Rivers and Canals, Saint Petersburg
The Strelka (or Point) picturesquely lies on the edge of Vasilievsky Island overlooking both the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Winter Palace. The Neva is at its widest point here (one kilometer). The Strelka is bordered to the west by the stock exchange building with a great Neptune statue on top. The Strelka was St. Petersburg's main port for over one hundred years, with the big reddish rostral columns serving as lighthouses. During festivities, flames alight the top of the columns and fireworks explode over the Neva
So, you've read 'A wonderful view 1!' and now want just a little more.
As I said before, the afternoon was hot and humid. However, this did not stop a student (?) from waving us off and then run ahead of our boat and wave down at us from every bridge that we passed under. The heat, his lack of any running kit (in ordinary leather shoes!) and the distance...wow! He kept sprinting and jogging until we headed out onto the River Neva. We thought that we had lost him ---but no, he was there again as we entered the canals. Our guide, Svetlana, was not happy about it. She grunted a comment about drugs and money when we mentioned a tip for him ---so we gave them an equal tip because we admired his enterprise.
At the end of the river/canal cruise we had about 40 minutes to shop for tourist-tat in an open-air market beside the Church of the Spilled Blood. I'd been here before and knew to haggle and also inspect the goods carefully.
The painted boxes, with scenes from Russian folklore, are not the best! They are made by the students who are learning this creative process ---but for taking home for friends and relations they seemed fine.
We also bought some books and some decorations for our Christmas tree.
They will take dollars and also Euros but we already had local money and had a better deal for it!
So, next time we're in St.Petersburg will we take this tour again? Yes! It was excellent!
We spent an afternoon on the water during a hot and humid August. Thank goodness! Those on the land looked so hot and bothered!
A coach journey from our cruise ship brought us into the heart of St.Petersburg and a five minute walk then took us to our canal-tour boat. It was long and fairly narrow with an open-topped back and a covered area mid-ships. It would not be easy to gain access if you cannot climb a short ladder.
The tour of the canals and the River Neva was superb. We gained such a fine view of the city from the water ---just as it was planned! We passed around the Winter Gardens, along the frontage of the Hermitage, chugged past the gallery where the paintings that inspired Moussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' were shown, we kept our heads down for the veru low bridges and were bemused by the many weddings.
On the Neva, we passed close by to the 'Aurora' cruiser ---from which the signal was given to start the revolution. We went past so many sights ---the commentator, Svetlana, shared so much with us via a PA system.
At one point 'champagne' was brought to us ---a nice touch but it was the worst sparkling wine that I've ever tasted!
The wedding celebrations that I mentioned are linked to the bridges. The couple move from bridge to bridge (often by stretch limo) and kiss and share bubbly before moving onto the next bridge for more. We saw many couples during the afternoon.
Please read my 'A wonderful view 2!' page for further comments and pictures.
Possibly the best way to this City is an evening cruise along the canals and River Neva. In July 2010 the price was 400 roubles for about one hour from the canals along the Nevesky Prospect. In the evening the sun is not so fierce [July] as during the day and the buildings can be appreciated more from a distance than close up in a coach. I would think that all tours use much the same route. On mine there was a continuous live commentary, although in Russian.
Took the week long cruise from St P to Moscow on Viking Lomontosov ship...(think I spelled that right!) Ma had always wanted to do this, and I said I would go, flyin through Milan to St Petersburg to the ship. Viking runs a good ship with better than good food and wine---only about 200 folk or so and lots of caring mostly gorgeous, Romanian staff and crew. Several interesting excursions are included along with 3 meals a day on board. I would definitely recommend this ship and crew for the trip---the guides we had on shore were excellent as well including Natalia and Sasha in particular! We went the end of September and by the end (Moscow) it was getting chilly ....Moscow was cold and dreary, and way too much traffic----from our ship it took us almost 2 hours to go about 10 miles to the Kremlin.....All in all---try to get one of their buy-one-get-one sales and have a great trip!
Join a boat tour on the regular basis for independent tourists in English. From May 2nd to September 30th tours run daily at 11, 13, 17 and 20.oo. 00.20 tour is available daily from May 21st to August 15th. Tours run for one hour, cost 500 rubles (about Euro 13)/ 400 rbl for students.
You don't have to book it, just turn up.
The Moyki River intersects the Nevsky Prospect near where the Church of Spilt Blood is. A river boat leaves every few minutes and costs about 400 rubles (about $16 year 2008). I boarded it at 2020PM and only the 1600PM ride had an English guide. Some people might care, but I don't. All the lady spoke over the speaker was Ruskee (Russian) and somehow it added to the ambience of the trip (I'm really in Russia!). The ride started at the canals and then turned left onto the big river Neva where a huge fountain was shooting up in the sky. It was nearing sunset and so the glow from the red sun was great on the river and the buildings on its fringes. Spectacular river view worthy of the camera! But I am no photographer so just bear with my amateur digital captures.
Make sure you don't miss the fountain show on the River Neva just across the Hermitage. The music is very suited to the city, the soundtrack being composed of a lot of passages from Russian classics.
It really gives you the feeling to be in what once used to be a royal city.
For those who have been in Barcelona, I must say this.
The fountain show there is much better, but it seems a bit out of place. However here you can just forget about everything around you and feel blue-blooded for a short while:)
Update: I have heard that the fountains have been recently changed and night shows take place as well, so this becomes a must see:)
During the white nights of June adn July is a perfect time to go down to the Neva River and watch the bridges open to let the big ships up the Neva River.
You can also take a ride on a boat to watch the bridges and landscape from the water.
Boats load about 1 am and usually go for more than an hour to see a number of bridges along the Neva.
In the summer since 2006 there has a been a dancing fountain on the Neva River that moves and changes color with music.
It is a pretty sight and can be seen from the embankment by the Hermitage or from a night boat.
The music comew from speakers on the spit of Vasilevsky Island which is a great vantage point if it is not closed for some event.
On the right side of the Nevskiy Avenue, opposite the Kazan Cathedral is the Griboyedov Channel, the most famous one in St.Petersburg. It is named after the russian writer and poet of the beginning of the 19th century Alexander Gribojedov. You can start a boat trip here or you can walk along the channel until you come to so called Spilt Blood Church, which was built on the place where the russian tsar Alexander II was murdered by bomb. It is an amazing chirch in a old russian style.
One of the most picturesque walks in St. Petersburg is the Griboedova Canal.
The stretch from the Marinskiy Theater to the Church on the Spilled Blood contains many beautiful views and bridges. The Lion's Bridge, Bank Bridge, Nevsky Prospect, The Kazan Cathedral and many cafes and shops are to be seen.
In the summer of 2006 the city of St. Petersburg installed a large fountain on teh Neva River between the Peter adn Paul Fortress and the spit of Vasilevsky Island. It has lighted water movements choreographed to music in the evenings.
A good place to see it is from Vasilevsky Island between the Rostal Columns.
The four gold-winged griffins of the bank bridge are among the most identifiable monuments in St. Petersburg. It was built in 1825-26.
Walk across and look down the canal to the Church on the Spilled Blood. One of the most picturesque spots in the city.
Built in 1900 for the Russian NAvy, teh Aurora Cruiser is famous as the ship that signalled the beginning of the revolution in 1917 by firing off a shot to storm the Winter Palace.
It survived the war with Japan, and WWII.
Open 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Admission is free, a rarity!