St. Petersburg the Great!
Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
13Trip End Dec 18, 2011
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One thing we immediately noticed was how expensive everything was, so that evening, in an effort to stick to our budget, we hunted for a cheap place for dinner. We found this great little canteen serving cheap, simple, tasty russian food in a basement on Nevsky Prospect. It was packed with locals and had friendly staff (we were soon to learn that this was somewhat of a rarity in big Russian cities!).
On our second day Dean got up early for a run along the banks of the Neva, while I, having battled ravenous mosquitoes for much of the night, caught up on some sleep. We then headed off to St Isaac's Cathedral which provided a great view over the city (as well as being a lovely cathedral), and the nearby 'Blue' bridge, which claims to be the widest bridge in the world at 97.3 metres. In the afternoon we returned to the fortress (and cathedral) of St. Peter and Paul. The cathedral is the resting place of many members of the Romanov family including the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.
My mosquito net, which I hadn't intended to use until we reached south-east Asia, gave me the long peaceful night of sleep required for visiting one of the world's largest art collections at the Hermitage Museum
On our final day we visited Peterhof Palace, which is located on the Gulf of Finland about 30km west of St. Petersburg. The palace was designed by Peter the Great in the early 1700s as a sort of country retreat. The grounds are enormous, covering about 1500 acres in total, with about 300 acres open to the public. The grounds are known for the large number of themed fountains, including the Great Cascade, Whale and Checkerboard fountains.