Monday 10 to Friday 14 September
We arrived in St Petersburg after a crazy Alitalia flight from Madrid via Milan.
After booking into the Hotel Astoria (very nice) we explored the sights, very close to home and then met some of our travelling companions.
Our first full day in St Petersburg included a bus tour of the main sights – a tour past the St Petersburg State University to Birzhevoy Place with the twin lighthouses, then to the St Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral, St Catherine’s convent and some shopping.
We then visited the Hermitage Museum to see “the best of the best” – magnificent rooms and a huge art collection.
Wednesday took us to a tour of Peter the Great’s summer palace on the Gulf of Finland, about 1 hour north of St Petersburg.
We took a canal tour on a cold and grey afternoon. But we were inspired by the night lights, after rain.
We were offered a free morning on Thursday. After a decent sleep-in and a rush to breakfast before it finished, we walked…
Across Dvortsovty Most to the Rostral Columns (lighthouses) and then to Gorkovskaya to see a Russian part of St Petersburg, past the zoo to the Music Hall. From there, over Troitskiy Most, past the Marble Palace back to the Hermitage Museum where we went through the Antiquities (Egypt, Greece and Rome).
Back to the hotel to meet our tour guide for a tour through St Isaac’s Cathedral and on to a Russian folk theatre.
Friday was a very busy day. We left St Petersburg to tour Tsarskoye Selo (aka Pushkin) and the Catherine Palace, a truely baroque experience, enhanced by magnificent gardens.
We then toured on to Novgorod.