There are actually overnight trains to St Petersburg, taking about 9 hours – but then there is the Sapsan, the jewel of the Russian railway crown. 250km/h, in seat music, video and trolley service to your seat……………..by young, attractive cabin staff that would look equally at home on a Paris to Dubai Emirates flight.
Actually, we only got up to 220km/h so a little disappointing but quite an experience.
Like Moscow, St Petersburg has a very effective and efficient Metro system so with ease we found our hotel, had another 10.00pm dinner and readied ourselves for a whirlwind tour of our first and only coastal city in Russia.
It was not that we didn’t want to spend longer in St Petersburg – unfortunately Julia’s Grandma (Molly’s Great-Grandma) passed away on the evening of Friday 19 June. As we had already booked our tickets to St Petersurg by the time we were notified, we decided to continue on to there and make our way to the UK from St Petersburg. Ultimately we were fortunate – leaving Russia overland is complicated from Moscow as the bordering countries to the South and West need visas – leaving St Petersburg for either Estonia or Latvia doesn’t require anything more than a valid passport. There will be more detail in the next blog – Moscow to Bradford in 6 days.
So with a night time train to Vilnius awaiting, we gave ourselves a full day to wander around the main points of interest in St Petersburg (or the Venice of the Baltic as we came to know her!).
Like Moscow, although coming as less of a surprise, St Petersburg is an amazingly beautiful city. Grand buildings, various architecture, parks, canals, river and amazing churches and cathedrals combine to make a very pleasant city.
Clearly for all of us the highlight was the motorcycle museum, complete with an original Ural motorcycle and side-car outfit – 3 wheels, 2 of which are driven. Actually, even for me that wasn’t the highlight of St Petersburg but it was nice to sit on a Ural before leaving Russia…………..