Blogs from Saint Petersburg, Northwest, Russia, Europe


Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 5th 2019

Days 7 - 9/10 of 80 Hi all It's Monday here, it's exactly 1.00 pm as we start to write this into Notepad (that's how we do this, write blog in an off-line pad and then transfer into the blog when on line) and the high speed Sapsan train in which we are sat has off set exactly on time for our 4 hours - 3 hrs 58 mins if it's exact -journey to Moscow. (It arrived 1 minute early). It's like being on an airplane, but with more leg room, and, we expect, less turbulence. They even come through the cabin seeking your small change for charity 😊 However, unlike a plane, there is access to wifi, train/travel/theatre tickets booking, shoe cleaning machine, and something properly to see out of the windows rather than 'that's ... read more
Train meal
Peterhof Upper Garden
Peterhof Upper Garden

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 2nd 2019

Day 4 - 6 from 80 St Petersburg is, mostly, a delightful city. So spacious. When they were laying this place out, draining the swamps, building the canals, they made sure to make the streets wide. There are no 'narrow back streets' that we can see in St P. The pavements are generous too. Maybe they needed the space for the enormous hoop bottomed dresses that the women wore, as modelled by many locals touting for 'take a photo with me' business. There are also many 'set back' areas. However there are far too many buskers and street performers. The musical buskers are a particular menace and affront to the senses. Regrettably we are not talking about Ed Sheeran wannabes, with moderate acoustic instruments. No, we are talking full on heavy rock bands complete with drum ... read more
Old master
Peter the Great'Silk great coat

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 29th 2019

Day 1 - 3 from 80 Good morning / afternoon /evening everyone, depending on what time it is there when you open this. Yes, we are on our travels again, so this is a sunny welcome and "Privyet!" from St Petersburg .... the Russian branch not Floridian. 3 months this time. St P, Moscow, Trans-Mongolian Express, Irkutsk, Ulaanbaatar, Beijing for a week, 3 weeks group tour of China, 3 weeks across S China and out via stays in Macau and Hong Kong. Phew... Started as usual by dropping off the car and the cat in Manchester to be baby sat by Simon. Flight to St P was with KLM via a very brief transfer in Schiphol, Amsterdam. 2 concerns about that as we set off. 1 - we had less than an hour for transfer, so ... read more
The Bronze Horseman -Peter the Great
Finial atop Admiralty building
General Staff Building, now part of the Hermitage

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 14th 2019

Once upon a many moons ago I started my first big adventure and moved to New Zealand for a year, with grand plans of returning home via Asia to Europe on the Transmongolian railway. I had a fab time in NZ, made it to Asia, but got slightly side tracked and moved to Australia for a year instead of heading home. Then when my time in Australia was coming to an end, returning via Asia felt like a missed opportunity, so I planned a route home via Africa, promising myself that one day I'd go back and do THAT train journey. I never thought it'd take 12 ish years to do so but finally.... I was sat on the plane at Gatwick airport when I had my first opportunity to muse that perhaps finding time to ... read more
Alexander Column
General Staff Building, Place Square
Alexander Column

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg June 3rd 2019

3rd June 2019 And now St Petersburg, Russia. Days 2 and 3 The Grey haired nomads continue their journey around the Baltic: Tallinn, (Estonia), Helsinki, (Finland) and now, St Petersburg (Russia). I guess you might call our hotel in St Petersburg good value. It seemed to be extremely popular: friendly reception, convenient for the city centre and everything worked – good shower, nice bed, furniture a bit on the basic ‘seen better days’ side, but all very functional. Breakfast was not included in our 'booked on line' package, but the busy little café just around the corner served us veggie omelettes, croissants and coffee at locals’ prices, while office workers fiddled with their phones over coffee before work and a tour-group of Italians from our hotel chatted somewhat noisily. Nadia, our guide, stood by reception ready ... read more
Catherine Palace
The four-hour queue!
Tower blocks

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg June 1st 2019

1st June 2019 And now, St Petersburg, Russia. Day 1 The Grey haired nomads continue their journey around the Baltic, Tallinn, (Estonia), Helsinki, (Finland), and now leave Helsinki by overnight ferry bound for St Petersburg, (Russia). We’ve been putting off going to St Petersburg for a number of years. British and US media can be thanked for much of that I suppose, lack of trust, anti-Russia and all that, but memories of the Cold War also persist for some of us, leaving fears of an unfriendly reception for us Westerners. There are also some complex issues of Visas. But we have finally been lured to this intriguing city by the many enthusiastic tales of its staggering beauty from those who have previously been fortunate enough to visit. There are many ways to get to St Petersburg ... read more
The Princess Anastasia
Inside Peter and Paul Cathedral
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 13th 2019

Gary and Barbera did not have a tour booked today and so it was just Dave and me who headed on out to brave the passport control desks. We left early this time to try to avoid the queues but were scuppered when no lines had been opened....not to be detered, we hung around for a few minutes and, no suprise, were interrogated about what we were doing off the ship so early lol. They did however allow us to go through and we waited outside in the docks for everyone else to join the coach. Only 16 people on total on our tour and what a tour it was....a real gem. We walked around a traditional food and sweet market and had time to buy whatever took our fancy. Marzipan was first mass produced in ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 12th 2019

New laws recently inacted in Russia and highlighted in our paperwork before we disembarked. 1) NO waving of rainbow flags 2) NO Conspicious displays of same sex affection 3) NO Pride Parades Punishment includes jail and or expulsion from the country.... You get the idea of how forward thinking and inclusive Russia is.... These were just a few of the rules highlighted to us in the Princess Patter before we disembarked for St Petersburg Russia. We have spent the last two days here and this blog will cover both days. Firstly, I love Russia, St Petersburg and the incredible architecture from the opulant churches in the city centre to the stalin-esq stone buildings which lined the streets on our coach journey to see those churches. These stone buildings are actually high rise flats, grey and dank ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg January 9th 2019

Most of you know we have downsized our lives, moved back to my hometown area, and tried to minimize our lives in many ways. This process of simplifying has made our lives better in many ways. One, is less drama, and two, is fewer obligations and expenses. Along the way, we have benefitted from many suggestions, many of which center on getting rid of things. ... read more
Go solo if nobody else wants to go.

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg December 21st 2018

On a Baltic cruise, prepare to sample a delightful diversity of cultures and history and bask in the rich natural beauty of the region. You'll enter a tapestry of stories which include the lore of the Vikings, the Hanseatic League, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great. Discover the lands of Hans Christian Andersen and Alfred Nobel. Cruise highlights can include ports of call in Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; and the breaktaking fjord country of Norway. Visitors to Helsinki, Finland can revel in its cosmopolitan flair as well as its historical past. Finnish cultural touchstones include the Senaatintori, or Senate Square; Temppeliaukion, the Church of the Rock; the Helsinki Cathedral, Tuomiokirkko; Ateneum Art Museum, and the National Museum; the medieval Hame Castle; and the sea fortress of Soumenlinna, built ... read more

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