Russia has always intrigued me. The country that everyone fears, the land of ballet and women whose beauty has become legendary all over the world.When planning my cruise holiday with my best friends seeing St. Petersburg on the itinerary was super exciting. Finally a chance to visit this distant location that I had only heard of.Our cruise began in Stockholm, Sweden and we all agreed the place we were most excited about was St. Petersburg.
Read on to see the top 8 things I loved about St. Petersburg.
1.Spilled blood Cathedral
I love cathedrals and had seen several pictures of this absolutely gorgeous cathedral several times. It stands majestically at the end of the Griboedev canal and you can see its onion shaped domes from all over the city. It was built at the place where Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded. In fact, during the Soviet Rule. they felt the building was out of place and was a sore thumb with its baroque architecture. Luckily they did not destroy this beautiful landmark. You absolutely cannot miss visiting the cathedral if you are ever in St. Petersburg.
Nevsky prospect is the main street of St. Petersburg. This street was planned by Peter the great. All the shopping and nightlife, is either on or just off Nevsky prospect. The feverish activity of this street was even described by Nikolai Gogol in his story titled “Nevsky Propsect”.
This is definitely the Versailles of Russia. Believed to be the summer palace of Peter the Great, it has extensive gardens and is world-renowned for its musical fountains. At exactly 11 am, all the tourists gather around the main fountains as they put it on. Don’t stand too close, unless like us you want to end up drenched by the fountains. Also be prepared for quite a walk as it has large gardens.
4. The Hermitage
The Hermitage is one of the oldest and largest museums of the world. It was founded by Catherine the Great one of the most famous Empresses of Russia. She actually killed her husband and usurped the throne. She was called Catherine the Great as she brought art and culture to Russia, and this museum is a arts and culture museum. It has six buildings including the winter palace.
5. Neva River
The River Neva is one of the most important waterways of St. Petersburg. Incidentally it is also one of the shortest rivers in the world. It is only 74 kms. It has a lot of canals and due to this reason St. Petersburg is sometimes called the Venice of North Europe. It is beautiful and has wonderful drawbridges all over which still function. Take a walk along the Neva or a cruise and soak in St. Petersburg in all its glory.
6. Gloggy Tea
The day we were walking on Nevsky prospect, it started raining all of a sudden and we took cover at a coffee shop near Kazan Cathedral. I decided to order the Gloggy Tea which is tea made of berries and spices. It was absolutely delicious, so much so my friends couldn’t resist but have plenty of sips. An absolutely delicious drink!
If you like caviar, Russia is the place to have it. Everything from beluga to the regular kind. By the way caviar is high in protein and also considered to be an aphrodisiac. They usually eat it on small pieces of buttered toast. I liked it, but it does have an acquired taste.
Russia and vodka are almost synonymous. As it is the birth country of this wildly popular drink, we couldn’t help but have a shot while cruising down the Neva river. It even smells different in Russia, unlike the commercial kind that has that weird distilled smell.
So there you go. If you ever pack your bags and decide to head to St. Petersburg, you cannot miss doing these things. As Valentina Matviyenko said “St. Petersburg is gem of world culture, and Russia’s most European city.” Cannot help but nod in agreement.