We spent a week in Saint Petersburg. Our first impression was of a monotonous imitation of a French or Italian city. How wrong we were! Each day our excitement grew, there are countless of outstanding palaces, we were able to really soak up its atmosphere and we even meet some fun locals. Our first hotel was just a couple of meters away from Admiralty, Petersburg’s central landmark, which can be seen from its three main avenues. Then we stayed in a historical house, Pushkin’s, in front of the mighty Neva River. We walked to Nevsky Prospekt to admire its lavish neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture and Hermitage which is just around the corner.
Tourist masses are everywhere and many young people speak English, so as you can imagine it shares some of the perils of a typical tourist destination. For us the main attractions were not enough. We crossed the Blagoveshchenskiy Bridge to get to the other island, far less touristic, went further to Smolny Cathedral and searched for the city’s famous brutalist building (Russian State Scientific Center for Robotics and Technical Cybernetics). We witnessed many weddings and partied in bizarre Lomonosova Street (Russians do love to dance and drink!). We took a boat to impressive Peterhof to feel like tourists and a train to Pushkin to feel like locals. Yes, it is Russia’s most European city, and the Hermitage can be swamped with tourists, but it’s absolutely gorgeous.