Does she never rest? The Luxury Cruise Company’s energetic Jacqui Ridler has compiled another of her very popular “Top Ten Things To Do….” lists – this time for fabulous St Petersburg, Russia.
Jacqui points out that while you can always join a ship’s organised tours in St Petersburg, it is exciting to obtain your own visa and venture out on your own to discover this amazing city (contact Jacqui at www.theluxurycruisecompany.com for more information and for available cruises to St Petersburg).
Meanwhile, her “Top Ten” are:
1. Hermitage Museum. This 18th-century Baroque palace was once the grand home of the Czars and it is the largest museum in St. Petersburg. The palace and its adjoining buildings house one of the world’s most prestigious collections with more than three million exhibits.
2. Peterhof Palace & Park. For over 200 years, Peterhof was used for lavish ceremonies, feasts and receptions. The Grand Palace commands a breathtaking view of the Lower Gardens and the Grand Cascade, the largest fountain ensemble in the world.
3. Take a ride on the Metro. Three million passengers a day use the 68-mile long Metro and it is the 11th busiest subway system in the world. It is also the deepest, with stations built from 98 feet to 327 feet under the city.
4. Enjoy a river cruise. Learn the history of St Petersburg from an English-speaking guide. As you cruise along the river a young lad runs alongside on the riverbank and stands on each bridge waving at you. As you disembark the boy stands collecting money in his cap! Sadly, I saw an older boy take the cap from the lad who had done all the work. Said my guide: “The young lad will be an older boy one day.
5. Take a walking tour. These tours can include the impressive monument to Peter the Great, the Mikhailovsky Castle (perhaps the city’s most mysterious building). You can walk through the Mikhailovsky Garden and along the Moika River, see the Square of the Arts (dominated by the famous monument to Alexander Pushkin), and get a chance to browse the local souvenir market for local crafts, such as “matryoshka” dolls or crystal eggs.
6. Church of the Spilled Blood. A jewel of St. Petersburg, the church was designed in the spirit of 16th- and 17th-century Russian architecture. Enjoy the marble and mosaics inside the church.
7. Catch a performance at the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Discover why St. Petersburg is renowned as the Mecca of ballet and opera. The performances reflect the quality that one has come to expect from the Mariinsky or the Bolshoi! The acoustics are excellent and the orchestra is superb.
8. Moscow by ‘Sapsan’ high-speed train. The journey takes about four hours. As you travel through the Russian countryside the train may reach speeds of up to 160mph.
9. Musical Evening at the Hermitage. Take a step back in history to the time of Catherine the Great during this memorable tour of the Hermitage Museum, followed by a classical music performance by the State Hermitage Orchestra. Take a guided tour through the numerous staterooms of the Winter Palace after the museum has closed. Along the way, see the exquisite masterpieces of its famous collection of Western European art. Enjoy a champagne reception, followed by a performance of classical music by the State Hermitage Orchestra. (This excursion available with Silversea Cruises ‘Silver Shore’ Collection).
Finally, a visit to Hydro-Space. The most advanced and challenging training a cosmonaut undergoes requires installing a space antenna on a replica of the International Space Station, while submerged in 54,000 square feet of water and wearing an authentic 275-pound Orlan DMA liquid cooled spacesuit. Guests up to the challenge are invited to Star City, a former top-secret cosmonaut training facility in Russia, to delve in to the world’s largest Hydro-Space laboratory and experience this complex cosmonaut training method firsthand. For the truly daring, this once-in-a-lifetime adventure will reveal what it is like to be a cosmonaut in space, without leaving the Earth. (This extreme adventure tour is available with Crystal Cruises.)