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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Saint Petersburg, Sankt Peterburg, Russia

Aug 17, 2016 - St. Petersburg

Had a free morning to explore on our own. As it had rained the last couple days, and today was beautiful and sunny, we wanted to revisit St. Isaac's Cathedral for photo taking. On the way we stopped by two Russian Orthodox Churches, both great architecture with decorative golden spires. Walked across the Neva River Bridge, reminiscent of walking the Brooklyn Bridge not so many days ago, and through a beautiful tree lined park. St. Isaac's, c1858, was everything and more. Sitting in the middle of St. Isaac's Square, the imposing cathedral...

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Aug 16, 2016 - Peterhof and the Hermitage

Today is going to be a big day. We are starting with a tour of Peterhof, Peter the Great's summer palace opened in 1723 sometimes referred to as the Russian Versailles, about an hour outside of St. Petersburg. Unfortunately we got a late start (someone didn't hear their alarm) so it was pretty crowded and it was raining when we arrived. The place was impressive with the palace on a terrace overlooking the lower garden that went down to a pier on the Baltic where guests could arrive by boat. Once we got inside it was much better. They did a...

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Aug 14, 2016 - St. Petersburg, Russia July 6 and 7, 2016

St. Petersburg, Russia was supposed to be the highlight of our trip. We were scheduled to spend two full days here. We had booked a private tour for both days which included a night at the ballet. Then mother nature intervened. We were scheduled to dock at 7:00AM but the weather was bad and the ships in port could not leave which meant we could not dock as scheduled. We eventually docked around 4:00PM and we were able to make the Ballet just in time. We missed out on tours of Catherine’s Palace and Gardens and several more places. On the...

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Trip Journal


Cruise of the Baltic

Jun 25, 2016 - The Hermitage-- The Winter Palace

Our first full day in Russia featured a 5-hour tour of the Hermitage, winter palace of the Russian tsars. Unlike ocean cruises, these river cruises include one or more tours nearly every day, and this was today's tour. Built in 1754 as a residence for the Russian emperors, Catherine the Great used it to house her huge art collection starting in 1764 with the purchase of a single collection of at least 225 paintings. Today, it houses the largest art collection in the world. Rooms in the older section of the building are in the Baroque...

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Jun 25, 2016 - The Grand Maket

After returning from The Hermitage, we had the afternoon and evening free, so we elected to take our own "optional tour". The ship's Concierge arranged for a taxi to pick us up and take us to the Grand Maket, about 40 minutes away. This is an approximate 1/87-scale model of Russia, from Saint Petersburg in the west to Siberia in the east. Every geographic area of Russia is represented on this 8000 square-meter structure. Running throughout it are HO-scale freight and passenger trains, HO-scale cars, trucks, buses, and construction...

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Jun 24, 2016 - Saint Petersburg, Russia---Day 1

So, here we are at our cruise destination. Disembarking our aircraft, our first challenge is Russian Immigration. Encountering about 30 separate lines, where are we supposed to go? Turns out that it doesn't matter----pick one. So we do, and we wait. Each leads to a spot enclosed on three sides, with the immigration official in a cubicle behind a glass window. One person is supposed to enter at a time....not a couple, or a family....when the first signal light turns green. Doug enters first. Slide my passport and visa to the official, who...

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May 28, 2016 - St Petersburg Russia May 28 and 29

Day 1 What an amazing day. Quite the procedure to go through immigration here. One at a time, lucky we are in the good room as we were escorted off the ship first. We met our guide from SPB tours no problem and then waited for 14 others to join us. We had a full day visiting Peterhof gardens - a collection of beautiful buildings and fountains, a hydrofoil ride (our first) a good lunch and then a drive outside St Petes to visit Tsarskoe Selo or Catherine's palace. This was destroyed by the Germans during the Second World War when it was...

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May 26, 2016 - St. Petersburg - Day 2

Thursday May 26 We began the day with breakfast in the World Cafe where we met a couple from Huntington Beach California. We disembarked for the bus tour around 8:30. The weather was becoming cloudy, quiet warm and humid. Once on the bus, our guide Irena noted it was her first time using the "Quiet Vox" system and it took a few minutes for her to get the system sorted out. En route to the Hermitage Museum, Irena gave us an overview of the history of St. Petersburg: similar facts as yesterday! She also mentioned that this time of the...

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May 25, 2016 - Arrive St. Petersburg

Wednesday May 25 Today was scheduled to be an early start, so we pre-ordered breakfast in the cabin which arrived just before 6:00 as the ship was being secured at the dock at St. Petersburg. The docking facility looked fairly new, and we were told later that it is only 2 years old and is known as the ‘passenger terminal – sea cruises’ (so named as to not be confused with the ‘passenger terminal – river cruises’ or ‘the passenger terminal – ferry boats’, ‘or the passenger terminal – aeroplanes’) and it is still undergoing some...

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Dec 9, 2015 - Dull boat to Petersburg

We had pre-purchase a deal that would allow us a visa-free visit to St Petersburg, Russia. The deal included mandatory passage on a ferry/cruise ship operated by the St Peter Line. We worried a bit about a repeat of the party boat to Helsinki, of course, but as I specialize in what-if thinking I also worried that recent politics could have changed the visa-free rules and that we'd be denied passage or entry. It was dark, as usual, when we got to the docks. Daylight is about 6 hours from about 9 to 3. The St Peter ship was only slightly...

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Aug 26, 2015 - Cruise day 5 - St Petersburg

Had to set the alarm this morning as it is an early start. We dock in St Petersburg at 7.30am. I wake up feeling slightly better but still not 100%. We go and have breaky and I can't eat anything so have a coffee. We pack our backpack for the day as we booked a tour (due to visa restrictions) and will be out for 9 hours. So we go through customs which is a little scary the Russians have a stern look on their face constantly and look you up and down several times. On our bus and the tour starts - St Petersburg the Venice of the North. Again...

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Trip Journal


Our European/UK Trip

Jun 3, 2015 - Saint Petersburg

Perhaps the most beautiful port of the cruise was Saint Petersburg. It is also the most expensive. A Russian visa for an American costs $180. Yes, even for one day off the ship. Cruise ships have introduced a new challenge for those visiting Russia—at least, those from the West. As I understand it, those from former Soviet republics can visit Russia without a visa. However, the Russian government has waived the cost of a visa—even for Americans—if you book a tour with a government licensed guide and if you are with your guide for your...

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