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littlekate
Russia, St. Petersburg – starter kit

Reasons to come: If you want to relax St. Petersburg the same as any other russian city is a wrong place to come. Slow, expensive and inadequate services, inconvenience of everything will be your permanent companions. Better go to Turkey, or to Finland. The only reason to come here is to learn and to see something. You will see things and history from another side of the world, from inside a big white spot on world's map, as you can see Russia on TravelPod.

Climate: +7...-30 deg.C in winter and +10...+30 deg. C in summer. I strongly advise you to have umbrella or something for rains in summer – we have a lot of them. From the middle of May to the middle of July a phenomena of white nights is observed. That means it does not get dark at night because we are very close to the North Pole. One of my friends once described the night in our early summer as "two hours of inky twilights". This period is considered romantic – young people walk a lot, take boat tours, etc. I do not remember anyone mentioning "Black days" in winter, when it gets light at 10 a.m. and dark at 5 p.m., and I wonder if they find it romantic in Finland, which is some 500 km to the north from us and must have the same phenomena, even brighter.
Time: we have Moscow time that means GTM+3 to this +1 hour in summer – the same as they have in Europe.
Population: 5 million people, the second biggest city in Russia, quite industrial and prosperous due to the sea port and a lot of educated people.
Airport: it is very small and provincial compare to what you are accustomed to. On the way back do not behave as if you were in some other place, please, come 2 hours before your departure time – capacity of the airport is really low, and its operation is really not perfect. Connection of the airport to the city is inconvenient, though it is not so far from the center. Normal cost of the taxi from airport to the center for the daytime is 600RUR (16 USD). There is a bus №39 and a lot of private shared taxies, you will distinguish them by prefix "K". They are a bit more expensive (25RUR – 0.69 USD) against 18RUR=0.5USD charged by the municipal bus #39). They go to the metro station Moskovskaya.
Transportation: So, in the day time you will be delivered to the destination safely and cheaply. Metro closes at 23.30 and opens at 6.30. Entrance to the metro will cost you 18 RUR=0.5USD, the fee is charged for entrance, no one bothers where exactly you are going and with how many transfers. To enter you have to buy a coin like thing, called zheton. Another opportunity is a smart-card, which may contain as many entrances as you buy. It looks like a blue credit card, you just press it to the white circle on the gate and the gate opens for you, and you keep your smart card with you to use for the next entrance. Public transportation is quite well developed. Here you can plan your rout by public transportation to destination address (or object) you specify http://spb.rusavtobus.ru/en/. The city is interconnected with metro (or subway), buses, trolleybuses, trams and shared taxies which are actually private minibuses, which go some exact rout but stop wherever you request along this rout, unless it is not forbidden by traffic rules. The request is supposed in Russian, and the thing will not stop unless someone requests. Metro is good and safe, though crowded and has no instructions in English inside. You badly need Cyrillic alphabet to use metro without assistance of someone local, consider that people normally do not speak English. It may sound funny, but our metro can be really regarded as a tourists' attraction. Contrast to just low and narrow tiled tunnels in London, most of our metro stations are works of architecture, some of them real gems, though crowded of course. I especially advise you to see Pushkinskaya – a wonderful and unusual example of Stalin's Empire Style, built in early 1950-s.
Meals: 30USD would be enough to have a very good diner vine including. Business lunch will be something like 7USD. Now we have a lot of cafes, restaurants – everything, I just wander will they survive the breakdown or not? Though, some things are special. Any prospect of having a breakfast out will be not earlier than 9 a.m., and not many places offer it. Most of the cafes open at 10-11 a.m. So, if you are an early bird do not neglect what they offer in your hotel.
Medicine: I do not think you will find our healthcare very modern, but they will help.
Toilets: For a visit to a public toilet you will be charged something like 0.5USD, and it may happen to be not perfectly clean and comfortable. Slide unnoticed into some cafe (they are required to have some toilet anyway), or try some luxurious hotel, like Europe, Nevsky palace or Redison. Here your foreign look will play for you.
Accommodation: Mini-hotels are good. All of them belong to post-soviet period. Many of them have good locations and occupy the premises of an apartment in a porch of some dwelling house. A porch of the dwelling house may look terrible – do not be scared, it's just state of repair normal for the historical center and it does not imply any danger. In the mini-hotel itself everything will look quite good. Something of acceptable quality must cost 100-150USD/ day.

