It was another new destination for me and I was being sent back to Russia but this time with the destination of St Petersburg. I’ve been bidding for St Petersburg for the longest time, and was happy to finally see this on my January roster despite the chilly temperatures that Russia receives in the winter. Departing Dubai in the late afternoon it was six hours and 45 minutes over to Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg.
By the time we landed, made our way through immigration and across to the hotel it was pretty late. The drive from the airport through the city to the hotel was so beautiful, with the city all lit up in the night. It made me so excited to go out and explore the next day, so I ordered some seafood soup from room service which my supervisor had recommended to me on the flight over and then went to bed ready for an early start.
I woke the next morning and met four of the crew downstairs in the lobby. It was all of our first time in St Petersburg and it was nice to have a big group to go out and explore with in the city.
With us all being wrapped up warm we set off on foot with the first destination of the Winter Palace. It took around twenty five minutes to walk there and it was an extremely cold winters morning with the wind blowing against our faces. We all had very red noses and cheeks!
The Winter Palace was the official residence of the Russian Emperors from 1732 to 1917. Today, the palace and its precincts form the Hermitage Museum.
The storming of the palace in 1917, as depicted in Soviet propaganda art and Sergei Eisenstein’s 1927 film October, became an iconic symbol of the Russian Revolution.
The palace was constructed on a monumental scale that was intended to reflect the might and power of Imperial Russia.
I’m actually obsessed with the colour of this building, how beautiful is that colour!? The Winter Palace is located in the Square opposite The state Hermitage Museum. In the square there are numerous people dressed up in fancy dress, they could be in period clothing or even dressed up as random animals such as zebras and giraffes and all of them would approach you to try and take pictures with you for a small fee. This is one thing I found quite annoying about Saint Petersburg is that we came across these people everywhere and they didn’t shy from touching you or stopping you in your tracks either.
Even though we had just began our day we were more than ready for a coffee stop and get out of the cold just for a short while. We found a small coffee place in the centre and all five of us piled around a table.
The menus we were given were entirely in Russian, although they did display some pictures of what was on offer so I opted for the prettiest looking coffee and just hoped for the best. What arrived was a raspberry latte I think… I don’t know whether it contained much coffee but it tasted delicious nonetheless.
Paying the bill and continuing on the next stop of the day was to the Church of the Resurrection which was an easy ten minute walk away.
Also known as the “Saviour on Spilled Blood”, was built in memory of Alexander II who was assassinated in 1881. The church stands in the very place where a bomb was thrown into his carriage by a young man who opposed the Tsar’s reforms.
Alexander II was among the greatest Russian tsars, one of the main accomplishments of whom was the emancipation of serfs in 1861, which brought an end to the de facto slavery of the Russian peasantry, five years before the emancipation of slaves in the US.
The Cathedral of the Saviour on Spilled Blood attracts people with its five onion domes exuberantly decorated and covered with jeweller’s enamel. It has a similar façade to St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and its peculiar multicoloured exterior makes the church stand out from St. Petersburg’s typically strict architectural proportions and colour combinations.
To say it was a Tuesday morning it was incredibly busy in the city and the amount of the legs I saw exposed was shocking. I was cold to the core wrapped up even in three layers! We wandered around the church to admire the beauty and the colour, just my luck that another building that I have been dying to see you for the longest time was one small covered in scaffolding.
We continued on not wanting to stand around too long in the cold and headed in the direction of the marble palace, I wouldn’t go out of your way to see this but it was nice passing by all the same.
St Petersburg also gets referred to as the Venice of the North, and I can see why! There are numerous canals running through the city, it makes it incredible picturesque!
Everyone was getting pretty cold now and ready to head back, we’d only been out a couple of hours but I was happy to get back into the warmth and get a few hours sleep before the wake up call.
We ventured past the Winter Palace once more and the gates had now opened with it being a little later on in the day we ventured into the forecourt to have a little wander but all the tickets were sold out for that day unfortunately.
Back in the hotel room it took me a good hour to warm back up so I ordered my Russian favourite some dumplings before sleeping before the flight.
I would love to return to St Petersburg at some point, I just really want this to be in the summertime. Winter in Russia is extremely Baltic, but the city is so beautiful and has a lot to offer and I would love to have explored even more than I already did. It would be so great to see the city all lit up at night properly rather than just driving from an airport to your hotel.
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