We changed our plan at the last minute and decided to visit St Catherine Palace, following the advice of russian friend. After taking the blue line to Kupchino (end of the line), we jumped into another marshrutka (bus/van that serve the city where the metro hasn’t arrived yet. Be prepared, the driver never speaks english and there is no indications on the stops) to Tsarkoe Sello (litteraly the house of Tzars). After the usual little struggle with the driver to make him understand where we wanted to go, we arrived at St Catherine Park.
It was with great joy that we saw no queue at the ticket office! You will have to leave your bagpack (even small ones) to the free cloackroom. Don’t try to sneak in with it, you will be told off by a very Staline-like guard. Although there is no queue at the ticket office, there is a lot of visitors and you might have to queue to enter and exit the first immense room. It is really worth it! The hall is white porcelain with red curtains and looks like a huge wedding cake. Once in the Throne hall (we are still looking for the throne) you will be stunned by the amound of gold and mirrors. A russian Gallery des Glaces (Versailles) – with an increadible amount of gold.
A few more pretty rooms before the highlight of the visit: the amber room. Litterally: a room covered in meticulously carved ambers. Obviously pictures are not allowed as they sell you the postcard in the Pallace shop.
Don’t skip on the visit of the humongous park, they give you a map at the entrance for this one (see City Break – St Petersburg – Day 2).
We had lunch in the Old boat house in the park, food is really good and not expensive.
After all this, you will realise it is already 4pm, and join the high street to catch you marshrutka like a real russian.
Once back in the center, we had just the time to have a quick glance inside St Peter and Paul fortress and more precisely St Peter cathedral where are burried the remains of all Russians Tzars including the Romanov (Princess Anastasia story is well explained – in english as well).
Good night St Petersburg, tomorrow is our last day. We have completely fallen for you, we don’t want to leave.