Sweet St. Petersburg, Russia

Here are some moments or things I found “sweet” while in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Russia’s version of an Asian “Tuk Tuk”…


Brides, one Groom, and one Mother…


Because I shoot in Manual and not auto or aperture, I have to react quickly in these types of situations…


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Peterhof Palace and Gardens – truly amazing!

We visited the dazzling Peterhof Palace and Gardens on our last day in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Built by Peter by the Great in the 18th Century, Peterhof is spectacular!  The Palace was closed because it was a Monday, but we were most interested in the gardens anyway.  I had the visit scheduled on the itinerary for the previous day, but it was rainy and we definitely wanted a pretty day for our visit.

We walked 10 minutes from our lodging at Comfort Hotel to the Pier with Lions embankment on the canal where we boarded a 40 minute Hydrofoil boat to Peterhof.

Upon arrival, there is a beautiful 10 minute walk to the centerpiece of the complex, the Grand Cascade and Samson Fountain in front of the Palace.


Even with my wide-angle lens, I wasn’t able to capture the entire complex!


The gardens are also referred to as the “Russian Versailles”.


The creativity is astounding!


You can barely view the sea in the distance…


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St. Isaac’s Cathedral and Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

Built in the mid-1800’s, St. Isaac’s Cathedral is the fourth largest Cathedral in the world and its main dome stands 333 ft. high and is plated in pure gold!  An interesting fact: the Cathedral sits on 10,000 tree trunks that were sunk into the ground.


With a church of this size, it’s impossible to convey what the interior feels like, but here are a few photos…


part of the ceiling…



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Church of the Savior on Blood

A visit to St. Petersburg, Russia isn’t complete until you step inside the ornate and gorgeous Church of the Savior on Blood!  The multi-colored exterior and medieval Russian architecture of the Church draw millions of visitors per year.


Intricately detailed and colorful mosaics cover the walls and ceilings of the Church…


The Church was finished in 1907 and erected on the site where Alexander II was mortally wounded.




This was my favorite of the four Churches/Cathedrals we visited while in St. Petersburg!

Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg, Russia

While planning my trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, I discovered the St. Petersburg Card, which includes free entrance to over 60 of the best museums in the city, free or discounted tours, and a rechargeable transport e-purse.  I purchased three of them, one for myself and the two tour participants I was taking on the trip, and had them delivered to the Comfort Hotel, where we would be staying, to save the time spent having to walk to one of the pick-up locations.  Anyway, one of the tours is a free hop-on/hop-off canal cruise, so we took that to see the Peter and Paul Fortress.


The Peter and Paul Fortress was the first structure to be built-in St. Petersburg, therefore, its birthplace.  There are quite a few buildings,  museums, and exhibitions to explore, and the beautiful Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Russia’s oldest church and final resting place for most of Russia’s imperial rulers.


The interior of the Cathedral was sumptuous!

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Dazzling, Massive, Exquisite — The Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace

Walking into the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace I was naive thinking I could see most everything in two or three hours.  This place is beyond enormous!  There are over 1,000 rooms and halls, 1,786 doors, and 1,945 windows!  I read that if you were to spend one minute looking at each item, you would be there for 11 years!   The Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and most respected art museums in the world.


Having just arrived via ship that morning from Finland, we only had 2 1/2 days to explore St. Petersburg, Russia, through the Visa-free passage, hence the limited time allotted for each site.

While pushing my way through throngs of crowds, I was happy to have my wide angle lens!  I was able to get very close to the roped off areas to take my photo…


Some of the smaller details are just exquisite!


The Museum was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great.

According to Wikipedia, “The Hermitage buildings served as a home and workplace for nearly a thousand people, including the Imperial family. In addition to this, they also served as an extravagant showplace for all kinds of Russian relics and displays of wealth prior to the art collections. Many events were held in these buildings including masquerades for the nobility, grand receptions and ceremonies for state and government officials.”


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Visiting St. Petersburg , Russia for 72 hours Visa Free

If you’d like to visit St. Petersburg, Russia without having to go through the hassle and expense of obtaining a Visa, you have the option of taking an overnight ferry from Helsinki.  The St. Peter Line Princess Maria ferry leaves at 6:00pm from the West Harbor in Helsinki and arrives the next morning in St. Petersburg at 8:30am, and you have two nights and almost three full days in St. Petersburg before returning!

We arrived to the Helsinki West Harbor ferry on June 17th around 4:15pm and it was a rather quick boarding process.  They say no food or drink may be brought aboard, but I had a small bag of food (coffee, crackers, pasta, nuts, chocolate) in my suitcase.  When you’re booking the transport/cabins on the St. Peter Line website, you’ll have an option to book meals, and I chose “without meals”.  There are a variety of restaurants for dinner and breakfast that you can choose from once on board.  The alcoholic drinks are very reasonably priced.

The total round-trip cost for the transport/cabins/fuel/harbor fees/city bus tour (shuttle) for three people was 266 Euros (not including food) – a great deal!


This is what the B-cabin looks like.  Small, but adequate with a bathroom.  After dropping our luggage in the rooms, we went to the top deck for a drink.


These are some of the restaurants and entertainment areas on-board…

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