Few words about St. Petersburg / Pietari in finnish: scroll down
I have always wanted to visit there and wanted to take the train through whole continent.
So surprisingly I just made my firt trip there last year (well august 2014)
That summer we only meant to have a week somewhere + then some time at the summer cottage, since my money situation but with some luck we had a chance to do more & saw new places (more about SRB & BIH later).
JP had his holiday started before me- i meant to work till we leave to Serbia but then we saw some cheap cruises to St. Petersburg & I got all my work done amazingly and so we bought the tickets to SPB (former Petrograd & Leningrad). We bought the tickets few days before & it was cheap, about 100e total for two (included all the requisite fees: harbour, petrol and the shuttle).
We went to the ferry bit too early cos first timers, no queue on passport control, not too many ppl since weekday and well, the press..
Found out also that they have much better serving: they serve cold drinks on the deck- before the ferry even moves! Amazing!!
August 2014 was so hot, so that was perfect & also surreal moment, worked ”24/7” and suddenly on the deck, sun shining, with my bf & cold drink and three weeks off the clock..
Since that March till August (that day we left) I had pretty much been working non-stop..
Had two weekends off whole summer (Midsummer and one other weekend, I think?!)
I had my own office work and then did shifts to grocery – had quite shitty hours there so I was about to burn out (if I already didnt).. so sitting with that cold cider on the deck and had nothing to do was like a Jackpot!!
It took so long for me to relax completely (I still remember the day in Mostar, Bih) but I reminded myself when was about to break at that shitty place that am doing this for our holiday and didnt want to regret not doing as much work as possible- u know what I mean!
Anyway there we were, on our way to Russia! So excited!
The ferry (St Petersline MS Maria) itself is a basic boat, former M/S Finlandia & M/S Queen of Scandinavia (i think it´s very similar than Stena Line´s boat we took from Turku to Stockholm when I was a kid)
So if you are looking similar party boat than Tallinn/Stockholm ones are, honey, you are boarding on a ”wrong” one!
For me, it was just perfect! After months of work and must to speak ppl and listen them, I was super happy there werent that many ppl (like on second time) 😀
Dont get me wrong, there are places to eat, sit, drink, nightclub, tax free, deck (deck bar!), shows, parties etc. I like Ms Maria!
Their other ship is MS Anastasia and it goes also to Tallin, Stockhol & SPB, of course.
We ate there pizza (Napoli Mia)- it was good & not overpriced!
You can also get sushi there but we didnt try it then. Also à la carte is found.
My favourite dessert- place (beside deck bar): Cubar!
Drinks and cigars! What´s better?! 😉
They have a big room next to the bar with cozy sofas and tables and you could also smoke there!
The bar area is smoke-free but it is refreshing (what a word to use here :D) to find a place you can actually smoke inside!! Very good ventilation- not stuffy at all!
I dont smoke, but tasting a good cigar is something else 🙂
Dont remember how much that was but it was a good one- it was JP´s but I had to have some of that too! 🙂
Next trip we made there Oct. 2015 and unfortunately same shitty rules than in Finland have reached them, well not exactly- you could still smoke there on Cubar! BUT they dont sell any cigars anymore (NOT ANY ON BOARD!) cigaretters yeah but who cares 🙁
Also in St.Petersburg we couldnt find any place selling cigars anymore- they do sell cigarettes on same hidden boxes than in Finland and all the cigar clubs – no show :/ and sad, empty humidors..
We visited tens of places and asked and googled and asked our russian friend to help no cigars from Russia..
Total Flames: we are coming to you in Riga!!
Anyway the first trip:
if you buy visa-free trip there´s a shuttle (kinda like dolmus) you must buy a ticket as well, that is great system though, from harbour to the city and back!
That city is huge so without that would be quite lost!
It was beautiful day when we hit St.Petersburg and since weekday we got through the passport control quickly!
There were some more ppl waiting for the shuttle and since us two we got in to the next one and after maybe 10 minutes we were at St.Isaac Square & the church!
Shuttle picks u up from the square as well and they give you the schedule and all the info after you have booked your ferry! Also a lot is found online.
I had just my mom and brother visited there so they also gave some tips to us!
They for example went to St.Isaacs church and when I saw the pics I was like wow! Unbelievable!!
That church was full though and we wanted to see as much as possible you can during one day so we left.
