1. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Anyone Been to St. Petersburg, Russia?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by KaTrian, Oct 17, 2013.

    T.Trian and I will embark on a little adventure to Mother Russia next week, destination St. Petersburg. I was wondering if anyone here has visited the city before (or Russia)? And if so, what would be your advice to a first-time traveler? Any tips? Recommendations? Places to visit or avoid?

    I've never been to Russia before, but I hear St. Petersburg is pretty Western rather than traditionally Russian (whatever that encompasses). I guess it will also be pretty cold down there, what with the sea and everything.

    So if you've got some stories to share, the floor is yours :)
     
  2. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    I went with a school trip twenty years ago. We had a lovely time and did lots of lovely things but my memory is such that I can't quite recall what those things were. You'll love it, I'm sure.

    Strange what sticks in the mind. Three things for me:

    i) Policemen in groups, often drunk, always armed.
    ii) Pavements/sidewalks that were not six or so inches higher than road level but a number of feet. Crossing the road required mountaineering equipment.
    iii) A marked tendency to baldness in the old womenfolk.

    Keep an eye out!
     
  3. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was there in... 2005, I think? So information may be a bit out of date.

    It's a really nice city, though the drivers are all psychotic. We were there around midsummer when the sun only goes down for about an hour and spent a night just walking around the city. The bridges all raise at about 2AM - don't be on the wrong side of them - and the boats do a procession up and down the river.

    It's Western in that there's not much of the usual Russian kitsch in the architecture - it was built to emulate European cities, Venice in particular. The one bit of Russian-ness is the Church of the Saviour on Blood, which is bonkers and appears to be made of candy.

    If you're into museum-type stuff, the Hermitage has far more than you'll ever be able to look at, and the Kunstkamera's got a wonderfully morbid exhibition of deformities. Be warned, as well as exhibits in the Hermitage you'll find an eye-melting level of bling.

    The Peter and Paul Fortress is also pretty cool. We went there one evening and there was an impromptu bell-ringing recital.

    We went to see Peterhof, which I didn't find that interesting - gardens were nice but probably less so in October - but you can ride a hydrofoil to get there. Ride the hydrofoil. On deck. 70 mph down the river. It is amazing.

    Do all the things. It'll be fun.
     
  4. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks for the tips, guys :)
    Oh yeah, the deformity museum. So morbid it's a must-see. If we go to the Hermitage, we'll have to just hone in on the stuff we want to see 'cause I've heard it's like Louvre on steroids.

    Hydrofoils in October has a freezing ring to it, but sounds like lots of fun, so we'll consider that too :)

    By the way, can you remember if there were metal detectors at the entrance of the Hermitage/other museums?

    I assume it's possible to get by pretty well in English? 'cause, well, my hubby knows some Russian, but I can just curse... or curse how cold it is. In Sofia, Bulgaria, virtually no one spoke English, but I've gotten the impression St. Petersburg is a bit more international.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Which one do you know? Winters in Berlin were startlingly cold to this little tropical boy and my friends and I were often to be heard exclaiming "Cобачий холод!!" (sobachy kholod!!)
    [​IMG]
     
  6. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't recall metal detectors, but it was a while ago now.

    You'd probably be able to get by in English, but one of our party was Russian so we left all the talking to her.
     
  7. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think that's the same, except I thought the second word was holotna... Learned it from my Dad, who evidently is not very well-versed in Russian :D
    I also know how to say 'a horse', 'great', 'water,' 'cheers', 'thanks' and 'hello.'

    I'm prepared for anything now. It's snowing like crazy outside, so St. Petersburg, you can throw anything at me and I'll be grinning.
     

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