A Day in St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg is a spectacular city filled with architectural influences from Europe and Russia. I arrived in St. Petersburg aboard the Peters Line cruise. Sadly, my cruise couldn’t dock for 3 hours due to the weather conditions. My 8 hour tour was now cut down to 5 hours. Nonetheless, I was ready to open my heart to the 2nd largest city in Russia.
My first stop was the Hermitage Museum. My tour guide, Natalia had made reservations for the museum at 11am. It was already 11:30 but thankfully, we were able to be accommodated. My driver, Constantine speed through the busy streets of St. Petersburg and got us to the museum within minutes.
General Staff Building:
Natalia took me to the General Staff Building. There was a beautiful Christmas Tree right in front. In Russia, however, they do not celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25th. Russian Orthodox celebrate Christmas on January 7th and the tree that is decorate is known as the “New Year Tree”. There is no special decorations for Russian Orthodox Christmas.
The weather was cold so Natalia and I headed across the street for the Hermitage museum. We entered the back way and dropped off our jackets at the coat valet. Coat Valet is free. The Hermitage museum was massive. Ceilings were high, hallways were long. Each room was created by different leaders throughout St. Petersburg’s history. There are also different exhibit each month. 2017 marked the 100th year anniversary of the Russian Revolution so there were several halls covered in red, photography, and banners from the Revolution. We spent about 1.5 hours in the museum but it was nearly not enough. The Hermitage museum is perhaps the most impressive art gallery I’ve ever been to.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood:
After the Hermitage, we headed to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. I was unable to visit the inside but would love to see it next time. Natalia highly recommended it.
Kupetz Eliseeves Food Hall:
I was overwhelmed by all the art master piece that Natalia took me to see a few of the “Holiday” decor. Our first stop was the Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall for a small bite. Kupetz Eliseeves Food Hall sell different Russian trinkets, food, and drinks ranging from matryoshka doll to caviar to cheese. The atmosphere feels like the toy store in the Home Alone movie, but a lot smaller in size. In the center of the Food Hall are a few tables where you can sit down to eat your pasteries and sip on hot beverages. Natalia and I each ordered a crossaint and a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is made of pure hot chocolate without any milk! After the quick bite, I was energized and ready to see more.
St. Issac’s Cathedral:
Our next stop was the St. Issac’s Cathedral. A lot easier to take in than the Hermitage. The “painting” was just as impressive. Unlike most art that I have seen in Russia, St. Issac’s Cathedral use tiles to formulate their designs. The reason behind that is that Russia’s weather is not ideal for paintings.
This stay was not enough. I looked at the clock and only had 1 hour left hour to spare. Constintine slowly made our way back to the ship port. We stopped by a matryoshka doll shop so I could pick up some hand crafted souvenirs. Overall, it was a splendid day and I cannot wait to return to St. Petersburg.
→Next Stop: A Day in Helsinki, Finland