moyki 94
St. Petersburg, Russia

M&M Art Travel Tours

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Attraction | "M&M Art Ltd St. Petersburg Tour"

M&M Art Travel Tours Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
I am the owner of M&M Art, and I am a retired US Army Officer who is also a Russian art dealer. For several years now I have conducted tours of St. Petersburg, Russia, and I enjoy showing the city to other Americans. It is the most beautiful city that I have ever visited. If you want a guide who is knowledgeable about Russian art, you will not be disappointed. The tour is unique and more action packed and reasonably priced than any other St. Petersburg tour on the market. It includes all of the Tsarist communities around the city, a trip to Novogorod, the major museums, lectures by several Russian Academy of Arts professors, and the finest dining anywhere in the city. You don't have to take my word...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2000

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

Summer Garden

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Attraction | "The Summer Garden"

Quote:
The Summer Garden is almost like a bit of heaven on earth. It is flanked by the Bolshoi Neva and the Fontanka Canal. It is protected by the world famous sword fence that is perhaps the most impressive of its kind in the world. Inside (entrance is free) one is presented with statues that go back nearly three hundred years. There are charming paths with benches almost always filled with lovers from all over the world. Believe me, this is one romantic spot! There are ponds and a wonderful statue dedicated to the 'Uncle Remus' of Russia, Grandfather Krylov. Krylov is the author of fabled tales of talking animals and his work has always been extremely popular with the children of Russia. The talkin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 8, 2000

Summer Garden
Neva Embankment
St. Petersburg, Russia

Field of Mars

Attraction

Quote:
The Field of Mars, which was previously the Field of Lights, has a special place in the long history of St. Petersburg. Originally it was used as a place where Peter I ordered fireworks displays for the people of the city. These demonstrations were one of the highlights from the back breaking labor necessary to carve a new capital city of Russia out of the swamp. Sometime after the death of Peter, when the rightful heir to the throne was the victim of a palace coup, the oldest regiment in the Russian Army came to her rescue and restored her to the throne. As a reward she awarded the regiment the right to drill on the field and it became the Field of Mars. After WWII an eternal flame was erected t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 7, 2000

Field of Mars
Across the Moika
St. Petersburg, Russia

Peterhof Palace and Gardens

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Attraction | "A bus Ride to PeterHof"

Peterhof Palace and Gardens Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
You might want to resist temptation by avoiding the natural urge to rush inside the palace in favor of looking over the grounds first. The fountains of Peter Hof only operate during late spring to early fall. The Samson Fountain is the very essence of Peter Hof. It is a very visual centerpiece of the Great Cascade. The Great Cascade has been likened to a hymn of praise to mother Russia. It was Peter I who decided that the fountains would become an integral part of the Palace. The glory of Russia's soldiers and sailors is depicted by statues of the ancient gods themselves. Their figures are found interpersed throughout the fountains. The 'Sea Canal,' or fountain alley, is splendid whether obser...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 22, 2000

Peterhof Palace and Gardens
Petrodvorets
St. Petersburg, Russia

The Bronze Horseman and Decembrist Square

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Attraction | "The Bronze Horseman"

The Bronze Horseman and Decembrist Square Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
The Bronze Horseman is the most dominating statue in the entire city and environs of St. Petersburg. The presence of Peter I still permeates St. Petersburg after nearly three hundred years, and this statue by Etienne Falconet best sums up Peter's dynamic contributions to this "Venice of the North." It is an awesome sight and is located in a beautiful park on the bank of the Big Neva River. Often one encounters newlyweds that have come to take their traditional wedding picture at the base of the statue. At other times one may find a bear on a leash. The Horseman is a favorite hangout of young lovers who drink in the beauty of the surroundings while sitting on a park bench. To miss this statue is ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 22, 2000

The Bronze Horseman and Decembrist Square
Ploshad Dekabristov
St. Petersburg, Russia

Tsarskoe Selo

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Attraction | "A trip to Pushkin and a look at Tsarske Selo"

Tsarskoe Selo Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
Going to Pushkin is a little like heaven on earth. This beautiful summer palace of Catherine II is my favorite. It is perhaps the greatest example of rococo architecture in the world. The palace has to be seen to be believed! One of the many highlights is the restoration of the famous missing amber room. The furniture, paintings, and procelain in the palace are priceless remembrances of a time that has truly 'gone with the wind'. The grounds are immaculate and you can get a fine meal for little money in The Aresenal, which is located across the lake from the palace. The flora and fauna are fascinating and sprinkled with statues in tasteful places on the grounds. I was very sorry to learn that the sup...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 22, 2000

Tsarskoe Selo
Pushkin
St. Petersburg, Russia

Peter and Paul Fortress/Peter and Paul Cathedral

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Attraction | "The Peter and Paul Fortress"

Quote:
Peter I began the construction of his new capital on Hare Island in order to deny Swedish ships access to his envisioned new city. There are several gates that are remarkable for their military construction and Peter's Gate is the first you will see on your way into the fortress. Once inside you have many things to look forward to seeing. You can walk out one gate and see the city across the Neva in all its glory. On a clear day with the sun shining brightly, this is a sight that is hard to beat. The Peter and Paul Cathederal is the burial place for the Romanovs. Even the son of Peter I, the Tsarevich Alexei, who was executed in his prison cell, is buried there. The chapel is...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 5, 2001

Peter and Paul Fortress/Peter and Paul Cathedral
Zayachil Ostrov (hare Island)
St. Petersburg, Russia

A visit to a private Sauna

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Another highlight of some of my trips to Russia has been visits to a sauna for the purpose of getting beaten by a birch tree while enduring incredible amounts of heat! There is a sport hall near the very visible Muslim Mosque that is being rebuilt not far from the Peter and Paul Fortress. It is possible to book the sauna for two hours with a private masseuse for only $100.00. The masseuse will accommodate four people and the experience was advertised as a method of driving all of the toxins from your body. It was one of the most pleasurable and memorable moments of my life! One time, four of our group elected to go and found the facilities modest, but very clean. The masseuse was an athletic lookin...Read More

You must Have a Visa

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Although most travelers to Russia know they must have a visa, they might not know how to go about getting one. Today the procedure is quite simple and the best way is to call the most efficient visa service that I have relied upon in the past.The company is: Visa Services Inc.1519 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 300Washington DC 20036.The phone is 202-387-0300.The fax is 202-387-5650.The email address is visa35y@aol.com.The owner, a charming man named Michel Allinquant, leaves no stones unturned in his quest to deliver visas on time. He can provide visa support which makes the visa possible in the first place, and he can handle any existing problems with an ...Read More