Tuesday, 9 May 2017

St. Petersburg, Russia Travel Guide and Vlog




We booked our trip to St. Petersburg, Russia back in November. Something I believe is a once in a lifetime opportunity so we saved every penny we had and made this dream become a reality. 

Before the trip we made sure we were prepared, I checked the weather daily and it seemed pretty cold everyday, however, when we arrived i don't think we prepared for just how cold it was..let's just say that all the rivers were frozen!  Check out where we went as well as my St. Petersburg travel vlog linked below.

Transport from the Airport to the Centre.

Travelling to Russia was just something else and the feeling was something I've never experienced in my whole life. When we landed we looked outside the doors of the airport to a very cold barren area. Directly outside we found the number 13 bus which brings you to the 'Moskovskaya' metro station which brought you to the center. Nobody speaks English so finding somebody who can help you with what to do is quite impossible. When we entered the metro station we had to go through a mettle detector and then when the police saw us looking very confused the asked us to step into a small room so they could search us. We were sent through another mettle detector and then our bodies and luggage were searched with a hand held mettle detector. We weren't worried though and they then kindly helped us pay for our tickets and showed us where to go. You must get off at Nevsky Prospekt which is the main street. Transport is extremely cheap you will spend €3 max as the Ruble is quite weak.






Church of The Savoir on Spilled Blood

Beautiful, right? We passed this amazing church every day as it was just too mesmerizing not to. It was build just over 100 years ago in the place Emperor Alexander II was assassinated. Inside is made completely of mosaics, I find that quite incredible as evidently from the photos the detail within the church is fascinating. It was extremely cheap to enter at 250 rubles = less than €4. Beside the church runs a small river and as we were there during March (the cold season) it was frozen solid! 

Kazan Cathedral

This is situated on Nevsky Prospekt, we walked passed it every day. Evidently it appears very Roman in it's structure, ironically it was actually modelled on St. Peter's  Basilica in Rome! Unfortunately we didn't go inside, frankly because it was so cold every time we passed, we couldn't face walking any longer.




St. Isaac's Cathedral

This was definitely an amazing experience, upon arrival we weren't aware of being allowed to climb to the top of this cathedral, so considering we had already been inside some we decided instead we wanted to get an amazing view of the city. And so we did, again we paid a very small amount of money which again cost 250 rubles = less than €4. We had to climb a tonne of stairs and then a very scary outdoor set of stairs but once you get to the top it's worth it. Definitely recommend!






Walking on Ice!!

Yes! we walked on frozen rivers!! If you follow me on Snapchat (CiaraSwalsh) you would have seen all the locals sliding and playing on the rivers, I for one was petrified, however having seen them be so carefree I definitely enjoyed it a lot more. Can you now understand how bloody cold it was there? Every single river in the place was frozen solid! During the next few days we made it to the Neva River, which is the main river in St. Petersburg. We didn't see anybody on this river so I presumed it wouldn't be safe to walk on, but my boyfriend being crazy he walked on it anyways and after a lot of persuasion he got me on it too. A few locals did get a few giggles watching me freak out hahaha. But I can now say I walked on the Neva River and I survived and I have the photos to prove it 😉 

Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum is known to be one of the most beautiful museums in the world. It is supposed to be so big that you could spend two days exploring. However for some reason when we were there it was closed both days we tried to go. We were so disappointed as we were really looking forward to seeing it's beauty. However if you do find yourself in St. Petersburg, you have to go!

Markets

Walking around the city we came across this cute little market selling Russian nick-knacks, food and of course winter woollies! There were also several markets scattered across the city selling souvenirs etc. I was like a magpie everytime we passed one, I'm a sucker for a cute market, especially ones selling Matryoshka dolls or Russian dolls.

Matryoshka

We didn't end up buying the Matryoshka dolls on the street for fear they would sell a fake factory made one, we wanted an authentic doll. The streets are full of places to fine one so don't worry. Look how gorgeous they are in this photo, they range in sizes, shapes and details. Some could cost a couple thousand euro if they have gold detailing. We settled for some which cost from €10-€20 (yes we bought a few). I want a wall of them when I'm older, so bloody gorgeous!!

We were upset we couldn't see everything St. Petersburg has to offer, the cold definitely affected that too as being outside for more than 5 minutes was just so unbearable. One day we crossed the Neva River to go see a War ship which was in many wars including WWII but when we got there it was closed and our taxi left us there without any internet to get another. So we had to walk in the worst weather conditions I've ever experienced. We walked about 40 minutes in crazy winds and -12 degrees (which felt like -18) we literally screamed the whole journey. The thoughts of having to get my legs amputated went through my head my legs were that bad (drama queen? Maybe, but you go through what we did) I'm laughing to myself thinking about it as I reminisce on the memory but never do I want to feel that ever again.

 I wore 3 jumpers a day, a long sleeved top, tights under my pants, my shoes were lined with wool, I had gloves a winter coat and a hat, I was freeeeeeezing! When we were on the Neva river taking photos our hands got burnt from the cold. Yes I never knew that could even happen! So even though we were evidently wrapped up, you just can't beat the cold in Russia! Maybe next time we can see the rest!

Talk about an experience, I would go back in a heartbeat!

St. Petersburg Travel Vlog



I posted more photos on my Instagram (CiaraSwalsh) during our trip so definitely check that out.
Stay tuned for a very detailed post on how we got to Russia, who we flew with, and how we got the visas.








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