Attractions: Once I heard a girl from russian province, who walked along Nevsky prospect, asking: "Is there any non-historical building here?" Sorry, all of them historical, between 18th and 20th century, really beautiful. It is difficult to find a view, which would not please with beauty. St. Petersburg was a capital of huge and prosperous Russian Empire until the revolution of 1917. It was built by the best European masters as "a window to Europe" as the city is often called, and Nevsky is the aristocratic part of this capital. You will be impressed.
Hermitage museum: a huge art museum occupying the Winter palace – former winter residence of Russian Tsars – and some nearest buildings. It has a collection of foreign arts, no worse than Louver, a really good one. As a true traveler, I think, you have been in Louver. Here you will see the works of the same greatest artists of the world, just different from those in the European collections. If you are a fan of fine arts, go to the Hermitage (open from 10.30 to 17.00 and to 16.00 on Sundays, Monday is a day off, about 9USD).
Museum of Russian Arts or Russian Museumthey have a collection of russian artworks, which is really good and bright, and deserves attention – a lot of things to see and to learn, not necessary to be a fan of fine arts (open every day from 10.00 to 17.00, on Monday from 10.00 to 16.00, Tuesday is a day off, about 9USD). Many of the paintings are good illustrations of Russian life and history.
Savior on Blood
: a memorial church in imitation of the ancient russian architecture, a lot of stone carving – very beautiful. It was built on the spot where a very good and democratic Russian Tsar Alexander II was murdered by a terrorist.
St. Isaac's cathedral: huge and impressing, magnificent, really beautiful, easily accessible. I advise you to buy also a ticket to colonnade. For your own money you will have to clime about 100 m up to the colonnade, but the view deserves the sacrifice.
Jusupovs' palace.
Probably you know, who is Grigory Rasputin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Rasputin So, you can visit the very palace where Rasputin was murdered. In the above Wikipedia article they have a picture of Moika Palace – this very place. Though, it is not so easily accessible. The palace preserves all things and decorations original and rents out its rooms for very rich banquet parties – too much absorbed in commercial activities a bit forgetting the role of a museum. In summer the excursion should be ordered something like 2 months in advance.
Dostoyevsky. Probably you know his famous novels "Crime and Punishment", "Karamazov brothers", "Idiot", etc., you could have them at school. If you are a fan of the great writer, go to his flat (they have a museum there). Someone local can take you to the real places described it the novels. Dostoyevsky described very truly the real scenery inhabited by pore people. This will be another part of the city – not a trace of imperial magnificence. Here I advise you to see some of the yards. Normally they are locked, but have patience, wait until someone comes to unlock the gate and follow him (or her). They would not object. We call this "well-yard". In such yard you feel like you are inside of a big well formed by the house walls with just a small square of sky over your head.
Peterhoff
– a wonderful summer residence of Russian tsars on the sea shore (a suburb) with a lot of fountains – very beautiful. The main architectural idea was to make an improved and enlarged copy of Versailles, and it was a success. I advise you to go there by boat (mooring place is just by the Winter Palace, 30USD two ways. Entrance to the Peterhoff park will be 12USD). I advise you not to enter the palace but to enjoy the park. The place is wonderful and flooded by tourists.
Catherine's palace – another summer residence of Russian tsars in the suburb called Pushkin. Also very beautiful, and it has a famous amber room http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Room This palace is not easily accessible. Prepare for queuing and fighting – I warned you, not many things will be easy, but this place deserves fighting. Here I advise you to come by taxi. Train is not convenient – it will make you tired, and the subsequent strong emotions from the palace will be killing. (Open from 10 to 17 every day except Tuesdays end the last Monday of each month, about 30USD).
Pavlovsk
– one more royal suburb... No fountains, no amber rooms but also very beautiful. This park is popular rather among locals, than foreign tourists – a good place to relax. Now one local "oligarch" tries to restore traditions of the place organizing free of charge public concerts (classical music mostly) it the park's pavilions.
Peter and Paul Fortress. It has two main places of attraction: Peter and Paul Cathedral where all the members of Russian royal family are buried beginning with Peter I and the prison where political prisoners of the empire were kept – quite comfortable compare to what I heard about soviet prisons.
The Engineering Castle, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Bronze Horseman …

The list seams to be endless.

Boat trips. The city is situated in the delta of a huge river called Neva, so it is crossed with a lot of smaller rivers and channels, Neva including. Walking along Nevsky you will see a lot boat trips advertised. Resist the temptation. Actually they offer a trip along channels accompanied by a lecture in Russian through loudspeakers for good money of 15USD. The lecture is loud – there will be no chance to outcry it. There is a place where you can hire a boat for your own with a guide or without a guide. This will cost something like 120USD per hour. I advise you to include Neva into your trip. This will be impressing.

