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St Petersburg (Russia)

St Petersburg (Russia)
  I'm hoping to go away for a long weekend in February and St Petersburg is quite appealing - has anyone been? If so, would you recommend it or am I being daft in thinking of it at such a chilly time of year?


Answers:

It's extremely easy to spend a full day inside the Hermitage alone! I should think that if you wrapped up well then it is worthwhile to visit in winter time. Not been personally in the dead of winter, but if you think you can handle the cold, then why not? At least there'll be fewer tourists around than in the summer.


Answers:

I went one summer, it was roasting hot!
I liked it, it is a bit different than the usual city break haunts.
Go to the Hermatige, The Church on the Spilled Blood, we got a canal trip (but not sure if they are on in winter). We also got a little tired of Russian cuisine having been in Russia for a number of days and ended up at the Hotel Euopra and eating BLTs on the terrace. I would also recomend their toilets...
I also recommend you learn a few basic words, that was invaluable. We learned please (pushaslta) thank you (spasiba) and 4 beers (satiri pivo) - I have written them phonetically!


Answers:

Not been personally in the dead of winter, but if you think you can handle the cold, then why not?
I'd be fine, still get childishly over-excited by snow, but Mr T is less keen unfortunately. We always do a short trip in February and he's still not quite forgiven me for the weather in Prague, so we'll have to see!
Thanks for the info though, hope it will get the chance to be put to use. The phrases are especially welcome, we always try a little of the language with varying degrees of success (again, Prague was not one of our finer efforts what with all the "cvz"!).


Answers:

It was spectacularly cold when I went a few Aprils ago (although we were told it was unseasonably so), but well worth it. Loads to see and do, quite apart from the rather intimidating Hermitage which we dealt with by doing a 'celeb spot' tour (ie only saw the really famous stuff, ignored the rest!), but do make time to see the Peacock Clock. It's spectacular. Oh, and the Museum of Hygiene was a favourite - deserted, with a mangy old model of Pavlov's dog (claimed it was the stuffed original - we had our doubts).
My parents went a few years ago, and have some picture of the summer palace outside the city which looks incredible, but may well not be open at this time of year.
Language was a problem - there was hardly any English (or any other Western European language) spoken, so it's vital to learn those few words as Scotsburd suggests. Also make sure you have things like the name of your hotel and the road it's on written down in formal cyrillic - we didn't (a friend who lived there had written it down in the informal style for us) and it caused umpteen problems trying to find it.
The Idiots Tearoom (I think that was the name - anyway, they're a famous hangout, shouldn't be difficult to trace via a guidebook) and the Alligator/Crocodile (can't remember which!) were particuarly good eating and drinking venues. Other than that, if you're a vegetarian - as my friend was at the time - the choices were rather limited although this may well have changed since.
Overall, well worth the trip.
PS It's not so much the snow as the arctic wind off the river...brrr!





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