It’s been a while since I’ve had a new destination pop up on my roster, so you can imagine how excited I was to visit the wonderful city of St Petersburg, Russia. Not only that, I was rostered to fly with my lovely friend Sebastian!
As you can imagine, we had a great flight – working with friends makes the time fly.
We touched down in St Petersburg in the afternoon, and despite having high hopes for good weather to do as much sightseeing as possible, unfortunately luck was not on our side and it was pouring with rain.
After a quick freshen up in our rooms we met again to make a plan for the afternoon. It was already starting to get late and with the rain lashing down we knew we wouldn’t be able to do as much strolling around the city as previously hoped, so having spotted a sign for the ballet in the reception, we decided to go ahead and book that.
We’d need to be back at the hotel just after 7pm for the ride to the theatre, so had a couple of hours to do a bit of sightseeing and get some dinner. Armed with a map and umbrella, we were on our way!
Our first stop was the beautiful Hermitage and the Winter Palace.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go inside, so I will have to save that for my next trip to St Petersburg! From 1732 to 1917 the Winter Palace was the official residence of the Russian monarchs, and now forms part of the buildings housing the Hermitage Museum.
I just love the beautiful turquoise and gold colours of the building!
Once you walk around to the other side of the Winter Palace, you are in the Palace Square, which was being set up for a concert and military parade the next day.
We made our way towards a restaurant the concierge had market out for us on the map, called Restaurant YAT. Despite most of the signs only being in Russian (and neither of us being able to speak or read Russian!) we managed to find it without too much difficulty.
We tried some delicious Russian specialities, including Borscht (a beetroot soup – sounds strange, tasted delicious!), mince meat-filled dumplings with sour cream, and “cutlets”, which were similar to croquettes, however made with meat. All of it was delicious and I can definitely recommend the restaurant if you’re looking for somewhere homely and cosy, with waiters who speak excellent English!
Sadly there was no time for dessert, so we made our way back to the hotel just in time for the shuttle to the ballet, passing by the Winter Palace once more.
Since we hadn’t planned it in advance I hadn’t brought any smarter clothes with me, and felt slightly out of place in my jeans and converse!
The theatre, although it wasn’t one of the biggest, was a beautiful building with an even more impressive interior.
The performance of Swan Lake was just amazing, and it felt very surreal to be in the home of ballet. Unfortunately it seemed that half of the audience had never been to the theatre or a ballet performance before, as they were constantly on their phones, taking pictures and videoing. Someone had even brought a toddler who understandably did not want to be there, and was shouting and crying during the performance, which spoiled it somewhat.
We still really enjoyed Swan Lake, and if you’re in St Petersburg on a rainy day I would absolutely recommend a trip to the ballet!
The next morning there was just time to squeeze in a workout and some breakfast together, as well as a quick stroll to pick up a magnet and postcard (and a Russian doll for Sebastian’s sister!) before it was time to make our way back to the airport.
Such a shame the weather brightened up just as we were leaving and the sun finally made an appearance!
Hopefully I won’t have to wait another 4,5 years before getting a trip to St Petersburg, as there’s so much more that I’d like to see!