Travel: Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Never thought I would be celebrating my 25th birthday in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. I always need to be that extra, I mean, I’m a quarter of a century, this needs to be celebrated, I did never imagne growing this old when I was a teenager. Get some popcorn and maybe your passport too, as you’ll be booking a trip to Russia after reading this.

Hotel: Best Western Plus Centre Hotel

We put in a lot of time to search for a good hotel and to be honest we did a very good job. Our hotel was near not only one but two metro stations and for only 45₽ (€0.60) you can get everywhere you want in Saint Petersburg.

Not only our location was good but the service was also very good. We had wifi in the room, which was great for keeping our family and friends up to date, we could even do a videochat without any problems. Beside that the breakfast was very simple but good enough for me, you got something for everyone.

Guided boat tour

On the day we arrived I scheduled a boat tour with GetYourGuide. I wanted to squize this in our first day because I knew we’d already be tired but also wanted to explore immediately. It was only €56 for two persons and we’d see St Petersburg at sunset.

It’s the perfect start of your citytrip as you see a lot of beautiful things while resting (and freezing) for a while. The guide was very informative and we learned a lot! I highly recommend doing a (guided) boat trip because the view you get is amazing!

Church on the savior on blood

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I was a bit dissapointed that the church was not in his best conditions, as they were working on the top. Besides that the church is still very impressive to see, the artchitecture is amazing and I can honestly say it’s the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen, inside and outside.

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I’ve never been so amazed by entering a church before entering this one. In Belgium our churches are also beautiful but the most impressive thing is the art windows, here as you can see they painted every corner, even the ceiling, little details everywhere and it’s so beautiful. This, I also highly recommend visiting when you’re in the city.

The Swan Lake at The Hermitage

Going to see the opera or ballet was definently on our to do list because Saint Petersburg is known for both. We decided to choose ballet as opera isn’t really our thing (neither is ballet but we appreciate it more).

Luckily enough The Swan Lake was performing while we were in the city! We decided to book it at The Hermitage because it was recommended by Maxim’s gaming friend who lives in Saint Petersburg. It was not cheap at all, we paid €345,66 for two persons but, which I personally think is a little overpriced.

Petrodvorets, ‘The Russian Versailles’

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On day three we had to decide between visiting Petrodvorets and Catharina Palace in Pushkin. We decided to go to Petrodvorets and we did our journey by train, you can also book a guided tour with the bus from Saint Petersburg but that’s a bit too touristic for us.

After being on the train for about an half hour we were stupid enough to walk to the palace which took us over an hour, when we returned to the station we were a bit smarter and took a bus for only 40₽ (€0.53). After we arrived we wandered around in Peter the great’s old garden for a while, taking a rest from our walk and taking some pictures.

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Ofcourse we didn’t came all this way not to visit the palace where Peter the great used to vacation. The guided tour was in Russian, I’m not sure if it was able to get one in English because we simply didn’t ask. But even without a guide, you can read the small boards and you’re just simply amazed by every room the guide’s voice might not even be loud enough to comprehend.

Food and drinks

We didn’t really eat a lot but from the places we decided to go, I can highly recommend some of them. Food is very cheap, as is everything in Russia but that’s only because it looks cheap to us, as our monthly wage is higher.

If you’re looking for a snack I can highly recommend getting some corn from a lady on the street, it’s very popular in Russia to eat it like this so you’ll mix right in with the locals, we had two corns for only 300₽ (€4).

As some of you know I have a big interest in vegan food but am not 100% vegan. However it was a challenge to find something vegan in the country of meat-lovers. I found Ra Family, a raw vegan cafe only 700m from our hotel. We ate some borscht, a 100% Russian beetroot soup and after that we ordered some sushi and a burger which took way too long to make, as everything is made fresh but it’s a waste of time when you’re traveling.

Our guide from the boat trip recommend us to eat at Gogol, it was a more fancier restaurant then we expected and they pelmeni (a typical Russian delicious meal) was sold out, which is why we tried the vareniki with cherries, not our thing but atleast we tried it!

After our two course meal at Gogel we were still a bit hungry to be honest, it was our last night and I wanted to explore the shopping mall near our hotel, were we found another great restaurant called ‘баклажан’ which is basicly eggplant. We ate some fried pelmeni, did some souvenir shopping and enjoyed our last night in this beautiful city.

Let’s do some math

€348.72 (flight/2) + €201 (hotel/breakfast/2) + €143,18 (visa/1) + €60 (travelinsurance/2) = €756,90 – This was what we spend without even entering Russia. It’s really hard to remember how much money we spend on everything, I might forget small things. So he here are our other expenses for four days: €250 (food/2) + €15 (transport/2) + €85 (touristic visits/2) + €345.66 (Ballet/2) + €200 (extra/souvenirs/2). That means our whole trip cost us €1652.56

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