People. They look sever from the first sight – no one smiling, all of them emerged in their thoughts… At the second sight they are better and even friendly, but they do not speak English.

You haven't been in St. Petersburg unless you have…
• Seen a ballet or opera in Mariinsky theater
Mariinsky is of course the most famous and the biggest, though there is another place more expensive and better in my view – The Hermitage Theater. It is small and exquisite, located in the former home theater of Russian emperors. If you do not like classical music, I advise you our Jazz Club (Shpalernaya 31) or Jazz Philharmonics (on Zagorodniy prospect).
• Walked through Nevsky prospect
• Walked along the Palace Embankment
• Seen the Bronze Horseman
• Been in the Hermitage museum
• Enjoyed the White Night

You have not been in Russia unless you have…
• Had vodka with a cucumber cooked specially like pickles, but without any vinegar – some salt added to control fermentation. I'm not sure about vodka, but cucumbers known as "salted cucumbers (soloniye ogurtsi)" are excellent.
• Tried borsh – a soup made of bit root, potatoes, meat and other optional vegetables. Really good if cooked properly.
• Bought a wooden spoon painted in Hohloma style for your domestic needs.
• Tried kvas – a traditional soft drink.
starlagurl
Awesome, thanks littlekate, I'm signing you up as the St. Petersberg Local Expert as we speak.
greekcypriot
"Reasons to come: If you want to relax St. Petersburg the same as any other russian city is a wrong place to come. Slow, expensive and inadequate services, inconvenience of everything will be your permanent companions. Better go to Turkey, or to Finland. The only reason to come here is to learn and to see something. You will see things and history from another side of the world, from inside a big white spot on world's map, as you can see Russia on TravelPod."


I was having a look on St Petersburg travel kit, and the above first paragraph impressed me so much!!

Many Greek people come to Russia during summer, but always with a tourist agency.
This is something I hate. It's pity because we want to come, but the hotels and food are really expensive.

Nice piece of information though!

http://www.travelpod.com/members/greekcypriot
(more that 200 photos from Athens and Venice)
greekcypriot
"Reasons to come: If you want to relax St. Petersburg the same as any other russian city is a wrong place to come. Slow, expensive and inadequate services, inconvenience of everything will be your permanent companions. Better go to Turkey, or to Finland. The only reason to come here is to learn and to see something. You will see things and history from another side of the world, from inside a big white spot on world's map, as you can see Russia on TravelPod."


I was having a look on St Petersburg travel kit, and the above first paragraph impressed me so much!!

Many Greek people come to Russia during summer, but always with a tourist agency.
This is something I hate. It's pity because we want to come, but the hotels and food are really expensive.

Nice piece of information though!

http://www.travelpod.com/members/greekcypriot
(more that 200 photos from Athens and Venice)
littlekate
O, come, come! The place is really beautiful. You can avoid travel agency, just apply for Russian visa and buy a ticket. I can help you to choose some hotel, or we can think of accommodating you in someone's home. But nothing can be done with food - it's expansive. You also can hire some guide (me, for instance). 1 week will be enough for a visit. Some people come for 3 days, but I do not think it's enough.
greekcypriot
Thanks so much for inviting me to come.
I am sure you will be a good tour guide for me.
As for the food which is REALLY EXPENSIVE, well, I will be on a diet those days!! ha ha!

For this summer, I am so busy travelling around to different places both in Greece and Europe, and I have already returned from an 8 day trip to Italy.
So I have to do some work also. In the meantime just let me know how much does a trip from London let's say to come there, would cost.

In case you wish to visit Greece let me also know because I can arrange things for you here as well.
Thanks again.

http://www.travelpod.com/members/greekcypriot
littlekate
At last they have installed instructions in English in the subway in St. Petersburg! Seen them yesterday myself! I can not swear they are installed in all the stations already, but I have seen them at Nevsky – the most central and most important station for tourists. hyper.gif
starlagurl
Hahaha! How long were they promising to install them?
littlekate
I can't remember any promises, only some journalist's lamentations, like: "Our city is inconvenient for foreign tourists - no information in English available in metro... that's not good". Locals never demanded any information in English - they did well with Russian only. But the city government always entertained some ideas of developing tourist industry, attracting more foreign people... foreign currencies... building up communism, etc.
greekcypriot
Hi there Kate,
Greetings from Toledo where I am now.
A GOOD step indeed. It is difficult for a foreigner not to be able to read signs. I think it was time. I am curious to be told whether they have installed instructions in English in other stations as well. Let us know. It is good to be informed.
http://www.travelpod.com/members/greekcypriot
New Entry with many photos

angel003
Hello
We very much enjoyed our stay at the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge. The room was very very nice and clean, roomy and quiet. The staff were very helpful and friendly, the hotel amenities very good. We particularly appreciated the gym, which was well stocked with an in-house personal trainer available. The breakfast and Spanish restaurant were good but expensive.
littlekate
QUOTE(angel003 @ Nov 17 2009, 12:04 AM) *

