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My introduction to St Petersburg started with a trip to Macdonalds. My tour arrived at the airport and we all got through passport and baggage claim quickly. Except for one lady, her medication was thoroughly checked out by the Russians. I took all my medication, inc steriods and was not stopped. So while we waited my stomach was hungry and was telling me eat something. I had brought snacks and fruit to eat, but had already consumed them on the plane.
At Heathrow Airport, I was instructed to use Special Assistance. My plan was to drop my bag off and go to breakfast. I would have been slow but I would have got there. Special assistance meant sitting in a wheelchair and taken to a holding area. Then ferried onto a people carrier and taken to the gate. I am not a fan of this but it does save my legs. I know this year, that my health is getting worse and my body is telling me to stop travelling. Or at least until my health is better. So I started with some fries. Which was delicous and I am thankful for those machines that make ordering food so much easier. We arrived at out hotel with ten minutes in the room, before we had dinner reservations booked. Helvita Hotel is just off the main road, and is very well located. It is one of the grandest rooms I have ever stayed in. I had a huge double bed, a dressing area and a bath. I did like this hotel very much.
Then before we knew it, we were on our way to the Salko Restaurant. We had a four course meal, starting with a salad, pancakes but due to my wheat intolerance I had potato fritas, then duck and appple followed by cake. I could not even contemplate the cake so refused.
Next day we had a tour, driving to Nevsky Prospekt and Vasilievsky island. We saw the Peter And Paul Fortress. I like how they used their enemies boat ends for their lighthouses.
Then we arrived at one of my bucket lists, the church of the Saviour of the Spilled Blood. It was a shame there was renovation but I loved visiting this. Next time I visit St Petersburg, I hope to see the inside, as it is now a museum.
St Issac’s Cathedral was next which was next to the Hotel Astoria. The same hotel that Hitler had planned reportedly planned to hold a victory banquet in the hotel’s Winter Garden. He was so convinced Leningrad would fall quickly that invitations to the event were printed in advance.
A cathedral we were allowed to enter was St Nicholas, an Baroque Orthodox that we were not allowed to speak in or take pictures off when we were inside. It was beautiful and very grand.
St Petersburg is very grand, with so many beautiful buildings. I have really loved seeing everything that this beautiful city has to offer. We were given an hour to have lunch and some of the group split up. We went to a Italian close by, I ordered the salmon, mash potato and vegetables.
Although it came out very late, it was delicious and was under £10. Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin was our next destination, it is about an hour from central St Petersburg. It was the summer residence of the Tsars. And for me very challenging. It was beautiful and the amber room was spectacular. And one of the biggest questions is what happened to the original amber room ?
And this is was just what I saw on my first day in St Petersburg, Russia. For me it was amazing and I just loved seeing all the things I had read about when I studied Russia history. They lived up to my expectation.