Day 7 (March 25, 2015)   Saint Petersburg


   The cruise has scheduled arrival at Saint Petersburg at 9:30 AM. After the immigration tasks we’ll go to our hotel in the city center.

   Once ready, we’ll spend the rest of the day to visit Saint Petersburg highlights which, being a lot, are all around.

Mapa de San Petersburgo

   The spots marked at map are:

 0- Petro Palace Hotel
 1- Admiralty building(Place for hydrofoils to Petergof)
 2- Saint Isaac's Cathedral
 3- Palace Square
 4- Hermitage Museum
 5- Church of the Savior on Blood
 6- Nevsky Prospect
 7- Kazan Cathedral
 8- Peter and Paul Fortress


  We go up to the restaurant at 9 AM – Russian time now – and we regret not bringing the camera with us as the windows are showing amazing views of the sea channel we’re sailing through covered by broken ice, as if an icebreaker had passed just a few minutes ago.

Frozen sea in Saint PetersburgFront of St. Peter Line's boat

 We leave the boat and follow the only possible path which takes to an immigration control indoors, then our baggage is scanned and we’re officially in Russia. When I ask about what we need for the shuttle bus we’re answered the “departure card”. I ask if they mean the boarding card for the cruise but they say no.St. Peter Line's boat As they see I haven’t heard about a departure card before we’re asked if we had visa and as we say yes they understand: departure card is the document delivered to the ones with no visa for enjoying the three visa free days the passengers of these cruises have. As we don’t have those, they simply advice not to mention it to the bus driver. I’m shocked but, considering there is no way of exchanging money here, it is the only way to go to our hotel.

    The bus goes directly to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which is just two blocks from our hotel. We’ve already seen the name of the hotel in a wall before the bus stops. We get our room on despite the early time it is and go out for our first tasks: exchanging money and purchasing the Petersburg Card.

   We can easily do the first by 61.70 rub per euro, but the address we have for the hotel in Nevsky Prospect where we can buy the Petersburg cards only takes to a coffee shop. Inside, no one from the staff can answer my question, instead, is a couple of girls in the line who come out with us and look for the place following their mobile GPS until leave us at the door with more difficulties than expected even with GPS. That is an amazing generosity we don’t know how to reward but with our deepest thanks. We get two cards here by 2600 rub each.

Nevsky Prospect

   We can start with our visits when it is 11:30 AM. First is to Kazan Cathedral, which is just across the street. Entrance is free but pictures are not allowed inside.

Kazan Cathedral
Kazan CathedralNevsky Prospect from Kazan Cathedral

   Second is to the magnificent Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood following the channel up. It is an extraordinary building which looks amazing between the houses along the channel and even more in a closer look.

Church of Savior on the Spilled BloodChurch of Savior on the Spilled Blood

   We use the cards for the first time here and are allowed to take pictures of the impressive interior too, completely covered by colorful mosaics.
Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood interior

   We walk through a park looking for the bridge over Neva River. IT is not a gentle walk through the bridge as it is long and the river is coming with ice blocks bringing a frozen wind which hurts.

Park near Church of Savior on the Spilled BloodNeva River

   It’s impossible to miss the reference of Peter and Paul Fortress as the height of the golden spire of the cathedral is clearly seen since time ago and is marking the place.

Peter and Paul Fortress from Neva River

   With our cards we get tickets for cathedral and prison. The cathedral is an iconic place for this country as it houses the tombs of almost all the Russian emperors.

Saints Peter and Paul CathedralSaints Peter and Paul Cathedral interior

Emperors' tombs at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

Emperors' tombs at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

   Then we go to the prison, which has two similar floors with a circle pass way with cells in one side. We’re already thinking about our lunch but, before leaving the fortress, we can see some people on swim suit in the walls taking a sun bath just one meter from the frozen river. That must be insane!

Peter and Paul Fortress' prisonSun bath over frozen river

   It’s past 3 PM and it is hard to find a restaurant for us as we’re refused on three of them before being admitted in one besides Palace Square. The food is good, but we don’t get full with it. We pay 1400 rub.

Admiralty building

   The last visit today is just besides our hotel: St. Isaac’s Cathedral. It closes at 6 PM. With the St. Petersburg card we get tickets for cathedral and something called “colonnade”. We’re advised to go to this last one first. We find out it is actually a climb to the top of the cathedral by a spiral staircase of 200 steps. Once at the dome level we have the reward of 360 city views.

St. Isaac's CathedralView of St. Isaac Square from St. Isaac's Cathedral

   We go back down to enjoy the magnificent interior of this cathedral and then go to the hotel because our legs are complaining since time ago.

St. Isaac's Cathedral interiorSt. Isaac's Cathedral interior

   We only will leave at evening for shopping and taking a soup as dinner in a place with a lot of local live.