Hello
We very much enjoyed our stay at the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge. The room was very very nice and clean, roomy and quiet. The staff were very helpful and friendly, the hotel amenities very good. We particularly appreciated the gym, which was well stocked with an in-house personal trainer available. The breakfast and Spanish restaurant were good but expensive.

And how much was it? I guess, not less than in the most expensive countries of Europe, right?
rosey1946
QUOTE(littlekate @ Mar 24 2009, 10:30 AM) *

Russia, St. Petersburg – starter kit

Reasons to come: If you want to relax St. Petersburg the same as any other russian city is a wrong place to come. Slow, expensive and inadequate services, inconvenience of everything will be your permanent companions. Better go to Turkey, or to Finland. The only reason to come here is to learn and to see something. You will see things and history from another side of the world, from inside a big white spot on world's map, as you can see Russia on TravelPod.

Climate: +7...-30 deg.C in winter and +10...+30 deg. C in summer. I strongly advise you to have umbrella or something for rains in summer – we have a lot of them. From the middle of May to the middle of July a phenomena of white nights is observed. That means it does not get dark at night because we are very close to the North Pole. One of my friends once described the night in our early summer as "two hours of inky twilights". This period is considered romantic – young people walk a lot, take boat tours, etc. I do not remember anyone mentioning "Black days" in winter, when it gets light at 10 a.m. and dark at 5 p.m., and I wonder if they find it romantic in Finland, which is some 500 km to the north from us and must have the same phenomena, even brighter.
Time: we have Moscow time that means GTM+3 to this +1 hour in summer – the same as they have in Europe.
Population: 5 million people, the second biggest city in Russia, quite industrial and prosperous due to the sea port and a lot of educated people.
Airport: it is very small and provincial compare to what you are accustomed to. On the way back do not behave as if you were in some other place, please, come 2 hours before your departure time – capacity of the airport is really low, and its operation is really not perfect. Connection of the airport to the city is inconvenient, though it is not so far from the center. Normal cost of the taxi from airport to the center for the daytime is 600RUR (16 USD). There is a bus №39 and a lot of private shared taxies, you will distinguish them by prefix "K". They are a bit more expensive (25RUR – 0.69 USD) against 18RUR=0.5USD charged by the municipal bus #39). They go to the metro station Moskovskaya.
Transportation: So, in the day time you will be delivered to the destination safely and cheaply. Metro closes at 23.30 and opens at 6.30. Entrance to the metro will cost you 18 RUR=0.5USD, the fee is charged for entrance, no one bothers where exactly you are going and with how many transfers. To enter you have to buy a coin like thing, called zheton. Another opportunity is a smart-card, which may contain as many entrances as you buy. It looks like a blue credit card, you just press it to the white circle on the gate and the gate opens for you, and you keep your smart card with you to use for the next entrance. Public transportation is quite well developed. Here you can plan your rout by public transportation to destination address (or object) you specify http://spb.rusavtobus.ru/en/. The city is interconnected with metro (or subway), buses, trolleybuses, trams and shared taxies which are actually private minibuses, which go some exact rout but stop wherever you request along this rout, unless it is not forbidden by traffic rules. The request is supposed in Russian, and the thing will not stop unless someone requests. Metro is good and safe, though crowded and has no instructions in English inside. You badly need Cyrillic alphabet to use metro without assistance of someone local, consider that people normally do not speak English. It may sound funny, but our metro can be really regarded as a tourists' attraction. Contrast to just low and narrow tiled tunnels in London, most of our metro stations are works of architecture, some of them real gems, though crowded of course. I especially advise you to see Pushkinskaya – a wonderful and unusual example of Stalin's Empire Style, built in early 1950-s.
Meals: 30USD would be enough to have a very good diner vine including. Business lunch will be something like 7USD. Now we have a lot of cafes, restaurants – everything, I just wander will they survive the breakdown or not? Though, some things are special. Any prospect of having a breakfast out will be not earlier than 9 a.m., and not many places offer it. Most of the cafes open at 10-11 a.m. So, if you are an early bird do not neglect what they offer in your hotel.
Medicine: I do not think you will find our healthcare very modern, but they will help.
Toilets: For a visit to a public toilet you will be charged something like 0.5USD, and it may happen to be not perfectly clean and comfortable. Slide unnoticed into some cafe (they are required to have some toilet anyway), or try some luxurious hotel, like Europe, Nevsky palace or Redison. Here your foreign look will play for you.
Accommodation: Mini-hotels are good. All of them belong to post-soviet period. Many of them have good locations and occupy the premises of an apartment in a porch of some dwelling house. A porch of the dwelling house may look terrible – do not be scared, it's just state of repair normal for the historical center and it does not imply any danger. In the mini-hotel itself everything will look quite good. Something of acceptable quality must cost 100-150USD/ day.

