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Best of the rest….St Petersburg

In my hostel in St Petersburg, I met two very lovely chatty girls from Germany, Judith and Lara

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On my last day I took a walk to St Isaac’s Cathedral, here is the view from the colonnade:

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A few more pics from being out and about…

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The alleyway to a club that my walk guide took me to, to see her friend play Indian music. It was nice to have a couple of beers!

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Peterhof Palace and getting stranded due to bad weather (OK, not quite stranded but it felt like it for a bit!)

Well, this is the one place that was on my must do list, as the guidebook made it look stunning, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

After arriving on the fast hydrofoil boat that looked like a fish…

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I couldn’t help but be taken aback by the opulence of this place.

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There was gold everywhere! And when the sun came out this place truly shone, with the rays bouncing off the gold statues and weaving in and out of the sprays of water, the palace gardens felt magical.

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I visited the gardens and took several photos, but unfortunately you were not allowed to take photos in the actual palace. This was a shame because when I first walked up the main staircase and into the main room, I literally gasped it was so beautiful. The walls were adorned in gold, gold and more gold! What made it so special were the chandeliers and small mirrors which just made the place glow.

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They even have surfing ducks!

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It’s amazing where pointing and hand gestures can get you!

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A cheeky red squirrel! Wouldn’t quite turn around for me so this is the best I got 🙂

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So after I’d spent hours wandering the beautiful gardens and palace, although it had been a little cold I didn’t think the weather had been too bad, however, as I headed towards the pier at 6pm to get my boat back, the wind almost knocked me sideways! I made a beeline for the ticket office to show them my return ticket, only to be told ‘no more boats, weather very bad’. Oh, ok, so ‘how do I get back to St Petersburg then?’ (It’s about 20 miles away). ‘Bus’. Oh, ok, ‘so how do I get the bus?’ To this the lady points towards the palace. With this I hesitantly headed back towards the palace, quietly thinking, oh shit, how am I gonna do this then?!

I managed to get directions to the bus station and found the bus station, only to be greeted by lots of buses with nothing but Russian written on them (obviously!). So I say St Petersburg to the bus driver who promptly nodded and I hopped on. After a forty minute bus ride, the end of the line came, but unfortunately it did not come with any familiar sight at all! Saying the name of the main street in St Petersburg to the bus driver and conductress, neither of whom spoke any English, the driver kindly showed me his phone with another number on it, presumably the number of another bus I needed to get. Walking around a bus station with no such bus of that number, or even a bus stop with it on, well the feeling is hard to describe….I knew I’d do it eventually, but it suddenly makes you very, very aware, and it seems all your senses take a power boost to get you to where you want to be! Managed to find a metro, something I wasn’t going to bother with as I was intent on walking everywhere as I thought it would be easier, but when needs must….and it actually turned out to be the easiest bit of it anyway….(although this isn’t the case in Moscow, more on that later).

Photos from around St Petersburg

Well on my first day of waking up in Russia, thought I’d better get out and explore!

They really did go to town with the architecture here, some of it really is stunning, and such intricate detail!

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The Hermitage

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My first Russian cat sighting!

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Visited the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood – very dramatic title for an equally dramatic Church!

It really is beautiful to look at, here’s a couple of pics, including a mandatory selfie!

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Inside the church there are lots of beautiful, what I thought at first were paintings, but on closer inspection each and every one of them
was made from tiny little mosaic pieces – all painstakingly restored following years of being neglected while the church was used as a warehouse. All 7,000 square metres of them!

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Here even the children’s playgrounds are works of art! This whole playground is made of mosaics! Very pretty.

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Well, I did it, I got on that plane!

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Well the day finally came, I didn’t bottle it at the airport, and I landed safely in Russia!

I was met by my driver that had been arranged through my hostel, a Buddhist monk named Andrei, who very kindly told me in his broken but good English, about all the buildings and monuments we were passing. I had to laugh as he tried to parallel park his car, he was in and out so much even the guy in the parked car behind had to get out and knock on his window to tell him he was stressing him out the way he was trying to park!

But, I ended up in the right place, and that I was thankful for 🙂

After checking in to my cosy little room overlooking Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg, in my eagerness for food I thought I’d take a stroll to a local supermarket. On the way back I saw a stall with an old Russian lady selling cherries. Mmm I thought, fancy a few of those. Momentarily forgetting the currency exchange rate, I handed over what I thought was £3, and pointed at the cherries and said ‘pazhalsta’ (please, phonetically, in Russian).

She scooped with two hands a large amount of cherries into the bag, then another two-handed scoop, and then another huge scooping onto what already looked like hundreds in my bag! I chuckled as I worked out I’d given her £6, and walked away cracking up with an entirely full carrier bag of cherries!

Well, it certainly lightened any tension I was feeling, and walked down the street chuckling away at my ‘cherry faux pas’!

Needless to say, as much as I love cherries, I wont be eating all of them! And anyway it has proved a nice way to talk to people by offering them a cherry or two!

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