Cos hungry we went pretty much to the first place we saw (mistake as always), right on the corner there is a coffee (french style) and they had a nice terrace and not too many ppl so we went there, sat down and waited.. and waited.. then the waitress came and we ordered.. and waited: our coffees came, we asked some water cos so hot even on the morning, and she brought us a tiny cup, a shot of water..
Asked again how long would it take to get our breakfast (just a simple croissant with ham&cheese x 2) she said soon.. That soon were told few more times.
Others who came after us got their salads and food!
I told to the waitress that we dont want them anymore (that was like an hour after we first showed up oslt.!) that just bring the check, we are about to leave- that came after some waiting (how else) and luckily we had rubles- dont even wanna wonder how much longer the wait would have been without!
They had actually some nice manners too so they had given some discount for the check but still.. Wont go there anymore!
So we left the money to the table and left!!
Next time we visited the City, we joked about going there..
Nevsky Prospekt is right on the corner from the Church, and cos first time there with limited time and russian skills, we decided to walk along Nevsky! That is one huge street, I dont remember how many bridges we passed though but there are still many left..
Nevsky´s length is about 4,5 km and it has five metro stations (some pages tells there are six)
We didnt take metro but saw some stations- those stations are nothing like here.
They have gorgeous paintings and looks so clean!
Next time we hopefully get to stay longer, a night or two in a hotel so get to see more and take a metro as well!
Nevsky P. has a lot to offer, so if you are there for just one day- go there!
There are many small shops, booths, cafes, bars, restaurants, fast food places, gorgeous buildings, canals and SKA (CKA) shop! Visited there both times!
It´s a cool 2 stored shop and you can find pretty much everything!
They had sale last time and I bought SKA-hoody for maybe 20e!
There are stuff for kids too, they sell also tickets to SKA games, posters, pencils etc.
As in pretty much all the shops there and elsewhere we have been, the security guy follows carefully:
went downstairs and looked for the shirts, he was there, looked like he was asleep, leaning back to the desk but when we moved to another room, there he was again seconds after us 🙂
Amusing yeah, but I hear them, we dont look typical tourists and I said amusing cos that has happened so many times, all the countries we have been to, not that we are too loud or has purple hair or so 😀
And that is fine, they follow ppl so also our stuff are safe then, right?!
I would like to go to St.Petersburg / Moscow on spring, for the hockey games!!
Have never been to World Championship hockey games elsewhere than in Finland.
Have seen bunch of KHL games, SM (finnish version= Suomen mestaruus)- games and NHL but would like to go & see champ-games abroad:
Russia is a true hockey country so that would be something!!
Last year they had those in Minsk, Belarus and gave visa free for ppl with hockey ticket!
That was fair!! Haloo 😉
First time we were there it was damn hot so we just walked and had water, ice cream, sat down, had some more to drink, went on, shopped some at SKA-shop and found out there were Harley days!! What a pleasant surprise!!
They had posters on Super-Rally & that sounded fun but we had the holiday ”plan” already done but so it happened while we were there-they were too!!
Just about to start the next day – but there were bikes and people already! What a timing!
We saw many bikes as walking Nevsky but until we saw the Harley / St Petersburg sign didnt remember.. How cool!! Those are always fun so was lil envious too 🙂
After seen the bikes we headed back to meeting point area.
Went to eat to some Italian stylish restaurant, just on the corner of St.Isaac.
Nice terrace, quick service, cold drinks and tasty meals + wifi!!
Trattoria Stefano / Malaya Morskaya 6!
Right in front of there was a massive truck- comparing to ours then, it was huge and had no problem to drive anywhere but parking could be lil troublesome..
After yummy meal and done with the truck pics we jumped to the bus and went back to the ship.
Walking all day, it was just nice to go to the deck and have few cold drinks, watch the city and the sea. What a perfcet day!
Bought some drinks to the cabin and went to bed..
Last time we hit SPB we meant to eat a lil breakfast and later a great Russian meal..
We didnt eat there any dinner, cos we had amazing breakfastlunch!
Just looked for a place to grab some food and all we saw was Burger King & Subway & headed to them,so desperate we were.. but right next to them something else caught my eyes and we saw some cafeteria, almost hidden.. Went to look and got best foodie ever!!
