St. Petersburg Journals

A Week In Saint Petersburg

A May 2004 trip to St. Petersburg by Christine Noel

Quote: I spent seven days in Saint Petersburg last May. It was a wonderful trip, both inspiring and educational.

A Week In Saint Petersburg

Overview

Quote:
There are a million things to do in Saint Petersburg. The Hermitage is a must, but I frankly found it disappointing. Walking down Nevsy is fun and interesting. I recommend a trip to the Seige Museum which documents (a slightly sanitized version) of life during the German Seige of Saint Petersburg during WWII. The Nevsy Monastery is currently being renovated, but the grounds around it are still beautiful. The Peter and Paul Fortress is impressive, but don't plan to eat nearby, the restaurants are all horrible. Quick Tips: WATCH YOUR WALLET/PURSE!!!!! My friend's wallet was stolen on our last day while we were riding on the bus. KEEP YOUR METRO/BUS TICKETS!!! Plain-clothes nspectors ruiti...Read More
Quote:
This is the least expensive major hotel in the city center. It's fine, but not nearly as nice as any of the other hotels I've stayed at throughout Eastern and Western Europe for the same money. The problem is, spend any less, and you're out of the historical heart of the city, and the next step up literally means adding at least $100-$150 a night to the price of a single! I usually spend between $100-$150 a night on a single, and recieve much more in terms of luxury than I did here. That said. It's fine. It's clean, safe, the rooms are medium-sized, and the hotel offers every normal amenity. There are idiosyncracies though. There is a mini-fridge in each room, but they aren't stocked. (Not a ni...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

Hotel Oktyabrskaya
Ligovsky Pr 10 In Front Of Ploshad' Vosstania Underground
St. Petersburg
7 (812) 578-15-15

Bistro Garcon

Restaurant

Quote:
All in all, the food in Russia is not good. At least not to my palate, and I'll pretty much try anything. The food is bland and repetitive. Bistro Garcon is a true find in St. Petersburg. Everything on the menu is wonderful, but be careful, some dishes can be a little rich if you're used to light fare. I ate breakfast here every day, and had came back for lunch or dinner (or both) most days too. The waitstaff is effecient and polite (when I went there was even a near-sighted waiter who inadvertently provided some light comedy), but not terribly fluent in English. Don't worry, you'll get your point across. I can't recommend this restaurant highly enough. Order some onion soup, sit back...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

Bistro Garcon
Nevsy Pr. 95
St. Petersburg, Russia

Quote:
I recommend having lunch at the outdoor cafe at the Grand Hotel Europe when you become truly starved for good food in Saint Petersburg. Their French-styles sandwhiches are expensive ($15!), but they're sooooooo good. A sandwich, a beer, and a coffee afterwards will run you almost $25, but it's guaranteed good food (that isn't beef stroganof!), which is not something to sneeze at in Russia. Eating at the Grand Hotel Europe can be entertaining also. During my lunch one day, I watched two European Businessmen "wine and dine" two prostitutes in the cafe. Don't ask me how I knew they were prostitutes. After you've spent some time in Eastern Europe, you just know. I felt bad for the girls; the men wer...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

The Grand Hotel Europe
Mikhailovskaya ul 1/7
St. Petersburg, Russia

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum

Attraction | "The Hermitage"

Quote:
You have to go, but, frankly, I was disappointed. The Hermitage's art collection is not on par with the Louvre. It has many works by the great masters, but they tend to be works from the beginning or the end of careers, and therefore not the best of what the greats produced. It's still worth going for the architecture and the Imperial Rooms. I literally would recommend skipping the canvases (unless there's something there you know you want to see) in order to focus more time on the Imperial Rooms and their furnishings. If you're on a tight budget, don't eat at the Hermitage. It's expensive, and, honestly, not that great. If you're headache prone, take an aspirin before you ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

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

The Blockade Museum

Attraction

Quote:
This museum is dedicated to the German seige of St. Petersburg during WWII. It's harrowing and awe-inspiring, but it does sanitize history a little. There is no mention of the cannibalism that went on in St. Petersburg during the blockade, and no mention of the tactics the Russian officers used to "motivate" their troops on the frontlines (advancing behind them with their guns trained on the troops and orders to shoot if anyone retreated). There is some English signage in the museum, but not a lot. It doesn't really matter because most of the exhibits are self-explanatory, including the exhibit focused around a morself of bread that represents the food ration Leningraders got during the blockade...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 27, 2004

The Blockade Museum
Solyanoy per 9
St. Petersburg, Russia

Quote:
The good news: It's almost universally cheap by Western Standards unless you go to one of the Exclusive hotels on Nevsky for your meal, and the portions are large. That's it for the good news. The bad news: Beef stroganof seems to be the only dish. Order any dish that's listed as being made with beef and you'll end up getting something that almost exactly resembles beef stroganor. I swear to God, you could order Sushi and you'd get beef stroganof. Russian beer is pretty crappy, but you can get good Czech and German beers almost everywhere. Russian vodka is obviously wonderful. The coffee is AWFUL! I've never lost weight on a vacation before in my life. I spent 3 weeks in Eastern Euro...Read More