A moment of humour
Without a doubt I would have to suggest going to the Hermitage - superlatives fail me. Apart from having a wonderful holiday with my girlfriend, the conversation I had with the two uniformed ladies in the picture.
Girl one: Hello Sir! Would you like to come on a special tour with us?
Me: I'd love to, and I'm sure my girlfriend would like to as well!
Girl two: Maybe you could come on a tour with us alone another time too!
Me: What an enchanting offer!
Girl one: We will show you everything in St Petersburg!
Me: I am sure you will!
Girl two: I really like your English accent!
Me: I've been rather fond of it for a long time myself.
Girl one: Do you like our uniforms!
Me: They are very fetching.
Girl one: Sometimes we wear other uniforms (winking).
Me: Do you have a Mozart costume?
Girl two: No! Sadly not!
Me: That's a shame!
Girl one: But we look like Nutcracker characters.
Girl one: Perhaps your girlfriend will take a picture of you with us...
and so it continued... They tried everything to get us/me on a tour, but sadly we unsuccessful. The shot of them walking off had to be taken to remind me of the conversation...
In haste and hurry to ensure that St. Petersburg was different from Moscow in every possible way, Peter the Great imported European architects and designers to build his city.
He whole-heartedly encouraged Baroque art and design ~ paying for Russian students to be sent to Europe to for training. He also brought numerous Dutch, Germans, Italians and French architects to St. Petersburg to try their hands at buildings and estates. The "birth" of the city is dated to May 27, 1703 (or May 16 by the old calendar), when the first stone of Peter & Paul Fortress was laid. . .but it's in admiring the Baroque buildings and palaces that you find Peter's true city.
When he moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg, the face of "Europe" seen in the facades of so many of the city's buildings was what he envisioned.
Catching Some Rays
The exterior wall of Peter & Paul Fortress (there is a veritable beach, but it isn't the only popular location) draws sun-worshippers from early days of spring. We visited in early to mid May and the section was already populated with people enjoying the warm temperatures and strong sunlight (daylight hours are extended).
Sitting, standing, leaning against the wall. . .anyting goes with the object getting some colour and some vitamin D in mind.
Whatever... I went in mid Summer which got take-your-top-off hot (I did and attracted quite a lot of attention, not I suspect due to my godly physique but rather because it made me look like a tourist!). But also take a good warm coat and an umbarella. Think slightly more predictable and stable Scotland and you have St P weather. Be prepared to buy bottled water for everything. Also take any medications you particularly like (Neurofen, Benilyn) with you. I'm sure the Russians sell equivalents but they won't be brands you know. With an adaptor, my hotel room had plenty of power points so no charging problems. I would suggest taking batteries though and film. Pocket dictionaries went down a storm as presents - the Russian ones aren't very good.
Il y a plus de cinq millions d'habitants à Saint-Pétersbourg, deuxième ville de Russie, ancienne capitale impériale. Et pourtant c'est souvent le vide qui y prédomine, ajoutant à son côté majestueux, hors du temps, qui impressionne, et cela aussi bien dans les petites rues des quartiers plutôt résidentiels que dans des lieux censés être actifs, telle l'île Basile, un des centres de la ville en matière de culture: nombreux musées, bibliothèques, l'université, la deuxième du pays. Exceptions notables: la Place aux Foins et la Perspective Nevski. En effet, véritable colonne vertébrale de la ville, cette dernière est inévitable aussi bien pour les habitants que pour les touristes : monuments du centre historique, théâtres, petites boutiques et grands magasins (Gostiny Dvor, DLT, Passage, Elisseïevski, Dom Knigui...), grands hôtels et "cafés" où l'on mange pour une somme modique, des plus petites églises aux impressionnantes laure Saint Alexandre Nevski et cathédrale Notre Dame de Kazan, tant et si bien que la Nevski charrie à toute heure de la journée, le long de ses cinq kilomètres une foule compacte, telle une marée humaine avançant sans cesse de l'Amirauté et la place du Palais (où se trouve l'Ermitage) jusqu'à la laure St. Alexandre Nevski, en traversant trois canaux et en passant par la gare de Moscou, sans parler des bus et trolleybus bondés...
There are more five millions of inhabitants in St-Petersbourg, second city of Russia, former imperial capital. And yet it is often the emptiness that predominates there, adding to its majestic side, out of the time, that impresses, and it as well in the small streets of the districts rather residential that in supposed to places to be active, like the Basile island, one of the centers of the city concerning culture...