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Saint Petersburg: Maps , pictures and information.

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I continue to enjoy your beautiful photos. Thanks again for posting.

 

Your comments about the "fear factor" resonated with me. I received an email from our cruise line letting us know we couldn't get off the ship without a visa and that we should book a ship's tour as they'll handle getting the visa for us (I was happy to see it wasn't as "threatening" as I'd expected. LOL). We've also had a couple members of our roll call who believed that we shouldn't book with private tours because of the visa requirement. A number of us had done the research and knew we'd be fine and were sure to let them know. I think times may be changing--they're estimating there will be about 750 people on the ship's tours in St P. So, I'm thinking there are a lot of people booking with private operators.

 

We're really looking foward to our two days of touring in St Petersburg. :D

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After running the math , we have found that it will cost less to stay in Russia (Including the cost of the Visas) than the cost of the cheapest interior room of our cruise. We will use our 10 dayin stay Fall 2011, as an example. We mailed our passports overnight with the Visa application. We received our passports (With the Visa attached) before sailing. After the cruise we flew to St. Petersburg. We sat next to an older lady from the US going to St. Pete to meet her river cruise. After clearing Passport Control/ Customs , we met our guide who stopped so we could shop for food.

 

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After about 1/2 hours drive, we arrived to meet the manager of the apartment that we stayed in. She spoke good English , much better than our broken Russian.

Our apartment is where the brown door with the TV dish is. The apartment is located on the Griboedov Canal.

 

 

 

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The stairs up are typical of Russia and we neeed some exercise after 12 days of cruising. We feel very secure with the steel door and the 7 dead bolt system.

 

 

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We called the living area "The red room". Most of the ceilings were 10'.

 

 

 

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Small fireplace

 

 

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Scubacruiser,

I love your photo of Fyodor's Cathedral with the reflection of the cathedral in the water. I am self reporting for theft of your photo as I just saved it to my desktop. :D

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Scubacruiser,

I love your photo of Fyodor's Cathedral with the reflection of the cathedral in the water. I am self reporting for theft of your photo as I just saved it to my desktop. :D

 

 

Your actions have been noted by the Thought Police !!!

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I continue to enjoy your beautiful photos. Thanks again for posting.

 

Your comments about the "fear factor" resonated with me. I received an email from our cruise line letting us know we couldn't get off the ship without a visa and that we should book a ship's tour as they'll handle getting the visa for us (I was happy to see it wasn't as "threatening" as I'd expected. LOL). We've also had a couple members of our roll call who believed that we shouldn't book with private tours because of the visa requirement. A number of us had done the research and knew we'd be fine and were sure to let them know. I think times may be changing--they're estimating there will be about 750 people on the ship's tours in St P. So, I'm thinking there are a lot of people booking with private operators.

 

We're really looking foward to our two days of touring in St Petersburg. :D

 

I'm really glad that Cruise Critic allows this open exchange of information and that so many posters are sharing their experiences with private guides. We hope that you have a great time and take lots of pictures. But, please don't use up all the FUN as we are booked on the Sept. 1, Legend cruise to Norway.

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I'm really glad that Cruise Critic allows this open exchange of information and that so many posters are sharing their experiences with private guides. We hope that you have a great time and take lots of pictures. But, please don't use up all the FUN as we are booked on the Sept. 1, Legend cruise to Norway.

 

 

Well, I can't make any promises. We plan to thoroughly enjoy ourselves!! :D

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The tour continues with the kitchen

 

 

Europe09432_zps7c587d77.jpg

 

 

Our first visitor in Russia was from the Oxi Fairy

 

 

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Followed by Mister Muscle

 

 

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Note that the Y is flexing it's muscle

 

 

The washing machine was in the bathroom and drained into the tub. DW was really impressed by the high spin rate as seen in this video clip(Click on washer for video). I nicknamed the machine Aeroflot.

 

 

 

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And the clothes came out ready for the dryer.

 

 

 

 

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Here's the view from the bedroom window.

 

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So after a good nights sleep we met with a guide for a 4 hour "shopping"

tour. The first order of business is a Metro card to ride, and then to learn, the system. It opens the gate with a wave, and a long escalator ride down to the train.

 

 

 

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We rode to the Sportivnaya Stadium to pick up some tickets for the Blackmore's Night concert that we would be attending , pictured in the lower left corner. We also received some dollars back because they had over charged us.

 

 

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We wanted to return on the bus to learn how to use the system so we could be on our own. We then had our guide take us grocery shopping at the local supermarket. Behind this Metro station is the ПИК (Peak) shopping center with the sign in the upper right corner.

 

 

 

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Beneath the shopping center is a 24 hour supermarket called ПЕРЕКРЕСТОК ( English-Perrycrosstock which means Crossroad).

 

 

 

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It has almost everything we needed , including eggs with numbers !!!

 

 

 

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Thank you scubacruiser again for all the info and photos. We will be leaving in a few weeks and your thread has caused much anticipation in visiting SPB. :)

 

Dolfans from Miami

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My sister and I will be sailing on NCL Star May 7 and stopping in St. Petersburg for 2 days--I seem to recall a recommendation for a tour company that was better than the ship--anyone have any experience?

