Grand old St Petersburg

Being some 550 years younger than Moscow, I can’t justifiably label St Pete’s as old, but grand certainly fits the bill.

From the opulent ballrooms of the Hermitage – where it’s difficult to remember to look at the paintings – to the seven thousand square metres of mosaics inside the Church on Spilled Blood (see photo – my second favourite building since parts resemble Moscow’s St Basil’s) – to the elaborate, towering building fronts lining Nevsky Prospekt – St Pete’s is a city which brings out grand actions.

We might be backpackers, sleeping in budget family homestay accommodation and eating at an ‘unexpensive’ Russian cafe recommended by our charming host Valentina, but my mother and I splashed out yesterday on a cocktails and wine people-watching session at the streetside Grand Hotel Europe, examining the locals as they thronged past down Nevsky in the lae afternoon.


  1. I am going to visit this city some day. I would like to see it during so called white nights. The only thing that scares me is that I don’t know if it’s a safe place anymore.

    • Ele, I haven’t been for a few years, I went in 2003 and 2006 I think – so I really don’t know, but each visit I felt quite safe – the second time I travelled there with my mother and so we were just two women there and it was fine. We were there in summer both times though and so we were never out when it was dark – not sure if that makes a difference?

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