Walking down the street I lived in - getting to an building with a double arch.
Saint Petersburg is only 2 hours by plane from Copenhagen. This should in principal make it an easy weekend travel destination. But this is Russia which means nothing is gonna be easy. To get into Russia you need an invitation before you can even apply for a visa. Unfortunately I have no Russian friends who could just send me an invite so I have to pay my accommodation to send me an invitation to come to Russia - and stay with them at inflated prices.
After getting the invitation it is off to the Russian consulate in Copenhagen to apply for a visa.
I made the genius decision to go on the only day in all of May when it rained. And this is the Russian consulate - they will not let people in more than a few persons at the time so I had to stay outside for 2 hours in the rain - waiting. Apparently it was a short wait this day a few weeks earlier the consulate had been overflowing in people applying for visas to get to the Champions League final in Moscow. And people did not get into the consulate to apply for a visa and had to come back the next day. Fortunately I got in pretty soaked but in plenty of time before they closed for the day. I got to hand in my passport and hand over 100 USD aouch - then I got a nice slip which meant I could get in the next week without having to wait in line for hours.
Behind the double arch - Palace Square.
Next week I got there - just to be disappointed. The lines which I was supposed to bypass with a big smile on my face was so short - people only seemed to have to wait for maybe ½ hour or so.
And it was sunshine. I felt so sorry for myself for the waiting in the rain the week before.
The tower of the Admirality.
The day finally arrived - I was ready to go to the airport and fly to Saint Petersburg. I got of to the airport and only 2 hours later I was there - or I was in the airport. Only having carry on luggage I thought I could rush right through the airport. But I had forgotten all about the emigration - well compared to the US emigration they were both quick and fairly polite so it was ok. Next stop currency exchange - unfortunately a plane full of old German tourist must have landed just before my plane - because when I got to the only currency exchange which were open in the entire airport there was a long line of Germans. I got some cash so I could get out and get my bus to the nearest metro station.
I went into the bus along with a few Russians and the bus took of - going to the metro for sure.
I road the bus to the end of the line - and got out. But there was no metro around. At least I was not the only one who had made this stupid mistake of riding the bus the wrong way - 4 Russian had made the same mistake. So I decided to follow an elderly Russian man to another bus going to the metro - and sure enough this one actually went to the metro. I got on and drove to the centre - where I checked in and then it was time to explore the city. When I had booked it had said it was a central location on the webpage - now it was time to check it out to see if the webpage was true or not.
Peters tiny Summer Palace - the oldest stone building in Saint Peteersburg.
I went down the stairs and out on the street starting to walk down the block. I got to a nice big double arch in a building - ok this looks kind of cool - let's see what is behind it. And there behind the double arch building is a large column and a big palace covered in scaffolding because of repairs. It is the Winter Palace the home of the Zar in old time Russia - and the square is the palace square the central spot for the Russian October revolution.
Ok the webpage did not lie it was a pretty central location.
Church of the savior of spilled blood.
I spend the rest of the day walking a bit around the central part of the city. I get down to a few of the main places like the Admiralty right next to the Winter Palace. The Admiralty is actually the central building in all of Saint Petersburg - and not the Winter Palace. It is due to the history of the City where Peter wanted a naval city hence the Admiralty is the centre of the city.
Walking from the Palace Square I went down the Millionaire street - there is a reason for the name I guess.
You could not get a house in this street unless you had a giant fortune back in the days. One great mansion lies next to an even bigger mansion or palace in the street. I go through it and get down to the Summer Gardens which is home to the very first stone building in Saint Petersburg. The tiny Summer Palace - the second home of Peter the Great in the city. Well ok when I say tiny it is still many times bigger than my apartment at home. But compare with the huge Winter Palace this looks like a dog shed.
The Hermitage from the other side of the Neva.
I like the fact that Peter did not name the city after himself - he was way to modest to do something like that.
Instead he named it after saint Peter - who just happened to be his patron saint and the one Peter were also named after. See this is what I call modesty.
Church at the SS fortress.
I walk a bit here and there through some of the streets of the central part of town and then return back and think about what to do tonight. In the summer when the Neva River is not frozen all the bridges across the river goes up at night. It should be really spectacular so I think about going down to the river tonight. But the bridges will not go up until around 1.40 and later so I decide to leave it till tomorrow and relax a bit tonight.
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In Saint Petersburg you will usually find yourself staying in either an expensive or extremely expensive place. The idea of budget accommodation has n… read entire review