Wednesday, July 27

St Petersburg - 3 days cruise

Took a cruise to St Petersburg to admire some Russian culture & food. The boats are quite old, all of them were build in Finland in the 80s but has somewhat been restored. Price is very reasonable though and you get a visa free entry for 72 hours when using St Peters Line. It's so close to Russia from Finland but still very few ever go because of the history we had. Nothing to be afraid of, it's a cool place although you can't always expect very great service.

I wasn't sure if I was hallucinating first when I came to Helsinki port. Nope, wasn't. There is actually a 30 meter high statue with it's dick in his hand looking awkward. How awesome for tourists who arrive to give this as a first impression of Finland :D 

Lot of boat traffic on this lane 

Cabin area
Bye bye land 
Boat on the way to Russia was called M/S Princess Maria

Simple cabin
Boat nightclub was called Funny Rabbit
Arriving in the morning to the Russian archipelago 
Retired war ships? 
Outch, that's some nasty looking dark smoke
First sight of the city! 
Nice port building / hotel. Looks very much like old Soviet Union

St Petersburg is a gorgeous city! The Ermitage is beyond words and anyone who is even a little into art, history or any kind of culture should visit! I would advice to not go during high season because it was really TOOO packed with tourists from all over the globe.

Palace Square, a storm is coming! 

The Ermitage

Lost in time? 
Egyptian culture and history has always been my favorite
Pictures will not to the Ermitage right. All the rooms are so beautifully made and the details are just amazing

Wonder how many elephants and from where this ivory box needed
Worlds most beautiful clock 

The golden room 
Must have been a scary sight seeing hundreds of knights in full armour attacking 
Tea time 
All those details! 
Chem is back enjoying art 

We went to the Mariinsky Teater to watch Figaro. Booked seats in the "Tsar Box" which was an amazing experience. I don't really enjoy opera THAT much but the setting made it all very nice. Play was about 3 hours and after that some amazing Russian food!

Enter the seats of elite 
Best seats in the house 
A 30 minute break in between, cheeeese 
Ending credits, very nice setup during the whole 3 hours. 
After a veeery fancy opera some fine dining at a authentic Russian restaurant. Their blinis, borsch soup, bread, stew and vodka was heavenly! Place is just outside the Mariinsky theater and is a MUST if you visit St Petersburg, called Sadko. 

The yum yum locally brewed vodka 
Amazing food and so cheap! 
Dumplings with sour cream 
 Roasted potatoes with creamy mushroom gravy 
Saint Isaac's cathedral is open until 4 am during the summer, perfect to climb up 200 stairs to go see the city by night. You need to buy a ticket downstairs for it first though. I'm really surprised there are attractions like this open until 4 am and no security. Nothing like this in Europe but that might be because all the craziness that's happened recently with terror attack after the other happens. Horrible.

Stairs up to Isaac. Took it from the hotel room. 

Rooftop view of the city

If you ever stay over night in St Petersburg I suggest the W Hotel. It was really amazing, specially when we had a suite on the top floor with 2 balconies!

Rain was on and off, massive downfall just after entering the hotel. Can barely see anything

Cozy lobby

Was a very lavish suite!


And a few flowers too :)

Care for a lit up Jacuzzi?

Hotel W to the right, nice evening view
The Church of Spilt Blood is fascinating both outside and inside. Like cotton candy on the roof and the most gorgeous marble paintings on the inside. With a LOT of gold. I've been to many cathedrals but NONE ever before like this one.

Candy on top! 

It's all mosaic. ALL of it
Not to mention the massive amounts of gold 

Looks dark 

Apples for sale outside 

Stroll down the busy Nevsky Prospect for some shopping, exclusive restaurants or souvenirs. This is the "main" street in the city, like Oxford Street in London.

Chem is hiding in plain sight!  
 Always busy here 
Found a small alley for exclusive shops
Very pretty hand made glass stuff
Jump on a river cruise 
 How about a souvenir Putin cup? Russians really love this guy 
Fallout cup!! 
 Probably what almost all tourists get, a matryoshka to bring home 
 Weather was pretty perfect when leaving the port. So much to look at when leaving St Petersburg. Everything from warships, submarines, old fortifications lot of random stuff and gorgeous sunset
One massive bridge under construction 

Set sails for Helsinki 

High tech facilities 

Cool sunlight reflection 

Loads of white bags, not suspicious at all 
Wonder if these subs are some of the ones that are reported in the Baltic sea now and then? Seems like they are on their way somewhere 

Old fort? 
Naval base even has churches 
Ship ahoy
Caught in between the red sky and ocean 

No comments: