The cruise has scheduled arrival at Saint
9:30 AM. After the immigration tasks we’ll go to our hotel in the city
Once ready, we’ll spend the rest of the day to
visit Saint Petersburg highlights which, being a lot, are all around.
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.
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. 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,
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.
We can start with our visits when it is 11:30 AM.
to Kazan Cathedral, which is just across the street. Entrance is free
but pictures are not allowed inside.
Second is to the magnificent Church of Savior on
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.
We use the cards for the first time here and are
to take pictures of the impressive interior too, completely covered by
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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 360º city views.
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.
We only will leave at evening for shopping and taking a soup as dinner in a place with a lot of local live.