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My sister and I will be sailing on NCL Star May 7 and stopping in St. Petersburg for 2 days--I seem to recall a recommendation for a tour company that was better than the ship--anyone have any experience?

 

 

There's a ton of information about the different tour guides in St P. Here's a thread to get you started http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1640607

 

I suggest you contact them right away since you're sailing in less than a month!

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To all the first time vistors to St. Petersburg: We thank you for allowing us to become part of your trip. For me , visiting St. Petersburg for the first time was a little like the birth of our first child . There was a lot of planning , cost , anticiptation and labor (My DW had the labor part ! ). But , it was all worth the wait and we enjoyed our child (And st. Pete) so much, that we did it again - a couple of times ! Wanderlust17 - We were booked on the same cruise as you with our grandson but out daughter changed her mind , so we had to cancel. How we wish that we could be there ! To answer your question . We think that all of the private tours offer a better experience and have few , if any complaints. We used Denrus on our cruise and them and another private guide on our subsequent visits - with decreasing frequency as we have become more comfortable , on our own. Most visitors to St. Pete will give good to great reviews of the many companies that now offer guide services. The time is short so you should get busy so you can get the most from this beautiful city. Here is a link to tripadvisors reviews of guides. It up to you and your sister to find the best "fit". Best wishes, Joe

 

 

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g298507-Activities-St_Petersburg_Northwestern_District.html

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The link above will not take you to the rankings of guides. You need to click on the Activities (89) button under the bold Things to do in St. Petersburg heading to see the rankings and comments.

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Hi Scuba

Going on the Star and SPB for tour in St Petersburg

Very excited and going solo!

I just found out that I can hire a driver after the tour for three hours

I wanted to take a look at retail in Russia (I'm a buyer ) but would like to be out

and about in a non tour group. Do you have any suggestions about what to see?

Thanks much!

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Joe, thanks for all the photos, especially of the areas those of us only there for 2 days don't get to see. From my time there in 2010 I made these :

 

The Fountains of Peterhof

 

The Catherine Palace at Pushkin

 

Peter and Paul Fortress/Cathedral

 

St Isaac's Cathedral

 

Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood

 

The Winter Palace/Hermitage State Museum

 

The Yusupov Palace

 

It's easy enough to do them all (time-wise), plus a canal tour and the ballet, assuming you are up for a busy two days. All the best, Tony

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Hi Scuba

Going on the Star and SPB for tour in St Petersburg

Very excited and going solo!

I just found out that I can hire a driver after the tour for three hours

I wanted to take a look at retail in Russia (I'm a buyer ) but would like to be out

and about in a non tour group. Do you have any suggestions about what to see?

Thanks much!

 

Hi Grancayman. What type of retail are you interested in? (always thought being a buyer would be really neat). There is Gostiniy Dvor and Galleria (multi story mall). If you schedule a "shopper" through one of the tour companies, they are very knowledgable. We used one our last visit and she was much more than a shopper. It was really enjoyable.

If you would like more specific info, you may contact me at scubacruiserx2@gmail.com

 

 

Galleria

 

 

 

IMG_3367.jpg

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Joe, thanks for all the photos, especially of the areas those of us only there for 2 days don't get to see. From my time there in 2010 I made these :

 

The Fountains of Peterhof

 

The Catherine Palace at Pushkin

 

Peter and Paul Fortress/Cathedral

 

St Isaac's Cathedral

 

Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood

 

The Winter Palace/Hermitage State Museum

 

The Yusupov Palace

 

It's easy enough to do them all (time-wise), plus a canal tour and the ballet, assuming you are up for a busy two days. All the best, Tony

 

 

Thanks Tony for your great videos. When we're in the UK in Sept. , you gotta show me how to edit . Got some good stuff that needs editing ! Thanks, Joe

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After spending the day with a guide , we felt better equipped to try things on our own. We had noticed the day before, that most people didn't speak to each other when shopping for groceries. This was fine with us , having limited skills speaking Russian. Most of what we know comes from this book and a 6 CD set that came with it.

 

 

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I would be doing most of the shopping since my wife had sprained her ankle in Ireland, the week before. Watching people, in the store, helped me learn the system for buying fruit and veggies. Select the number next to the picture and type it into the scale. Weigh the fruit on the scale. Attach the print out to the bag. Fruit buying for Dummies in Russia.

 

 

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Purchases sucessfully made, without having to speak a word ! When we travel , we try to blend in . I had my camouflage on , smart casual and good walking shoes , (heels for ladies) , so I looked local. As I ascended the stairway - there she was ! Babushkia Alert ! With my hands full , I summoned up the courage to speak in Russian. "Good morning ! how is it going?" I asked , hoping not to sound disrespectful. She gave me a funny look , and said in english - " I don't speak Russian" . I asked where she was from and to told me " Canada". " Well I don't speak Canadian", I replied. We had a nice visit with her and her husband , but they were leaving the next day. It seemed funny that our neighbor in Russia , was a neighbor to the U.S.

