2 days in St Petersburg Russia

May 28, 2015

So last week we were in the Baltic, which is one of my favourite places in the world – you get all that Scandinavian cool and fairytale capitals combined with dark, dramatic history, spectacular architecture and ASTONISHING art. Plus of course  A LOT of pastries (Danish, Swedish, Estonian, Finnish…).

St Petersburg Russia canal



It had been two years since we were last in St Petersburg Russia, and it’s the kind of city you just want to keep on exploring because there’s so much to see. And as much as I love Venice and Rome, I honestly think that St Petersburg is the second most beautiful city in Europe (after London, of course).

The Catherine Palace
















When you see the baroque architecture, those enormous glittering palaces and the pastel rainbow of painted buildings along the Neva river and canals, rose pink and amber and primrose yellow and everything in between – well, it just takes your breath away.

The Winter Palace












We started our visit by returning to The Hermitage, which is housed in the magnificent Winter Palace on the banks of the Neva.

painting by Rembrandt












This time we could take our time and soak up a little more of the magnificent art – I loved this painting by Rembrandt, she has such a great face…

Da Vinci Madonna and Child








…but of course we stopped to look at the two Madonna and Child paintings by Da Vinci, which are always surrounded by crowds, pickpockets (they’re incredibly blatant) and annoying people taking selfies. It’s worth the hassle, though. I adore the blue in this one but don’t you think the child/baby looks kind of creepy?

young man by Michaelangelo













We also marvelled at this wonderful statue by Michaelangelo. So lifelike.

Ceiling in The Hermitage









In Russia whenever you’re visiting an important building or church you always have to remember to look up, because the ceilings are always something special…

parquet floor in the Winter Palace









…but I’m also a bit obsessed with the floors in the Winter Palace – I’d love to have parquet floors like this, wouldn’t you? (Not that it would last very long with the dog, the cat and No 1 Son’s trainers, but still).

The Catherine Palace









In the evening we headed off to the Catherine Palace, which is probably my favourite palace in the world; and even though it had been grey all day, suddenly the sun came out and the sky became a brilliant Prussian blue.

Dancing at the Catherine Palace










We were treated to performances by a violinist, a pianist, and some rather fabulous dancing…

Midnight sun at the Catherine Palace






…but the best thing (apart from being in the palace after hours) was that because it’s the start of the ‘white nights’ in the Baltic, aka the Midnight Sun, it stayed light until really late…

The Catherine Palace










…I took this photo at 10pm, isn’t the sky glorious?

Canal in St Petersburg







And then the following day we went for a boat ride along the Neva and the canals, which gives you a really interesting perspective of the city and its incredible buildings…

trees on the Neva River










…I loved these trees along the riverbank…

Church of the Spilled Blood








…and we stopped at the Church of the Spilled Blood. Everyone always raves about this building (which hasn’t been a church since the Revolution) because of its multi-coloured minarets. I’m never really sure whether I like it, but it did look rather impressive in the afternoon sunshine…

Russian wall tile










…I did like the colours of this wall tile, though, I’m guessing it’s an onion?

Russian peace poster









Our first visit to St Petersburg Russia captured our imagination and our hearts; our second visit just made us want to go back again, and to see even more of this intriguing country. On Saturday night I was watching Eurovision and there were loads of ‘boycott Russia’ tweets on my timeline, but trust me, the Russian people we spoke to feel exactly the same way about the current regime as we do, and Russian history tells us that things can and will change. Right?

*We travelled to Russia on a Baltic cruise on Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess.




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