Dancing in the rain in St. Petersburg
4-7 August, 2017
After a couple of days in St. Petersburg, Anna-Lena and I can agree that even though we’ve had lots of rain, this city has captivated our hearts as one of the nicest cities we’ve ever visited.
In the early evening on Friday we arrived at our studio apartment (Nevsky Prospect 32), that we have since nicknamed “crackhouse”. Here we created our little home-base for the next days. We gave it this nickname as the building is old and our hallway is completely run down. The building is over 300 years old and probably hasn’t been renovated since. However the inside of the apartment is decent and right next to the St. Catherine Church with the entrance being on the Nevsky Prospect Road (The main shopping street of St. Petersburg). From our apartment it is a 10 minute walk to the Hermitage and only 5 minutes to the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood. It’s the perfect location! Our host Natalia gave us all the important information about the city and provided us with the customary house shoes.
On our first morning in St. Petersburg, we decided to take it easy for a day, mainly because of the pouring rain outside. In the morning we had a little breakfast and set up this blog. Only in the afternoon we went out to explore the city. We found this city to be a vibrant city filled with people full of life. We walked to the Church of Savior on the spilled Blood and can say it easily matches the beauty of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and St. Peter in Vatican City. During our stay we returned to the colorful church a couple of times. After the church we stocked up supplies for the next couple of days at the supermarket and ate out at a small restaurant called “marketplace”. The restaurant was nothing special but had something for the both of us (which isn’t always easy😅). At home I’m usually the difficult one, however we have found that it is close to impossible to find vegetarian dishes here. We spent our evening walking through the streets, enjoying the sound of the numerous musicians, grabbed a beer, watched some fireworks from the distance, and revisited the church which was beautifully illuminated at night. It was an absolutely amazing evening.
The next morning we set out to go on a boat tour, but the weather got worse. On our way we passed the Palace Square and it started pouring. Everyone was seeking shelter from the rain (which got very cozy as there was nowhere to shelter on the square). Unfortunately we got drenched completely and walked in the wrong direction several times (thanks Leni 😅) so we changed our plans and went into the Hermitage Museum. We spend an exciting (Anna-Lena)/ grueling (Timo) afternoon here.
I know not everyone speaks English, but I did not anticipate that even in a world-renowned museum, there are only few that do. Luckily it was nothing our hands and feet couldn’t handle. We went on the only English tour that day (to give you an idea, we were only with 6 people) and were guided around by Anastasia, who was very informative and happy to answer any questions people had. The tour took us over two hours and only cost us 3.5 euro, well worth it! After the tour Anna-Lena was determined to still see the works of Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Raphael and Rubens. Since the storm outside was not over yet, I volunteered to come along to the exposition of Faberge across the square. Here I got comfy on a bench, ready to be picked up 30 minutes later when the weather cleared up😉 We made use of the moment to walk by the small canals to our new favorite church and the gardens of the Russian Museum. We ended this rainy day with a small dinner on Nevsky Prospect.
On our third day in St. Petersburg we set out to see St. Isaac Catherdral, a beautiful domed church near the Hermitage Mueseum. We went up the staircase (262 steps!) to have a lovely view over the city. Right before another storm front hit, we quickly went down the cupola to enter the main church building. The inside of the church was beautiful with strong colors and gold ornaments. Not to be missed! As we were exiting the church the rain started (again), so we had lunch on the stairs of the church, hoping it would stop again. When it finally did, we visited the horse statue right in front of the church, which is supposed to be the largest single stone moved by man. We also checked out the admiralty building and took a tour of the Church of Savior of Spilled Blood. With some rare rays of sunshine, we had some street food and walked through the Mikhailovsky Garden. As I wasn’t in the mood to view more paintings at the Russian Museum, we compromised and went to the Faberge Museum, where they had lots of jewelery, and paintings…
In the evening we ate Anna-Lena’s favorite meal, Noodles with sauce, or so we thought, as it turned out to be simple tomato ketchup😂. To flush away the dinner we went to a bar and had several beers, before calling it a night.
Today we are packing our bags and will leave this wonderful city and head for Moscow by fast-train! The adventure continues!