2 days in St. Petersburg
Trip Start Jul 03, 2012
23Trip End Aug 28, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We arrived at St. Petersburg at 5:20am which is half an hour earlier than scheduled. To make things worse, we have lost an hour from crossing one time zone; Not surprised at all, we were all exhausted when we got off the coach. Vincent (The Canadian we met on the coach) departed to look for a phone to call his friend to pick him up. We set our bearing then head towards the Red House Hostel.
It was a very cold morning (for summer standard) but at least it wasn't raining. It took us roughly half an hour to reach our hostel. Everything was not easy when it comes to Cyrillic. We waited outside the hostel for almost 20 minutes before a guy came out apologetically saying he was aslept. Well, that's understandable, it's only 6-ish in the morning...... Since someone was sleeping on the only sofa in the common room, we rested in the kitchen where we had our breakfast and power-naps
There was an extravagant-looking snack shop along Nevskiy pr. The interior was so classic and despite of having just arrived, felt so Russian. They sold oysters (in an aquarium), sweets, chocolates and various other snacks. The Church of Resurrection (Church of Spilled Blood) is perhaps the most magnificent orthodox church in St. Petersburg. You need to pay to enter though and we thought we should reserve that for the St. Basil's in Moscow.
We strolled along the Kutuzovskaya naberezhnaya and met a newly wedded Russian couple. They offered us some cups of sparkling wine to celebrate and dramatically we ended up with a whole bottle (unopened). We were pleasantly shocked. It was such a warm welcome by the Russians on the day of arrival :D
At about noon, we arrived at the Petropavlovskaya Krepost'. We strolled around the interior and purchased student tickets for several of the architecture. (It seemed that there were ceremonies on that day to commemorate something, unfortunately everything was in Russian and we had no idea what exactly was going on
We had dinner on the other side of the city as that's apparently where most restaurants were located. Those were some small portions but at a reasonable price, then we went to a supermarket before heading back to our hostel. It seems that Russian fast food stores all operated in this way. You walk in, grab a plate, point to whatever food you want and they will be charged separately. They tend to specify the weight of food (in grams/ml, sometimes adjust according with a balance) you should expect for that price. So we managed to survive the trip without starving to death. It also helped a lot to have learnt reading the Cryillic alphabet, not even need to know the meaning, just the pronunciation is often sufficient.
Marco + Jacky
We left for the Summer Palace in the morning at about half 9, and got in at about half 11 (You need to queue!
The visit ended itself at about half 1 in the afternoon and we then had lunch in a McDonald's (Mediocre, yes, but we were starving). We went to the central post office to send off our postcards, which took us ages to do since everything was in Russian (not surprising). We waited until someone collecting a "waiting-voucher" before we could ask her to get us one. Later on, she found that we should actually go to the central part of the lobby which was for selling stamps... With a little bit of struggling, we got our stamps! Each postcard costs 23.1 Rubles to send.
After that, we went for dinner at another local fast food restaurant. We hurried back to hostel in rain. We set off for the train to Moscow at 745pm. We reached the station easily, but when we looked at the departure table, it had at least 40 services listed on the board and the platforms were not given clearly but instead with a list/sequence of numbers. Later I found that there's a proper concourse further into the station
We headed to the train quickly and waited for the train to arrive. Upon its arrival, the national anthem was played. The quality of the train was very good for the 3rd class, but this is a service between the two biggest and richest cities in Russia afterall. It would be wonderful if the trains for the rest of the journey have this standard :) The main light was dimmed at about 1130pm so that we could finally sleep...