Visiting St Petersburg has always been pretty high on my list. Amazingly low fares in the British Airways flight sale made this a possibility, even though the complicated and long-winded visa application policy proved to be a slight stumbling block.
Deciding to go to St. Petersburg in December was definitely an interesting choice. The weather was very cold, but unlike other Eastern European cities (looking at you Bucharest), the roads and pavements were regularly gritted and I didn’t slip once!
St Petersburg also has some quite unique museums. The Vodka Museum warmed me up to begin with. After checking out a couple of rooms dedicated to the history of vodka in Russia, there were a few samples to try, each stronger than the last. These samples may or may not be the reason that I have absolutely no recollection of most of the museum whatsover. The Museum of Emotions was also a fun, interactive experience, complete with a guide who said in a typically Russian deadpan accent “we do not like gays here”. “I must tell my long-distance girlfriend”, I squeaked in reply.
The Hermitage was on a whole other level, and scale. Housed in the Winter Palace, which was the home of the Russian royal family for over 200 years, the Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world. It has over three million pieces in its collection, and if you spent just one minute looking at each piece, it would take you six years in its entirety, so to say that you could honestly spend hours wandering around is not an exaggeration in the slightest.
On top of the Hermitage, the main reason for wanting to visit St Petersburg was to visit the Church of the Savior on Blood. This is one of the most exquisitely designed and decorated buildings in the world.
The interior certainly lives up to the lavish exterior. The church costs 250 rubles to enter, which equates to less than a fiver. If you’re in St Petersburg then this is something you have to do. It’s compulsory. And honestly, I can’t see a reason as to why you’d be in St Petersburg without one of the main purposes of your visit being to see this church.