Attractions: Once I heard a girl from russian province, who walked along Nevsky prospect, asking: "Is there any non-historical building here?" Sorry, all of them historical, between 18th and 20th century, really beautiful. It is difficult to find a view, which would not please with beauty. St. Petersburg was a capital of huge and prosperous Russian Empire until the revolution of 1917. It was built by the best European masters as "a window to Europe" as the city is often called, and Nevsky is the aristocratic part of this capital. You will be impressed.
Hermitage museum: a huge art museum occupying the Winter palace – former winter residence of Russian Tsars – and some nearest buildings. It has a collection of foreign arts, no worse than Louver, a really good one. As a true traveler, I think, you have been in Louver. Here you will see the works of the same greatest artists of the world, just different from those in the European collections. If you are a fan of fine arts, go to the Hermitage (open from 10.30 to 17.00 and to 16.00 on Sundays, Monday is a day off, about 9USD).
Museum of Russian Arts or Russian Museumthey have a collection of russian artworks, which is really good and bright, and deserves attention – a lot of things to see and to learn, not necessary to be a fan of fine arts (open every day from 10.00 to 17.00, on Monday from 10.00 to 16.00, Tuesday is a day off, about 9USD). Many of the paintings are good illustrations of Russian life and history.
Savior on Blood
: a memorial church in imitation of the ancient russian architecture, a lot of stone carving – very beautiful. It was built on the spot where a very good and democratic Russian Tsar Alexander II was murdered by a terrorist.
St. Isaac's cathedral: huge and impressing, magnificent, really beautiful, easily accessible. I advise you to buy also a ticket to colonnade. For your own money you will have to clime about 100 m up to the colonnade, but the view deserves the sacrifice.
Jusupovs' palace.
Probably you know, who is Grigory Rasputin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Rasputin So, you can visit the very palace where Rasputin was murdered. In the above Wikipedia article they have a picture of Moika Palace – this very place. Though, it is not so easily accessible. The palace preserves all things and decorations original and rents out its rooms for very rich banquet parties – too much absorbed in commercial activities a bit forgetting the role of a museum. In summer the excursion should be ordered something like 2 months in advance.
Dostoyevsky. Probably you know his famous novels "Crime and Punishment", "Karamazov brothers", "Idiot", etc., you could have them at school. If you are a fan of the great writer, go to his flat (they have a museum there). Someone local can take you to the real places described it the novels. Dostoyevsky described very truly the real scenery inhabited by pore people. This will be another part of the city – not a trace of imperial magnificence. Here I advise you to see some of the yards. Normally they are locked, but have patience, wait until someone comes to unlock the gate and follow him (or her). They would not object. We call this "well-yard". In such yard you feel like you are inside of a big well formed by the house walls with just a small square of sky over your head.
Peterhoff
– a wonderful summer residence of Russian tsars on the sea shore (a suburb) with a lot of fountains – very beautiful. The main architectural idea was to make an improved and enlarged copy of Versailles, and it was a success. I advise you to go there by boat (mooring place is just by the Winter Palace, 30USD two ways. Entrance to the Peterhoff park will be 12USD). I advise you not to enter the palace but to enjoy the park. The place is wonderful and flooded by tourists.
Catherine's palace – another summer residence of Russian tsars in the suburb called Pushkin. Also very beautiful, and it has a famous amber room http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Room This palace is not easily accessible. Prepare for queuing and fighting – I warned you, not many things will be easy, but this place deserves fighting. Here I advise you to come by taxi. Train is not convenient – it will make you tired, and the subsequent strong emotions from the palace will be killing. (Open from 10 to 17 every day except Tuesdays end the last Monday of each month, about 30USD).
Pavlovsk
– one more royal suburb... No fountains, no amber rooms but also very beautiful. This park is popular rather among locals, than foreign tourists – a good place to relax. Now one local "oligarch" tries to restore traditions of the place organizing free of charge public concerts (classical music mostly) it the park's pavilions.
Peter and Paul Fortress. It has two main places of attraction: Peter and Paul Cathedral where all the members of Russian royal family are buried beginning with Peter I and the prison where political prisoners of the empire were kept – quite comfortable compare to what I heard about soviet prisons.
The Engineering Castle, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Bronze Horseman …

The list seams to be endless.

