So, after two flights, one long and one medium length flight, we arrived in Saint Petersburg Russia early Sunday morning June 10th. We got a short, but strong night of sleep, and we got up late Sunday morning to experience our first day in Saint Petersburg. We were a little dizzy and jet lagged, but very excited at the same time.
First we through on some clothes, we ate the free breakfast that our hotel provided. It was our first meal in Russia. It was a typical Russian breakfast with Russian sausage, yogurt, hard-boiled egg, kasha (oatmeal), bread, and tea (they really stuffed us each morning). One of the best ways to experience any foreign culture is to eat their food!
After we ate, we went back to our hotel room, showered, and headed out the door. It was a somewhat cool morning outside, but at least the sun was shining brightly. We wore light jackets for the first part of the day and took them off in the afternoon when it got warm.
We made our way down to the metro station and took the underground train to where we needed to go so we could catch a bus to our first sightseeing landmark. We got a little lost and confused and had to take the subway train to another stop in order to catch the right bus. Once we found the right bus stop, we boarded and took the bus for about 40 minutes and we got off at our destination.
This place was our first sightseeing tour in Saint Petersburg. Peterhof was built during the time of Peter the Great and sits on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. Sometimes it’s referred to as the Russian Versailles (although not quite as big as the Palace of Versailles in France).
We were not able to get into the Palace this day since it was sold out, but we did get to walk the beautiful grounds and see the beautiful fountains around the grounds. It was also nice to admire the architecture of the time.
Speed-Boat Ride back to Saint Petersburg
After walking the grounds and snapping a lot of pictures, we decided it was time to head out and see other parts of Saint Petersburg. We were not really thrilled about taking the 45-minute bus ride into the city again, so we learned we could hop on a passenger speed boat back into the city. We hopped on the boat and quickly made our way back to the main city. After we got closer to the city and the boat slowed down, we were able to go to the center of the boat where there is an observation deck and we were able to snap photos of the buildings right on the water.
Once we docked, we grabbed some lunch, some hot dogs and sodas from a street vendor. We ate lunch on the lawn of the Winter Palace Garden right in front of the Winter Palace. It was a lot of fun and pretty cool to eat a picnic in front of a world-famous palace!
After we finished our picnic we headed over to Palace Square where a Russian Marching band was practicing for one of the ceremonies for the Fifa World Cup. I thought they sounded phenomenal, but apparently their conductor thought otherwise. My wife translated what he said and he was not pleased with their performance.
Being here was the highlight of the day, with music playing, Russian people walking around the square, Russian families with their children running around, everyone clapping at the band’s performance, it didn’t feel much different from being at a 4th of July festival back in the states, except it was here in Russia with Russian flags, Russian people showing their patriotism, and some tourists, including us…………. This is what makes international travel worth it!
We took a Horse and Buggy ride from Palace Square around the streets and along one of the canals, and back to Palace Square.
Once we unmounted, we took some more photos and videos at Palace Square and headed down one of the streets and stopped at a couple of little stores including a chocolate store.
We stopped and watched a street performer:
Sushi in Russia
Then we decided to have dinner. Sushi sounded really good, so we stopped at a Japanese restaurant and had just that. This would be my first time eating sushi in Russia and I was curious to see how it differed from sushi back in the states. Surprisingly, it was very similar. Many of the rolls had the same name as the rolls I would buy back home. They even had the Philly Roll and the Arizona Roll! The service at this restaurant was outstanding, the prices were not too cheap, but it was worth it still.
Once we left the restaurant, we visited a couple of street vendors and made our way to the Cathedral of the Savior on the Spilled Blood and took some photos there.
Stuck in the city with no way home
At this point, we were exhausted and ready to return to our hotel. It was still light outside, but when we checked the time, it was 10:40pm. We lost track of time and assumed it was early forgetting that it doesn’t get dark at night in Saint Petersburg in June.
We tried to find a subway station that we could use to go back to our hotel, but they all closed for the night. We tried some other options such as buses, but as we walked around, we noticed a lot of the young crowd getting drunk and rowdy. We knew it was no longer a safe environment. We hailed the next taxi and we got a ride back to our hotel. It cost a lot, but it was quick at least.
Day 1 of Russia was amazing. The ending was a bit scary, but all in all, it’s a day I will never forget: Our first day in Saint Petersburg, Russia………….