Travel Tuesday: Saint Petersburg – Peterhof
The conference T was at had organized tours and the emails & handouts were a bit alarming sounding, with the general theme being “we have found that visitors do best when they stick together in tour groups with an English speaking guide.” As expected, this was very overstated. Saint Petersburg is not dangerous if you are not being stupid (save pickpockets, which are in almost all major cities) and you generally can get around fairly easily.
Most of the tours were overpriced, and I am generally a bit hesitant about tours in general, so I ended up not going on any of them. I did join an independent free walking tour the first day, then decided to head off to Peterhof on my own for my second day. For simplicity, I took the quickest and easiest (but also most expensive) transportation route, a nice little boat ride across the gulf of Finland.
Peterhof is a series of palaces and gardens laid out on the orders of Peter the Great, sometimes referred as the “Russian Versailles”. Pictures are best.
This is the most stunning part of the grounds, so I am not going to share any more. There were many buildings you could (pay extra to) tour, but I spent most of my time wandering the grounds. It was a really nice day.
I’d read online about long queues (or “lines” as we call them here) to get into the palace, but I got in right away, no troubles. I ping ponged around between various English speaking tours groups to hear a little history of the palace as I strolled through. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the palace (and when I tried to be stealthy, I got severely scolded in Russian. Eeek.)
Lunch was crazy expensive for basically a crappy sandwich and a coke. I think it was close to $15. After lunch, I walked around for another hour or so, then headed back on the boat for a ride to the main part of the city.