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Showing posts with the label St Petersburg

Peter and Paul Fortress, canals, St Isaac Cathedral

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Getting up and walking is becoming harder every day! Tomorrow's four-hour train ride to Moscow is starting to feel very attractive right now!

Today we took the busy metro down to Nevsky and then up to Gorkovskaya to visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, a military encampment from which the city of Saint Petersburg eventually grew. It occupies its own island and houses several structures inside its walls.
(Sidenote: every time I researched something on Google about the fortress and started typing "peter paul..." it would auto-suggest Peter, Paul and Mary instead, and now I have Leaving On A Jet Plane stuck in my head, and perhaps now so do you.)
The main attraction on this fortress is the cathedral, which itself isn't very big but features a very tall golden spire that can be seen from miles around. We walked towards it as soon as we entered the fortress from one of the bridges, after buying a ₽600 (€9.50) ticket that allegedly gives you access to all the different sites…

The Hermitage: Round 2, the Church on the Spilled Blood

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Today the first order of business was our second and final visit to the Hermitage, thanks to our two-day tickets. I heartily recommend them!

Yesterday's visit was very thorough and exhausting, so today I wanted to focus just on a few exhibits that I'd missed. The first among them was the Graeco-Roman sculpture wing on the first floor, near where we went on the Diamond Room tour yesterday. There are actually classical marble sculptures all throughout the museums, but most of them are Neoclassical creations from the 19th century; the real Greek and Roman statues have their own exhibit, and it's definitely worth a closer look.

For one thing, there's barely anybody down there, as the thousands of visitors all gather around the staircases and all over the second floor. By contrast, we had the sculpture wing almost to ourselves. They have a giant statue of Jupiter, several busts of Augustus, and a beautiful series of statues depicting some of the muses like Calliope, Thalia …

The Hermitage Museum

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This crisp, sunny morning it was time to go straight to the main course of the trip, the crown jewel of St Petersburg: the Hermitage museum!

Turns out Vasilievsky island isn't as well connected as I'd hoped, despite being geographically very close to the historic centre, so we ended taking a taxi. The driver was typically circumspect until I paid the fare and said "Thank you" in Russian, at which point he burst out laughing. Always happy to bring hilarity to people, I guess!
The Hermitage, one of the world's largest museums, occupies what used to be the tsars' Winter Palace, built on the banks of the Neva river in the 18th century. I'd bought tickets online well beforehand, so I was able to go to the side entrance instead of the main one, which always has long queues. We only had to wait in line for a few minutes, which is just as well because the wind can get pretty cold here!
The Hermitage's vast collection, which focuses on Western European and Rus…

Peterhof

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Another year, another adventure! This time, we're off to Russia! First St Petersburg, then Moscow. Time to put my six months of Russian lessons to the test!

I flew in last night with Finnair, via Helsinki. Vantaa airport has hardwood floors -be still my beating heart- but they also sell reindeer hides, like, hope you didn't like Rudolph 'cause these guys are gonna nail him to the freakin' wall. Takes all kinds I guess! The stop made the trip a bit longer but it was very affordable!
So today I left my hotel in Vasilievsky island and walked across the river to the Admiralty, where I took a boat to Peterhof!
All right, so, you're not supposed to do a day trip on your first day of holidays... But, I was filling in my itinerary during my flight, and I realised that Peterhof closes on Mondays, and on the weekend is when I have my Hermitage tickets, so I kind of had to go today! 
Peterhof is about 30 km outside of Peterburg and although there are train and bus connections to …