I bidded for Russia this month so I was over the moon when I was given 48 hours in Saint Petersburg! I was really looking forward to the trip and it was a lovely departure time of 3:30pm out of Dubai and only 5 and a half hours over to Pulkovo Airport in Saint Petersburg.
We arrived around 8pm, so by the time we cleared through immigration and made our way to our hotel in the city, it was nearly 10pm. I ordered some room service and then went straight to bed!
As this was a longer layover, it was nice not to rush around and try to fit in everything in 24 hours! I had a cup of tea in my room and then went downstairs for breakfast about 10am. I then met up with a lovely German girl from my flight called Melisa for a day of sightseeing around the city.
I’d always imagined visiting Russia in the freezing cold but it has just started warming up now and the weather was perfect! A bit chilly in the morning but sunny and blue skies! The hotel concierge recommended us a route around the city, so we took their advice and walked to our first stop – The Peter and Paul Fortress.
We walked around the island but we didn’t go inside the museum. The next stop was over the Palace Bridge and onto the most iconic and famous sight in Saint Petersburg – the Hermitage Museum (Winter Palace). This was definitely the thing I was looking forward to most as I had heard that it was absolutely beautiful inside and out. Unfortunately, as it was a Monday, the museum was closed so instead, we just walked around the outside of it and decided to come back tomorrow to do the inside.
We carried on walking through the city, next in search for The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. We changed up some money, stopped for a quick coffee and walked in the direction of the Church, whilst passing a few other sights along the way!
We reached the Church and it was definitely an impressive sight! The ‘onion domes’ as they call them were beautiful, and so colourful! It was such a shame the top dome was under construction but despite this, it still looked stunning! By this time it was getting really warm too and the sun was beaming down – perfect.
We decided not to go inside the church, and instead sit outside and get some lunch as we were feeling hungry at this point. We had a look at all the touristy stalls nearby selling Russian dolls, which I LOVE, and then we found a restaurant right on the canal by the Church called Cha Cha. I wanted to try the typically Russian dumplings so I ordered some of them along with a bean soup dish.
We then walked to our last stop of the day, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which was recommended to us as a ‘must see’. We bought both tickets to go inside the Cathedral and also to go to the top of the dome to see the panoramic views of the city. We was both blown away at the beauty of the Cathedral, it was absolutely stunning. There was so much detail everywhere you looked. I have been to the Vatican Cathedral in Rome, but I honestly thought St. Isaac’s was more beautiful.
We then walked up the 262 step, spiral staircase, to the very top of the dome to see the gorgeous views of the city. You could see everything from the top, and with the great weather and clear skies it was absolutely perfect!
It was now about 6pm, so we walked back over the bridge and started to make our way back towards the hotel as out feet were killing from all the walking. Although everything is in the same area, each of the different sights are quite a walk away from each other so we was well and truly exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel! We stopped off at a little supermarket to stock up on some snacks and I finally got my hands on Russia’s most famous chocolate, Alenka. Not quite Cadbury’s Dairy Milk but it did the job!
I relaxed for a little bit then decided to go down to the spa in the hotel as the Russian crew recommended it. Wow – it was amazing! There were so many different pools, hot tubs and rooms, warm, hot and ice cold! I met Melisa down there and a couple of other crew and we tried each of the different pools. It was so relaxing and just what we needed after a long day of pounding the streets!
I came back to the room, ordered some room service and then caught up on The Only Way is Essex.
The next morning, we had originally planned to visit Peterhof which is a beautiful Palace and gardens just outside of Saint Petersburg but the weather was very grey and miserable and it was expected to rain later on so we thought we’d leave that for next time, and instead, go inside the Hermitage Museum as it was open today! We got there about 11am and queued up to get our ticket.
Melisa actually showed her old student card and managed to get in for free which was a bonus! Shame I forgot mine, although it was only 700 rubles which I didn’t think was too bad. We entered the museum and made our way up the grand staircase onto each of the different rooms.
The place was breathtaking and every room you entered got better and better. The museum is predominantly art and culture and I wouldn’t say I’m much of an art enthusiast so we skipped a lot of the rooms and notable paintings. I was much more interested in the fancy ceilings and posh chandeliers!
It is absolutely huge and we wandered around for a couple of hours. The only thing that ruined it, was the masses of tour groups. It was hard to walk around in some areas as there were so many people so it made the whole experience a bit stressful!
We then decided to call it a day and come back to the hotel early and get some rest before the flight. It was good we did this as it started to rain just as we left. I stopped off for a quick hot dog on the way back and then we made our way over the bridge and back towards the hotel.
After we got back, I went down to the spa again to have a quick dip in the hot tub before the pick up. I also managed to squeeze in a nap too. I had such an amazing layover in Saint Petersburg and I am so glad I bidded for Russia. I had a great day with Melisa seeing all the sights and now I cannot wait to visit Moscow!
Thanks for reading.
Kerry May xo