Sankt Peterburg

Or Peter for short.

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Lovely city. Very beautiful and I’m sure it would be even nicer in the summer. After going to Sochi and realising how nice it was to see some other parts of Russia I’d decided to make sure I started visiting all the places I said I would. I looked up flight tickets and was surprised to find a return was only £80 – still not Ryanair cheap but not bad!

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First impressions of St Petersburg were that it wasn’t quite as modern and European as I’d been led to believe. No train from the airport to the city, whereas Moscow has very reliable Aeroexpress trains direct from all three airports. I googled the best way and found Marshrutka taxi to the metro. Marshrutkas are basically white mini buses. You pay around 35 rubles to the driver when you get on and have to shout “na astanovky pasholsta” when you want to get off.

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Marshrutka was easy to find. Got off at the Metro and headed towards the centre. On first arriving on the platform I was a little confused about where I was. There were small groups of people waiting at big black doors all along the platform. It looked like lots of lifts but I soon realised they were doors to the Metro. A bit like the Jubilee line in London bit much less shiny glass, and more terrifying heavy black door. Where on earth am I?! Luckily only the first few stations were like this and it soon looked much more normal. Once I got outside I realised why people love this city. Very beautiful!

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More comparisons to Moscow – it was very, very quiet, with very little traffic. I arrived around 7pm and already all the streets were quite empty and you could cross the roads without a crossing. Even the suburbs of Moscow never seem to stop moving so this was quite strange. The only place busy was the Main Street – Nevsky Prospekt where I saw the amazing, horse-shoe shaped Kazansky Cathedral, and this other one which looked similar to St Basil’s in Red Square next to a smaller canal.

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The next day I did a long sightseeing walk across one bridge to a kind of Island and back over. Lots to stop and see. The Winter Palace, Palace Square, cathedrals, bridges, and frozen rivers.

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Lovely city!

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