HF Holidays Leisure Activities Product Manager Jane Sedgwick tells of her adventures in Russia:
“I decided it was time to go and see for myself just what the attraction was about St Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia, so off I went for a 5 night stay at the Hotel Azimut, situated on the banks of the Fontanka river.
The Russian authorities let me in, complete with my Russian visa stamped in my passport.
November is probably not the best time of year to go to Russia, but it wasn’t crowded, and we could walk quite easily through the main attractions of the Hermitage, St Catherine’s Palace and the Peterhof.
It was dark until 10.15 each morning, so doing a city tour on the first morning at 9am in pitch black was interesting to say the least!
There was a biting chill wind blowing in from the north, which gave us a good excuse to have a shot of Russian vodka at 10am that day!
I was most impressed by the Church on Spilled Blood, with its floor to ceiling mosaics, built on the spot where Alexander II was assassinated.
We also had a whistlestop tour of the Winter Palace, home of the Hermitage art gallery.
Apparently if you do the full tour, you can walk 26 km!
I was amazed by the obvious wealth in the churches and the palaces, and they were so large as well. It was hard to imagine that many of them were completely destroyed in the 2nd World War, and have been painstakingly and lovingly restored to their former glory.
All in all, a successful trip, and I can completely understand why St Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia.”