Sunday, 22 January 2017

Magnificent St Petersburg

I am not usually lost for words but my trip to St Petersburg, Russia with Freya was so amazing that it is almost impossible to describe it. There was simply so much to see and do to stop and write a travel journal at the end of each day in which we walked for miles on snowy pavements, marvelling at spectacular architecture and absorbing all of the history from Peter the Great to the demise of the Romanovs and the Siege of Leningrad. 

The scale of imperial wealth was so vast that it seemed inevitable that a revolution should eventually take place. There were enormous palaces on every street. At the time of “War and Peace” it would certainly have been a place to see and be seen. We could imagine the swaggering cavalry officers parading across the Winter Palace Square. 

Three days were not nearly enough to experience all of the incredible sights and museums. We found the people welcoming and the city was buzzing with families still on their Christmas holidays. We chose to eat Russian food - the Soviet style canteen was an interesting experience but we made up for it the next evening by sampling vodka and caviar! I was embarrassed that I only knew about 4 words in Russian but at least I could make out some of the cyrillic words and Freya could understand a lot of what was said. 

I think the city would be crowded with tourists in summer so we probably chose a good time of year to visit. It was around -2 degrees but did not feel as cold as a damp day in Scotland. We were well wrapped up and all of the buildings were extremely well heated. Out little apartment in an old courtyard just 200 yards from the Winter Palace was so cosy that we had to sleep with the window open even though it was snowing. I would love to revisit St Petersburg in the future - it was truly an awe-inspiring experience!

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