St Petersburg

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Russian overnight train between Moscow and St Petersburg. What I definitely didn’t expect was a luxurious private cabin! Score!
Arriving in St Petersburg after the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had on a train, boat or plane.

The walk to our hostel gave us an incredible view of St Petersburg. I was surprised at how different the newer port city was from Moscow. It’s a beautiful city, and reminded me of other Eastern European destinations like Prague.

As I looked around me and observed the distinct lack of tourists, I found myself feeling grateful for the complicated visa restrictions that see ordinary holidaymakers putting Russia in the too hard basket.

Just casually passed this on our stroll to the hostel…
We didn’t think we’d manage to squeeze St Petersburg into our fleeting Russia trip. The length of our trip was controlled by Paul’s boss, who wasn’t very flexible on Christmas leave. But we couldn’t bear to go to Russia without visiting The Hermitage, the largest art gallery in the world, so we decided the visit was worth it even for a single day.
The Hermitage was closed.
This time, it was entirely our own fault… it’s closed every Monday of the year and we didn’t check!
Luckily, the State Russian Museum was open. It was so enormous, and so fascinating, that I can barely comprehend the size of The Hermitage!
And it’s right next to the Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood.
My favourite story about the Church on Spilled Blood is that during the Soviet era, Stalin turned it into… a potato warehouse!

By the time we left the museum, it was already dark. This is a running theme for us!

We found a little Russian restaurant to enjoy our last night in this fascinating country, and stayed there for hours before slipping back to our hostel for an early night before an early rise.