Boat trips. The city is situated in the delta of a huge river called Neva, so it is crossed with a lot of smaller rivers and channels, Neva including. Walking along Nevsky you will see a lot boat trips advertised. Resist the temptation. Actually they offer a trip along channels accompanied by a lecture in Russian through loudspeakers for good money of 15USD. The lecture is loud – there will be no chance to outcry it. There is a place where you can hire a boat for your own with a guide or without a guide. This will cost something like 120USD per hour. I advise you to include Neva into your trip. This will be impressing.

People. They look sever from the first sight – no one smiling, all of them emerged in their thoughts… At the second sight they are better and even friendly, but they do not speak English.

You haven't been in St. Petersburg unless you have…
• Seen a ballet or opera in Mariinsky theater
Mariinsky is of course the most famous and the biggest, though there is another place more expensive and better in my view – The Hermitage Theater. It is small and exquisite, located in the former home theater of Russian emperors. If you do not like classical music, I advise you our Jazz Club (Shpalernaya 31) or Jazz Philharmonics (on Zagorodniy prospect).
• Walked through Nevsky prospect
• Walked along the Palace Embankment
• Seen the Bronze Horseman
• Been in the Hermitage museum
• Enjoyed the White Night

You have not been in Russia unless you have…
• Had vodka with a cucumber cooked specially like pickles, but without any vinegar – some salt added to control fermentation. I'm not sure about vodka, but cucumbers known as "salted cucumbers (soloniye ogurtsi)" are excellent.
• Tried borsh – a soup made of bit root, potatoes, meat and other optional vegetables. Really good if cooked properly.
• Bought a wooden spoon painted in Hohloma style for your domestic needs.
• Tried kvas – a traditional soft drink.

I am coming into St Petersburg in early July by cruise ship. We have to tour the city with a tour company or try to get a visa on our own which is also expensive. Any tour country you can recommend? Thank you.
Linda
littlekate
Dear Linda,
I think you should apply for visa to your local Russian Embassy. They will suck a little blood of you (I mean money and documents) and then give you visa. This blood sucking is unavoidable. The tourist agency anyway will charge you the Embassy's fee for visa plus commission. Then you should hire a local guide. Most probably I can be your guide. Here I must confess that I'm not a professional. Normally I'm a translator or interpreter, I do guiding rather for pleasure of communication then for money. Though, once I took special courses for guides. As far as I understand, you have no need in a place to stay - you will be OK on your ship.
Best wishes,
Kate
littlekate
P.S. And one more idea. Ask your cuise agency, if they include visas into your cruise package.
cross_x
Great post regarding S-Pb!
Even though I've been there for a couple of times, I'm now considering another trip when I have the time.
rosey1946
QUOTE(littlekate @ Feb 1 2010, 01:23 AM) *

P.S. And one more idea. Ask your cuise agency, if they include visas into your cruise package.



Thanks for your reply. I want to do an excursion with a tour company because of my partner and her physical problems. I have heard from SPB and it seems there is a part of their excursion with a 30 minute walk which I feel is too much for my partner. The more I research, the more I think I'll go with the ships excursions. Thanks for much for your ideas.
Linda
littlekate
QUOTE(rosey1946 @ Feb 3 2010, 10:25 AM) *

QUOTE(littlekate @ Feb 1 2010, 01:23 AM) *

P.S. And one more idea. Ask your cuise agency, if they include visas into your cruise package.



Thanks for your reply. I want to do an excursion with a tour company because of my partner and her physical problems. I have heard from SPB and it seems there is a part of their excursion with a 30 minute walk which I feel is too much for my partner. The more I research, the more I think I'll go with the ships excursions. Thanks for much for your ideas.
Linda


I still think a private guide is better, especially regarding any physical problems. An individual guide will adapt to your personality - interests, wishes and physical problems including. Of course, you can hire an individual guide from some agency, but this will cost a fortune. I think, ship excursions are collective - some 30 people walking together... I do not think it may suite a person with any physical problem.
littlekate
QUOTE(cross_x @ Feb 3 2010, 04:42 AM) *

Great post regarding S-Pb!
Even though I've been there for a couple of times, I'm now considering another trip when I have the time.

