As most people know, Finland shares a border with Russia, so traveling there is quite easy, as long as you have a valid visa. We have trains, buses, planes and boats that go to Russia. I picked a bus this time. It was quite cheap, only 38 euros back and forth.
I left 8AM and got to St.Peterspurg around 3PM.
So, I still pretty much had the whole day to do stuff. I was trying to be adventurous and take the subway instead of a cab. Well my internet didn't work and I did get lost. Asked 3 people for directions but no one seemed to understand English. I went to the subway and only dared to go for 2 stops because I wasn't sure if it was the right metro. Probably not. I ended up walking to the hotel. The walk was around 30 minutes. It was such a hot day and I was dying carrying all my stuff. Our hotel was on Rubenshtenya street which was in the heart of the city. Absolutely gorgeous location.
I took a shower and dropped my stuff at the hotel, then went out with my Russian friend Evgenia.
She walked me through the city and showed me all these gorgeous buildings and parks. She showed me this tiny cozy coffee shop, subway station that looks like a spaceship, the only mosque in the whole city and much more. We had dinner at a rooftop terrace restaurant and climbed on the top of the St. Isaac's cathedral, the view was totally worth it. We also walked in the harbor and tried to go to this small island in the middle of the city. Unfortunately it was 11PM and the island was already closed. Can you believe it, all this in the first night. Gave me a good picture of the city!
I really can't remember everything I did in order but I don't think it really matters.
First full day, we left early cause we had to sort out some problem with our rooms. They accidentally gave us 2 rooms even though we only had one booking. Everything sorted out easily and we picked the nicer room for us. Maree had the day planned for us. We went to the Hermitage museum. We had 2 tours booked, the gold room and the diamond room. The whole museum was so huge that there's no way anyone can see everything there in one day. You need a map and a plan. And good shoes and food and water. After our 2 rooms, we were so beat we couldn't even think about seeing more of the museum. It really was like a maze and everything was organized in a really confusing way to be honest. We also visited an art museum called Erarta and the faberge museum. Fabrege was probably my favourite.
Our hotel was on Rubensteina, which is a big street in the middle of the city. It's full of great restaurants and it was super easy to walk everywhere from there. The main street was 5 minute walk away. So we did have some great food whilst there.
This really good place named Bekitzel right there on Rubensteina street with Israeli food, a restaurant called Biblioteka right on the main street, across the street from Zara and one of the best indian food I've ever had in a place called Tandoori, it's located close to the Hermitage.
One of the things I was the most excited to do in St. Peterspurg was to go to see a ballet show. We got tickets to the sleeping beauty show at the Michailovsky theater. I've never been to ballet before and it was very exciting. I can't say I understand much about ballet and I was more into the costumes and the set pieces than the dancing itself, but it was a great experience.
One day we decided to take a ferry to peterhof. The ferry ride was about 40 minutes. I reckon it's a bit shorter usually but the weather was extremely bad that day. Super windy and cold. You can also go by bus or by car. Peterhof is the place where the Romanof's used to live. It's beautiful with all the fountains and golden statues. Everyday at 11AM the fountains go on, there's music and everything. Totally worth seeing. We didn't go inside the palace, mostly cause all my Russian friends told us not to go, I heard it's not worth the money, but beautiful outside.
My friend also organized us a sup- board trip in the canals of St. Peterspurg at 6AM. What an amazing experience. The reason for the crazy early timing is that the boats are not allowed on the canals at that time. So it was very peaceful and safe to ''sup'' through the canals for couple of hours. I got amazing view of the city whilst doing something fun and special. Highly recommended!
Evgenia also took us to the tsars garden and the really beautiful mozaic street with beautiful street art. We got to see so much during this trip! Only thing I failed to see and regret a little bit, is the opening of the bridges around midnight. I was supposed to do it at 2 occasions, but I was too exhausted to get up. But it's something I can do when I go next time
I didn't forget working out during this trip and I actually managed to do some amazing leg training sets at the staircase of the hotel where we were staying at. Also my friend kindly booked me a day to try out this amazing gym in the city. It was called the flying Dutchman and it was a boat! I repeat, it was a boat! Fully equipped gym with all the gadgets and latest technology on a floating boat. So cool.
Naturally we went to see all the churches and cathedrals there was to see as well.
Till next time Russia!