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When visiting any country, we try to learn the basic phrases. Hello , good bye , please and thank you , and where is the bathroom ? A key phrase to ask is " do you speak english ? ", in the native language . We have always had good results - even if we mess it up ! People appreciate the try and may even enjoy a laugh at the attempt - but it's a good ice breaker. The only exception is when speaking to an official. When dining out we look for a menu in english posted in the window. It usually implies that someone will speak english. Of course , not all restaurants may appeal to your taste, We passed this one by.

 

 

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All little further down the street , we found a menu that we liked , at a gastro pub called The Other Side . The owner , Doug , is an American married to a Russian. He's pictured here with a WWII vet on Victory Day 2009.

 

 

 

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The first dinner that we ate in 2011, was at his restaurant. Doug wasn't there when we first went , but we had a nice dinner anyway. Midway through dinner we were approached by these two young ladies. I guess my greeting was passable Russian because they launched into an extended sales pitch in Russian. After a couple of minutes , she stopped speaking. We explained that we didn't speak much Russian . so she gave the same pitch - this time in english ! We have found that many young people speak english - especially the ladies.

 

 

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The next morning , DW's ankle was still giving her some trouble , so she asked to rest and elevate it while I went for a walk. There is something very liberating about walking around , on your own , with no guide . It was a grey day , not very good for photo's , but nice for walking. I walked down to the Neva and the English Embankment. This is where some small cruise ships (The lucky ones ) will dock.

 

 

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Across the river I saw the tall ship МИР (Peace or world) and a church that I had never seen before. I decided to walk over the bridge and explore.

 

 

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After crossing the bridge and turning toward the church , I found this

14th century BC sphinx.

 

 

 

 

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The front of the church

 

 

 

 

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While composing this photo , I heard a scrape , scrape , scraping sound. When I went to see what it was , I found this lady sweeping with a stick broom , who had just aroused a bag lady from her slumber . I felt like I was in The USSR .

 

 

 

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Turning toward the river I noticed a new museum not listed in the guide books. The S-189 Whiskey class submarine.

 

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If you would like to see any of these sights , just ask your guide to ride along the Lt. Schmidt Embankment when leaving or returning to the cruise port. Turning inland , toward the Metro , I walked down Bolshoy Prospect.I like the traffic lights that count down.

 

 

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A little further was this Fire station.

 

 

 

 

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I found this poster for a Elena Vaenga concert interesting

 

 

 

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And this one , for the Circus , amusing.

 

 

 

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We were really excited to see a rock concert in St. Petersburg. We had great seats. 7th row , center aisle , dead center. We didn't know the name of the opening act but we really enjoyed them.

 

 

 

 

A throng of camera people sat up next to us in the aisle , snapping many pictures and videos. This made me feel much better about bringing DW's camera. We took some quick videos , but I urged her to save the battery for the main act, Blackmore's Night . There was a long intermission between acts , and I noted some extra security people. Jackets with men talking into their cuffs is always a giveaway. I explained to my wife how Deep Purple was one of Medvedev's favorites rock bands and Richie Blackmore had been that band's former guitarist. I half expected The President's attendance. As the first song began , my wife started filming this video clip.

 

 

 

 

 

We were instantly blinded by a bright flash light and a warning. We were not the only rascals as we noted others doing the same. In each case, the offender was marked by a red laser from above , on the back of the head ,followed by a brief encounter. And then a funny thing happened. People walked down the aisle , to the stage , carrying flowers. They each had a turn , presenting their flowers , and exchanging a greeting to the singer. The pattern had formed and was repeated after every song ! On some of the songs , we had a sing along (In english) ! So, the moral of the story ? In Russia, bring flowers and meet the star ! No photos please.

 

 

Candice and Richie

 

 

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We had another gray day weather wise , so we decided to go to Smolny Cathedral to take some pictures. We had visited Lenin's office in 2009 , but didn't get to see the cathedral. After the Metro ride , we chose to walk the remaining distance. Along the way we saw this statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the chief of the soviet secret police- The Cheka.

 

 

 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Dzerzhinsky

 

 

In the Smolny garden we found this bust of Karl Marx.

 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Marx

 

 

 

Also one of Engels.

 

 

 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Engels

 

 

We later found out that a similar bust of Lenin and Stalin had been removed from the garden. After we took our pictures of the cathedral , we went to see Kresty (crosses ) Prison.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kresty_Prison

 

 

 

Here's a picture of a window in the prison with the prison across the river.

 

 

 

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This strange sphinx is a monument is the Victims to political repression memorial.

 

 

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It is said the the one side of the sphinx faces the side where a beautiful ballerina once lived. The skull side faces the prison across the river.

 

 

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I thought the billboard in the background , captures the "New" vs the "Old" theme of modern Russia.

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Thank you so much for posting all these photos & giving so much info. i have just read through everything. My husband & I are in SPB for 3 full days at the end of June & we booked a private guide & driver to take us around. I wonder if you recall what the rules are at the Hermitage & at Peterhof, at Catherine's Palace, etc regarding taking in purses, small backpacks, water containers. I have read that some places do not allow you to wear 'outer' garments which I presume means coats but does it also mean vests with pockets which is what we wear to carry our personal items.

 

Any info would be helpful in advance.

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