O, wellcome! You can rely on my assistance anyway.
littlekate
QUOTE(tcindia123 @ Feb 3 2010, 04:34 AM) *

thanks for such useful information.we constantly remain in need of such informations.we hope for a same response in future too.thanks so much again littlekate.

travel to india |travel in india



frantics.gif frantics.gif frantics.gif frantics.gif frantics.gif frantics.gif frantics.gif frantics.gif

Dear tsindia, I'm to your disposal any time you need any information about Russia or St. Petersburg! By the way, I hope to go to Mumbai this spring as an intepreter. Though, nothing is known exactly by now...
rudyflaviis
[quote name='littlekate' date='Mar 24 2009, 10:30 AM' post='94386']
Russia, St. Petersburg – starter kit

Hi, very nice information about SP.
I'll visit SP from 30th March to 3 April. I've got a lot of doubts related with the weather. I don't know if it's worth visiting Peterhof without fountains working, I don't know if in this time it is advisable to plan walking tours. Could you help me? Also, regardind ballet shows, woul you advise to buy tickets on-line from balletandopera.com? Do you know if I can thrust them? Also I would like to have dinner in a restaurant with russian folk show. Are there any you recommend?
Many thanks if you can answer some of theses questions.

Rudy
littlekate
Dear Rudy,
Of course, there are some weather disadvantages in the season you are choosing. The temperature will be something from -5C to +10C. This year is very snowy, this means very wet and icy spring. So all this huge amount of snow will be melting in the day time and turning into ice after the sun set. This means ice and water in the pavements, fresh and promising spring air, and you need some good boots. Some electrical devise to dry your footwear also will be of use. The parks will not be beautiful – all covered with snow (or very wet), trees naked, marble statues boxed. But the royal palaces will be OK, and no tourists!
April 3 – April 4 night will be the Easter night with overnight church service – a big public event you need to see.
As for the tickets, you can buy them from Mariinsky theater itself http://www.mariinsky.ru/en
As for the restaurant with Russian folk show, I promise to take some investigation and let you know the results.
Katherine
rudyflaviis
Thank you for your advise. It's a pity we have to leave 3 April evening, we are going to loose Easter...
Considering that during our stay the weather will be very cold, what do you advise us to do in 3 days?
We are 6 portuguese couples.

Rudy
littlekate
Rudy,
I found some restaurants for you.
1. "Kalinka-Malinka", Italianskaya street, 5 (Between Russian museum and Nevsky prospect) – very convenient location, just in the midst of tourists attractions. They have Russian folk shows on special orders (about 40 Euro/hour).
2. "Na zdorovije" Bolshoy prospect P.S. 13. The location is not so good – needs some special efforts to get there from the area, where the tourist attractions are. They have regular Russian folk shows on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. On other days they have gypsy shows, which were very popular here before revolution, and now must remind of comfort and prosperity of the old times.
3. "Russkaya Rumochnaya No.1" Konnogvardeysky bulvar 4 – very convenient location next to the St.Isaak's Cathedral. They have regular gypsy shows on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and they reproduce general atmosphere of some Russian restaurant in the end of the 19 century.
All of them have no websites in English, but I telephoned them to confirm the information I got in the reference book and Russian Inernet.

The weather will not be so cold. You just need some warm sintepon (or leather) jackets and woolen sweaters, and good boots – something you normally wear in winter, or when skiing in the mountains. This will make you equipped well enough for walking around.
By the way, I was in Nevsky yesterday – it was perfectly brushed up - means, no water and ice in spring. I advise to walk around in the center. By the way, have you got any guide?
Katherine
littlekate
You are welcome. I'm not a traveller at all, I'm just a local liver and the only way I can help you is telling about "how things are in my native city".
littlekate
A must-see, of course, but not because of the Hermitage. I do not think Louver is any worse, and the Hermitage offers the arts quite similar to what you can find in Louver and other European museums. To art lovers I'd rather advise Russian museum – a museum of Russian arts. In the exposition of 19th and 20th centuries you will find excellent, unique art you would not find anywhere else (Moscow excluding).
littlekate
More good news: yesterday I noticed instructions in English on Sennaya Ploshad - an important transfer ststion in the center, which also can be useful to a foreign tourist. They also install instructions in the newly launched stations which are usually far away from the touritic routs.
greekcypriot
Hi Kate,
Good news indeed.... flowers.png by the time I visit you, I am sure everything will be in English, and probably I won't need to let you know so that you can pick me up from the airport!
I will find the way by myself since there will be English signs, and surprise you! blow.gif hug.gif
littlekate
flowers.png - That's me welcoming you in LED airport under the English sign!
jeroenandlinda
Great post LittleKate

We just arrived in St Petersburg for a couple of days before starting the trans Siberian in Moscow, tomorrow we'll start exploring the city. Your post is most helpful on giving us an idea about the city. Hope to post some blog posts shortly (if Internet in Russia permits).

