SPB

Saint Petersburg Travel Blog

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Swan Lake

I arrived in St Petersburg on a Saturday afternoon, extremely excited and was soon whisked away in a taxi who made a formula one driver seem slow. It was exhilarating and I was immediately hit with the realisation that the city was not the dull drab grey concrete sprawl I had expected from this nation.

 

Unfortunately, being Australian, I suffered the same sort of anti Russian propaganda growing up that the Americans spew out. I had always imagined Russia to be impoverished, grey, cold, miserable and filthy. I realise this was a very ignorant view but didn’t expect it to be quite so opposite. St Petersburg is an extremely opulent and beautiful city.

Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin
It would easily rival any of the best cities on offer elsewhere in Europe. And I couldn’t help smiling that it certainly makes any of the American cities look second rate. The buildings, the churches and the palaces that are in plentiful supply throughout the city belay the sort of wealth that the world is not likely to ever see again in a country.

 

The hotel I stayed at was right on the main street of town and a good location. I was shocked to see the entire street lined with Japanese restaurants and Starbucks type coffee houses. Seems Japanese is the ‘in thing’ in former Soviet nations. Which is fine by me. It’s healthy, fresh, fun and way better than being influenced by American restaurant chains!

 

I hit the streets almost immediately and was struck with just how wide the streets were and how well arranged the city was.

Mikhailovsky Palace
The width of streets really lends a feeling of grandeur.

 

Over the next few days I pretty much sauntered through the entire city and even made a trip out on the ferry to Peterhof and it’s cascading waterfalls. It reminded me a lot of Austria and was actually a more impressive version of Shönbrunn Schloß which is, of course, my old neighbourhood in Vienna, and one of my favourite palaces in Europe.

 

My first night in SPB I was recommended the Gloss Café which was exquisite and perfectly stylish.

Mikhailovsky Palace
Shockingly the place was more or less empty but I’d recommend it to anyone chasing the most classy way to spend an evening.

 

I did struggle at first with their method of service because it took me a while to realise their logic. I just thought they were being extremely unhelpful. I hypothesised that it goes back to the communist days where people didnt have choice and were simply given what they were given and did what they were told to do. People learnt to mind their own business and not ask questions. At first I couldnt understand why none of the waiters, shop assistants or anyone in fact ever offered any help. And you could literally sit at the dining table for hours before anyone would come to your table. It all comes down to them respecting your privacy and only coming to assist when you ask them to. Even then, when they do, dont expect a smile or pleasantries - it’s all strictly business and you are not expected to ask many questions.

 

All in all, I really enjoyed SPB and would love to return once my Russian is better and really try to engage in some conversations with the locals. 

elenastep5 says:
I mean a lot of pictures of churches from SPB...
Posted on: Feb 26, 2013
elenastep5 says:
Замечательно написано и я рада что Вам понравился Санкт Петербург!!! В моем блоге о SPB Вы можете найти много фотографий фром SPB.
Sorry, in Russian, but you said you need to practise. :))
Posted on: Feb 26, 2013
elenastep5 says:
"...I suffered the same sort of anti Russian propaganda growing up that the Americans spew out. I had always imagined Russia to be impoverished, grey, cold, miserable and filthy..." I am glad you change your mind. :) SPB is absolutely astonishing city!!!
Posted on: Feb 26, 2013
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Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin
Mikhailovsky Palace
Mikhailovsky Palace
Mikhailovsky Palace
Mikhailovsky Palace
my favourite painting of all time …
my favourite painting of all time…
Church of the Savior of Spilled Bl…
Church of the Savior of Spilled B…
Church of the Savior of Spilled Bl…
Church of the Savior of Spilled B…
inside the church
inside the church
wonderful colours
wonderful colours
more colours
more colours
Holy reflections
Holy reflections
Alexanders column
Alexander's column
The Hermitage
The Hermitage
Palace Square
Palace Square
little girl a bit scared of the bi…
little girl a bit scared of the b…
cops on the beat in their new crui…
cops on the beat in their new cru…
my hotel after a big night
my hotel after a big night
because beer should always be serv…
because beer should always be ser…
looking down Griboyedov Canal at t…
looking down Griboyedov Canal at …
Kazan Cathedral
Kazan Cathedral