Sunday, May 6, 2012

Portfolio - St. Petersburg

The Baltic gateway to Russia is a beautful city, which is surprisingly clean and tidy and its citizens well-dressed and busy. Of course, monuments and classical buildings abound, which is what draws the tourists, but it was interesting to catch some slices of Russian daily life in the city which is often referred to as the Venice of the North, because of its many canals.

Church of Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

Cars and Canals - Notes Mercedes CLS left of the bridge
Despite the impressive Hermitage Museum, and Catherine's Summer Palace in the city of Pushkin, the real Venice leaves St. Petersburg for dead. Old Russian cars are a visible reminder of the past, as is the large number of police randomly stopping cars and coaches for a check on the paperwork.

Interestingly, if you visit enter Russia as part of an oprganized tour (such as an on-shore excursion from a cruise ship) you don't need a visa.

However, if you plan to explore on your own, or depart from the organized tour for any reason, you will need visa issued in your home country BEFORE you depart! Check before you leave, because if you are sans visa, you won't be allowed in.

Lada - in relatively good condition

However, there's a surprising number of expensive modern cars tooling around, with an oligarch or two at the wheel, looking very prosperous.

All the traffic lights in the city have countdown timers to tell both the pedestrians and the traffic how long before the light turns Red.

The statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin outside government buildings is striking, but ignored by Russians, and only of interest to tourists.

A couple of locals in the city of Pushkin, and an old Volga. Note the excessive rear overhang.

Catherine's Summer Palace in Pushkin is a must-see. The palace interior is huge and it only has one fully-restored section, but the grounds are beautful and an ideal setting for weddings.

Panel fit doesn't rank in importance, just reliability

Crowds and coaches lining up for the massive turnover of tourists at The Hermitage, which is also a must-see on a visit to St. Petersburg. Go with a tour, casual entry is exorbitent.

Who knows how long this has been sitting outside one of the biggest of the city's department stores!

No comments:

Post a Comment