Bloody burgers, Baltika, coffees, water, two pieces of heavenly cake.. Great service- perfect!!
They made also cutest coffees ever!!
We were so full and those burgers were so filling so we ate next time back on Ms Maria.
There are a lot to choose from!
They have menus in english, they speak english & they make yummy food!!
Again.. the name is lost!! I took a look at my pics there and they said it is on Malaya Morskaya ulitsa which is the street heading to Nevsky but dunno..sorry but am lost now!
I highly recommend that place, if you manage to find it..
It´s almost hidden, the entrance is on the side, little back from the windows to the street,
it seems like it is like lower, like on basement oslt.
We stayed on the room next to the counter / bar / kitchen and right next to entrance there are toilets (clean) and next to those is another dining area.
Next time we go to SPB – we definitely go back, I will check the name.. unless anyone recognised this place -do tell me!!
Left cafeteria, walked on, it was quite cold, fresh though so we walked much more than first time!! Plus now we knew more!
Even though took pics last time, had to take some more. T
There are so many great buildings, different styles, historical, canals, bridges, statues..
You are just amazed!
This October we went further and went under ground, to the tunnel, there are also booths and nice things they sell!
Saw ”Led Zeppelin wall clock”, guy who sold us that showed it works and wrapped it & put it to a cardboard box so we had it home safe!! There, on the tunnel, were also other clocks, cups, plates, t-shirts, matryoshka dolls, pieces of jewellery etc.
Next time I will buy another LZ clock since it looks cool&we need another one.
Rest of the time we really spent trying to fine cigars.. Am not kidding!
We asked, googled, asked my friend to check if he knew any places (he´s from Russia) but all gone since the law (we have here as well- not liking it!!), place after place- all empty, asking small shops too, didnt want to leave the shop empty handed so bought another bottle of water or pack of chips and left..
So end of the day we didnt have any cigars but lots of water and chips + Snickers..
Since you can bring just a little alcohol we didnt buy it in SPB but bought another bottle of Devils Cut (nice price on Tax Free shop) since we tasted that on the night before and it was good!! So wanted to bring another too! Taste good 🙂
It was too cold so we didnt stay at the deck this time but went to have some pizza (since still full of that juicy burger/cake), had a drink or too at the bar – missing that cigar..
Long story short: I suggest you visit SPB!
Visa free travels, day cruise or 2 nights in a hotel is possible, check for special sales!
If you can leave any time, choose any weekday (except friday of course)!!
On August we left on wednesday and that was perfcet, not too many ppl and no need to wait, on October we had to leave on friday & it was packed – especially the passport control -waiting&waiting&waiting.. Luckily they were in groups so us two got in to St Petersline bus easily again 🙂
Most of those were tourist from S. America, had visas & it took extra long.
Just saving your nerves- choose a weekday!
Eat, take some drinks at Cubar (there are also some dance shows and other places), if it´s warm go out to the deck, they serve good drinks and views are beautiful!
MS Maria goes from Länsisatama so there is not much to see but SPB is different, it´s interesting. Kinda narrow route for boats to glide and there are living areas on the others side and some industry on the other side, we saw people swimming and fishing there (still wonder how do they get there cos saw no bridges)
Go around SPB, remember Nevsky is good landmark,eventhough it is long one but it has enough to offer for one day cruise. Shop, it is cheaper than here!
Try food, try cakes, drink Baltika! Cheers!
St Petersline offers good guidance on their page, i emailed with their clerk&she was so helpful! There are also quite enough info on their webpages and just google visiting SPB!
I dont speak any russian, except few silly phrases so you´ll be fine too 🙂
Just block your ears from main stream media, have a common sense & enjoy your time!!
And after your trip, share your stories, tips etc.
Am going back for sure; SPB is so damn pretty, charming, full of live, has lot to offer & just wanna see more, dig a lil deeper every time.
I would like to take water taxi, stay the night over, perhaps see SKA game, but just see SPB more & Moscow (and take train through Russia and..)
G´night or spokoinoi notši should I say 😉
Muutama heitto suomeksi:
Hassua kyllä, vaikka olen niin kauan kuin muistan halunnut käydä Venäjällä, niin tein ekan matkan sinne vasta elokuussa 2014!
