Sightseeing in Saint Petersburg

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Orientating ourselves in St Petersburg

We had got lost trying to find the hostel the night before so we started off the day wandering around the near neighbourhood trying to recognise landmarks so we didn't get lost again.

Seeing as we had no voucher for breakfast we had to look elsewhere for something to eat that first morning. We didn't have to look all that far. Just near the hostel (only a few metres to the right of the front door) were some steps leading down to a little grocery shop so we went inside and bought ourselves something to eat.

Just a few metres further on down 3rd Sovietskaya Street there is a small supermarket too.


Getting the hydrofoil to Peterhof

After a bit more wandering we found the tram stop for tram #11 which goes to the Hermitage area, right on the River Neva. There are other trams that head to the same general area but #11 stops closest to the river where the hydrofoils to Peterhof moor.

We looked at the Hermitage from the outside and it certainly looked grand and huge. It is a beautiful green colour. We had timed it nicely and no sooner were we aboard the hydrofoil when it was ready to leave for Peterhof. We'd been travelling for about 15 minutes when we head the most horrendous banging and clanging. Passengers looked at each other with horrified faces. Had we hit something floating beneath the surface? Were we going to sink? We were miles away from land. It was quite scary. The engineers tried to re-start the hydrofoil many times but it refused to get going. At least we didn't seem to be sinking. No-one near us spoke English so we just sat and waited. Eventually we spotted another hydrofoil heading right towards us. It stopped alongside us and we gathered we were meant to climb off our boat and onto the other one - all out in the middle of the sea! We were glad our kids didn't know what was going on. They would have been so worried about us.


We all exit froom the hydrofoil when it breaks down We all exit fro om the hydrofoil when it breaks down
The colourful hydrofoil starting to take off The colourful hydrofoil starting to take off










We found ourselves a couple of seats up the back of hydrofoil number two and settled in for the second half of the journey. The boat started to take off when masses of black foul smoke poured into the cabin through the back windows. In all the commotion a crew member had forgotten to shut the windows. It was atrocious but the boat was full so there were no empty seats further forward to shift into. It was a wonder those in the back of the boat weren't found dead upon arrival at Peterhof.

Peterhof is an absolute must-see in St Petersburg Peterhof is an absolute must-see in St Petersburg
The fountains are all gravity fed The fountains are all gravity fed











Peterhof is modelled along the lines of Versailles. There is a wonderful water supply there to feed the fountains and it all stands on a natural terrace overlooking the Gulf of Finland. Peter the Great built it with intentions of it being one more project illustrating Russian sophistication. He certainly succeeded.

Peterhof was ravaged by German troops during the Second World War. Thanks to the work of military engineers and over 1,000 volunteers, most of the estate's major structures had been fully restored by 1947. There are 173 fountains, gold statues, cascades, several palaces and more to see.

We had our photos taken but were quick to move away from the two Russian characters. I think the costumes had not been dry cleaned in quite a while. Do you get my drift....?

The Grand Palace The Grand Palace
For 80 roubles we had our photos taken For 80 roubles we had our photos taken










The food at Peterhof

We weren't impressed by the food facilities there. There are several kiosks selling less than average fast food so our advice would be to take a packed lunch with you. The hydrofoil is the fastest way to get there but it is also the most expensive at 600 roubles each for the return trip. You can also travel by bus, mini-bus or the metro.

Beautiful gardens in Peterhof Beautiful gardens in Peterhof
Ian climbing back on boards the hydrofoil heading home Ian climbing back on board the hydrofoil heading home










Next page - Watching the bridges on the Neva open


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.

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