St. Petersburg

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

it has been 1 week since I left the Netherlands to travel around the world.
I spent this week in St. Petersburg and will go to Moscow on the 25th of August.
This is what I have been up to in the last week:

The day before my arrival I was notified that I could not stay in the hostel I booked. I went there anyway to find out what happened and to let them arrange a hostel for me. The guy of the “Missis Hudson” hostel told me that I should have confirmed my booking once more one week before my arrival and that now 30 kids have taken over the place… He was very nice and arranged a similar hostel for me with the same distance to the train station leading to Moscow.
The hostel is called “Right Place”. It is really small, I am the only non-Russian guest and most of the people do not speak English. The people are very nice and helpful, though, and we make lots of use of Google Translate to understand each other.

On August 16, I went to the Church of the Savior of Our Blood and its surrounding sights. I also tried to already buy a train ticket at the train station, but NO ONE speaks English there… Really frustrating and weird, considering the signs in the train station itself also had English subtitles. In the evening, Valera (hostel employee) and I went to a bar to let me try out vodka. Even though vodka in other countries is mixed, you really should not mix it! That is very important here. You take a shot and right after that you drink juice or bite on a slice of lemon.

Cathedral of Our Savior of our Blood

On August 17, I had a really pleasant talk with a Russian guest of the hostel. She told me that Russians like to discuss political topics while drinking tea and she enlightened me about the Russian culture. Russia is not a big fan of America, but funnily enough shows many similarities. Alex (hostel employee) told me it is easier to buy a train ticket online and helped me buy one. Yeay! In the afternoon, I walked towards the beautiful Holy Trinity Church.

Bell at the Holy Trinity Cathedral

In the evening, I had a pleasant conversation with an Armenian/Russian guest of the hostel, until the point that he asked me what I think of gay marriage. I told him that I believe that love is love and that you should be able to love or marry whoever you want to. He did not feel the same way… One of the girls told me that it is better to not talk about that topic in public in Russia. I figured that it was mostly Putin’s point of view, but I never imagined that pretty much the entire nation felt that way.

The day after that, I wanted to go to the Hermitage. But the queues were waaaaaay too long, so I decided to walk towards the Admiralty, the Bronze Horseman, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Yusupovskiy Gardens.

the Bronze Horseman
St. Isaac's Cathedral

On August 19, I did go to the Hermitage. You have to wait in line for an hour, but with your old student card you can get in for free. The collection of the Hermitage is huge and it is displayed in the Winter Palace and the General Staff Building as well. The museum only has 1 tiny cafe and no restaurant whatsoever. That really seems like a lost opportunity considering all those visitors who spend hours and hours to view just a tiny portion of the collection. On the other hand, maybe the managers of the Hermitage want the visitors to spend only a couple of hours there and not the entire day. At the Hermitage were so many people and was so much to see, that I just went straight to the paintings I wanted to see. I have seen mostly European art and paintings of the Romanovs. One of the main sights was the Armoury Hall, so I also went there. There were 4 knights on 4 horses in the middle of the room. I noticed that they were actual real, dead horses, so I kinda freaked out a bit… It was too much to take… Although the Hermitage has an enourmous collection that is housed in gorgeous buildings with loads of beautiful decorations, I don’t really get what the big deal is. Yes, there are pieces of art of world famous artists, but they don’t really have world famous paintings. To me, the Hermitage is more a must-see because of the architecture than because of the art.

Me at the Hermitage & the Winter Palace
Stairs of the Winter Palace
Part of a Romanov painting
Monet <3

On August 20, I went to Peterhof. It is 45 minutes to one hour away from Saint Petersburg, which its inhabitants lovingly call “Peter”, by boat or by bus and metro. If someone wants to go there: please take the bus and metro, not the boat. From the boat, you cannot really see that much and it costs 5 times as much as the other option. Also, I had to kill 1.5 hours until my boat actually left and all the passengers were tired of all the waiting and were heavily pushing and pulling to get on board. Therefore, I took the bus on the way back to the city center.
Peterhof has a beautiful park with many fountains and beautiful palaces. It is located on the Gulf of Finland and overlooking the water you can see the city. If you go to St. Petersburg, you should really go here as well. It is nice and serene. You can really come to ease here, even though there are many (Russian) tourists. It seems like Russians spend their days off at tourist sights. All the promotors talk in Russian and most information at the sights is only written in Russian as well.

Looking out on St. Petersburg from Peterhof
In Peterhof is also a small palace surrounded by water. In one of the ponds are sturgeons and you can catch your own meal (if you want to). The man standing near the fishing rod was trying to persuade me in Russian to catch fish. I figured that he could not speak English, so I just told him “njet” and made some faces indicating that I do not like fish. When I was standing on one of the bridges, he came to me again with his mobile phone on Google Translate and he explained that I could catch my own meal. I explained to him that I am a vegetarian and, therefore, am not interested in such thing. Luckily, he understood that and he even told me a little bit of history of the fishing ponds. What a friendly guy.
In the evening, I left Peterhof and stumbled upon a beautiful lake. Next to it, there was a restaurant where I ordered a delicious salad before I went back to the hostel.

Ourside Peterhof

Today, Valera wanted to take a photograph of my fake wedding ring (yes, you read that right). It was the strangest thing. He even asked one of the girls (with a smartphone) to make a photo. She did not really understand what was happening either, but he just really seemed to like the ring. I walked towards the Smolnyy Cathedral and bought a coffee to go at a place I have walked by every single day. Unfortunately, the cathedral was under construction and its lightblue colors looked more like white (because of the sun). On the way to the cathedral, I walked through a park where the people were enjoying the sun in their swimsuits.
In the evening, I had a nice Skype meeting with my parents, brother, and grandma. It was good to be able to talk to them and to talk in Dutch.

The next couple of days I will do some more sightseeing and I will travel to Moscow. I’m really curious to what Moscow will be like and to how my journey by train will go. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Next week, I will give you an update.

Lots of love

7 Responses to “St. Petersburg

  • Wat een belevenissen, en dat allemaal in één week. Ik wist niet dat St. Petersburg zoveel te bieden had. Mooie foto’s ook. En die contacten met die mensen die ook nauwelijks Engels spreken. Leuk hoor! Op naar het volgende avontuur, Moskou ! Veel plezier en pas goed op je zelf. Dikke kus, je tantetje

  • Really cool to read such wonderful stories and see those amazing pictures! Keep up the awesome work!


  • Nice to read all of your adventures and see your pictures! (handig in het engels :P) Enjoy and have a good time overthere. Curious to your next update. Take care! X San

  • What an adventure already. Although most people do not speak English (which you will experience more often), you seems to handle it quite perfectly. You go girl! Can’t wait to hear the rest of your stories. Enjoy every single part of it! Xx M@rry

  • Vandaag naar Moskou!!
    Wat een cool verhaal alweer Romaan! Leuk dat je al met mensen gesproken hebt en dat dat meisje je kon helpen met je trein ticket, raar dat ze geen engels spreken! Ik vind je nu al stoer!!!

  • Wat een verhaal en mooie foto’s! Er is in een week tijd al heel veel gebeurd. Op naar het volgende avontuur! Dikke knuffel van Kees en Ineke

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