Sillon kesän alussa näytti että tulee aika tynkänen loma, käydään viikko jossain ulkomailla ja sitten vähän aikaa mökillä mutta kävi tuuri ja niinpä mentiin myös Serbiaan ja Bosnian suuntaan (niistä myöhemmin)
Janilla oli jo lomaa, mulla piti olla töitä mutta bookkailin hieman uudelleen ja tein omat (tmsto)työni maratonpvillä pois joten päästiin Pietariinkin!! Oli todella edullinen matka, 2hh B-hytti, viisumivapaa (jolloin shuttle on pakollinen), satama&polttoainemaksu hinnassa mukana about huntin!!
Niinpä kuumana elokuun pvänä kurvattiin Länsiterminaaliin, todella ajoissa mutta ei ollut jonoa ja mikä parasta, kannella oli jo baari auki ja muihin risteilybotskiin verrattuna ihan huippua, sai heti juotavaa 😀
Sillä se loma alkaa 😉
Sen verrran pökertynyt kaikista työntäytteisistä päivistä kesällä et ihan hirveesti jaksanu ekana iltana vetää, mitä nyt käytiin syömässä laivalla (pizzalla! ja hyvää oli) ja Cubar baariin muutamalle ja ah, ihanaa siellä sai sikareita ja sai vieläpä polttaa sisällä!! Ei mikään tunkkanen mesta vaan baari/tanssilattia erikseen ja toinen puoli sikari-drinkki fiilistelijöille!
Passin tarkastus aamulla suju tosi nopeesti, nihkeesti jengii (arkipvä ja media pelotellu) ja sitten vaan shuttleen joita muutama ajelee ees taas sataman ja kaupungin välillä.
Iisakin kirkolla ulos ja helpoin oli ekakertalaisena ottaa kohteeksi Nevski Prospekt ja ei muuta kun käppäämään! Kuuma oli ja vesipulloja kulu (mutta halpaa&pikkukauppoja etc joka kulmassa melkeen)
Bongattiin SKA shoppi ja piti käydä muutama juttu ostamassa! 🙂
Lisää nevskiä, ties monettako siltaa niin huomattiin että oltiin Pietarissa juuri kun mopopvät oli alkamassa, eli ei muuta kun tsekkaaaan muutama pyörä siellä! Mahtavaa, mikä ajotus!
Pyöriittiin ees taas Nevskiä ja ihailtiin rakennuksia ja lukuisia siltoja ja kanavia ja takas tullessa käytiin burgerilla – laivalla muutama drinkki kannella kattoen haikeesti etääntyvää kaupunkia! Sinne uudelleen!!
Toka reissu oli viime talvena, sillon oli vkonloppu ja paljon jengiä (ja paljon ulkomaalasia, oisko yhet suomalaiset bongattu meijän lisäks?!)
sillon sai passijonossa Pietarin päässä venata varmaan toista tuntia :/
Eli vältä vkonloppua jos mahdollista 😉
Käytiin taas SKA-ostoksilla, totta kait ja löydettiin tsägällä yks mahtava kahvila/safkapaikka Nevskille mennessä (josta noi veriburgeri ja kissakahvi kuvat on)- aivan mieletön ”aamupala” ja eipä tullut nälkä koko pvänä.
Oli sen verran viileempi (lokakuu) niin pysty kävellä pidemmälle ja loikittiin välillä Nevskiltä sivukujille, hyvin pysy silti kartalla 🙂
Koitettiin löytää Total Flamesejä mutta siellä nykyään yhtä tiukka laki kun suomessa röökin suhteen joten humidorit hurrutti tyhjää.. vähänkö harmitti!!
Mutta Pietari itessään on niin upee et mielellään siellä käy!!
Ainoa miinus oli se lähtö.. eli tavoitteena ens kerralla olla se pari yötä hotlassa niin pääsis näkee tota Pietaria laajemmin!!
ST Petersline yms muut tarjoo noita paketteja eli siitä vaan tsekkailemaan (siellä on ollut edullsia paketteja 2 yötä hotlassa laivan lisäksi alle 200e/nassu)
Ihana, kaunis kaupunki, paljon nähtävää, helppo mennä, englannilla pärjää ja siellä on edullista!! Suosittelen!!
Lätkän MM siellä kiinnostais ja Moskovaankin tekis mieli & tietty se junalla läpi Venäjän on listalla eli lotto vetämään 😉