When in Saint Petersburg during winter take a walk on the river if possible. It's a fantastic stroll. A trip to the Summer Palace is also fantastic in winter - next time I will arrive in a sleigh and feel like a real zarina. The river is really special during winter. The ice creates beautiful formations along the river banks. Also the sight of locals sun bathing in -15 degrees celsius is rather unique.
Russian Cyrillic Transliteration
For an English reader the first look at Cyrillic is quite baffling and exotic.
Russian has 33 letters and some are the same as used in English.
A, K, M , O , T look and sound as in English.
Russian has 7 letters that look like English, but sound different:
B, E, H, P, C, Y, X
It is quite rewarding to get the hang of the conversion of cyrillic letters to roman letters. Many words are the same or similar to English. Here is the Library of Congress recommended transliteration of Russian letters. Russian / pronounced /English If you cannot read this, change View/ Encoding to Cyrillic in your browser.
П, п .../p/...P,p
Ъъ... hard sign
Ы,ы.../i/...Y,y vowel sound not in english, uh sound
Ь,ь... soft sign
This drink is considered an important part ot the Russian culture and features in many parts of their lifes.
If you meet a group of locals, expect a bottle of Vodka to crop up , in the most strangest of places :) They just love it's taste.
It is considered an honour to toss a drink with a friend, so if you are offered Vodka,do not mix it with any other alcoholic drink..... believe me :)
If you are buying Vodka to friends or families, opt for" Russian Standard" brand. Very good and professional brand
Copies of your documents
Make sure to have copies of all your important travel documents, like passport, visa and registration. Just in case the originals get stolen, the copies can be very helpful to get replacements from your embassy.
There are various opinions about what you should take with you during the day: the originals or the copies. In fact it is not an obligation to carry an ID in Russia, but on the other hand the police can stop you and ask for your documents. To be honest, I am not interested in ending up in a Russian police station.
Kikinyi Palaty (Kikin’s House).
Not far from Smol'ny Cathedral there is Kikinyi Palatyi, the house of Kikin, Admiral, built in 1714. Since 1718 (the owner was executedcause of incrimination in conspiracy against Peter I) the building used as museum, school and different military administrations. Nowadays it is a music school. The building is situated in the middle of Shpalernaya Street among modern building of XX century and it is very interesting to see the only old building around.