From Finland (Helsinki & Kouvola) the Allegro train will take you in a couple of hours to St Petersburg – Russia. This is a great opportunity if you are visiting Finland for a couple of weeks. You’ll still have to get a Tourist visa to enter Russia and a certificate from your hotel. After filling a immigration card in the train, your passport will be controlled by Russia Border Police at your seat. No queueing and no waste of time!
We took the train from Kouvola after our Little Finnish Road Trip and arrived Finlyandskiy vokzal (St Petersburg train station) at 10am. Under a pouring rain, we rushed into the metro to buy a Tolkien! Tolkiens are the metro ticket of St Petersburg, they look a lot like coins and we were a bit confused when they were handed to us. After a small nap at our hotel – Nevsky Hotel (which I would definitely recommend: very clean, helpful staff and excellent location) and a few struggles with the safe box (best to keep your passport and others valuables safe). We were ready to explore the city!
Well, almost! Time to eat first! Gogol was our first (but not last!) choice. The restaurant looks very classy although the prices are more than reasonable for the quality of the food. We ate like never before for only 20€ for two! You will have to try the crab raviolis, Russian salad and of course (if you’re a fan) caviar.
Its with full stomachs and under a grey (but dry) sky that we are then walking toward St Isaac Cathedral.
The view of the city from the balcony is worth the fee. From there you can see all the famous monuments but also a lot of golden domes, golden spires, golden gold everywhere!
The inside of the cathedral is breath-taking and rich with golden decorations and paintings. It reminded me of St Peter basilic in Roma, smaller but not less decorated!
We then carry on our little exploration toward The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, emblematic of St Petersburg.
We crossed the bank bridge and walked along the canal to admire the view as the Church of the Saviour was getting closer.
I have to say, this church really lives up to its reputation, truly astonishing! A must see in St Petersburg, even if you’re in the city just for a couple of hours!
The inside is truly amazing as well with its blue mosaics.
After a few tourist obligations (post card, souvenir etc ) at the Singer House (which also house a coffee shop), we wondered along the bank of the Neva by night.
When our feet begged for mercy, we stopped for a light lunch in Gosti (nice food but our favorite remains Gogol).