Cheers

Jeroen
http://www.travelpod.com/members/jeroenandlinda
greekcypriot
I found snacks in coffee shops in St. Petersburg quite expensive for the average local.
6111978
QUOTE(greekcypriot @ Oct 20 2011, 01:01 PM) *

I found snacks in coffee shops in St. Petersburg quite expensive for the average local.


Did you find them more expensive, then in European big cities?
I know quite a lot of places with good coffee for 5 dollars... It is OK, if you don't go there evety day )
greekcypriot
Probably it was because I expected a Russian city much cheaper since most people receive very low salaries and cannot afford to go to these places very often. It was not that expensive for me, but I always consider and think of the locals how they cope.
6111978
QUOTE(greekcypriot @ Oct 21 2011, 12:18 PM) *

Probably it was because I expected a Russian city much cheaper since most people receive very low salaries and cannot afford to go to these places very often. It was not that expensive for me, but I always consider and think of the locals how they cope.


OK smile.gif But the locals in SPb and Moscow have rather good salaries )
The clubs, cafees and restaurants are overcrowded every weekend and we have traffic jams at nights because Moscow and Saint-Petersburg never sleep ))
greekcypriot
It is probably because you belong to the upper class!
6111978
QUOTE(greekcypriot @ Oct 24 2011, 04:30 AM) *

It is probably because you belong to the upper class!


Noooo!!! I am just middle )
greekcypriot
I have one question. Why is it when I want to get to your profile I get nothing? (6111978) Is this a phone number?
Just a question!
6111978
QUOTE(6111978 @ Oct 24 2011, 07:25 AM) *

QUOTE(greekcypriot @ Oct 24 2011, 04:30 AM) *

It is probably because you belong to the upper class!


Noooo!!! I am just middle )


No, it's not a phone number. It's strange... I thought, I wrote a name there... And what info do you want to find?
greekcypriot
I just wanted to check your profile.
The purpose and aim of TravelPod is to have members who write and post photos. Why don't you become a real member and start writing about your beautiful country?
If you check my profile you will find the blog about St. Petersburg. I have some beautiful entries and photos there.

So, I look forward to seeing your entries on your blog.
Why don't you start blogging and write about St. Petersburg. You know, it is no need to be travelling to write about a destination you know well.
6111978
QUOTE(greekcypriot @ Oct 25 2011, 06:37 AM) *

I just wanted to check your profile.
The purpose and aim of TravelPod is to have members who write and post photos. Why don't you become a real member and start writing about your beautiful country?
If you check my profile you will find the blog about St. Petersburg. I have some beautiful entries and photos there.

So, I look forward to seeing your entries on your blog.
Why don't you start blogging and write about St. Petersburg. You know, it is no need to be travelling to write about a destination you know well.


Yes, I will!!!
Just need a little more free time )

P.S. And I can change this stupid figures to my name... it's a pitty
greekcypriot
Yes, it is pitty and this was the reason I let you know.
I honestly can't wait to start reading your blogs.
rainbowhostel
New hostel is open now in St.Petersburg on Dostoevsky Str . Visit us on our website www.rainbowhostel.ru. Or contact through info@rainbowhostel.ru
flat5263
also, spb is a lot more compact than moscow. many concerts and activities are near the circus!
flat5263
St Petersburg is a great city. the only place in the world i know of with black currant ice cream!! and excellent coffee!!
littlekate
Is black currant ice-cream really such a unique thing? I'd never imagine that. Unfortunatly, they started to "forge" black currant recently, what they never did before. Coffee is really much better than in Mumbai. Contrast to some other cities in the world strong and fragrant coffee is a trivial thing here, not something you need to seek purposefully.
cwbedell
wooden spoon painted in Hohloma style

Where are these sold? Are there artisan markets?
littlekate
Markets are there but they are very monololystic. Bargening is useless.
greekcypriot
Cate hi, I came accidentally on this page in the forums and I only want to say that the coffee I drank in your house was amazing. I miss you where are you right now? Back in India?
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