January 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
We flew back to Helsinki and as in most of our trips took the train to St. Petersburg from the Central Station. The train ride was about 3 hours and quite comfortable with the latest in train comfort, including free wifi and outlets…woohoo! We stayed at the Rocco Astoria which is a lovely old world hotel. http://www.thehotelastoria.com/
Luckily for us, during our stay it was the coldest it had been in the last 40 years but in comparison to Levi it was not much of a change so we were mental prepared to trod along in the snow.
Our first stop was to warm up at a souvenir shop…then we tried the Russian State Museum http://www.rusmuseum.ru/eng/home/ which some Trip Advisors have commented that they liked better than the Hermitage. They were quite strict there and though my kids were quite good for an 11 year old and 9 year old they had received a bit of scolding for being too close to some of the work. I personally thought the museum was overly harsh but then again there didn’t seem any use to try to talk ones way out of this one.
After the museum we wandered towards Spilt Blood Cathedral but it was unfortunately closed so we tried to find Nevsky Prospect and stumbled upon Yeliseev’s Food Hall / Yeliseevskiy Gastronom – it was perfect timing as we need to warm up again and looked forward to hot chocolate…but to my children’s disappointment no hot chocolate so we settled for lemonade – how ironic for a cold winter’s day. The food was good, surly and slow service and very expensive on anyone’s terms. It was more for atmosphere and a show of grandness.
Though cold, we wandered into the holiday market which wasn’t what I expected and so that went quite quickly.
As we wandered back to our hotel we stopped by the Kazan Cathedral http://www.saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/kazan-cathedral/. The Cathedral itself is very beautiful but we didn’t get a chance to take photos because we already got into trouble as soon as we stepped into the Cathedral. Not that we did any thing but almost immediately we were scolded for Reid and William having hats on as we walked in. Having been in many temples and houses of worship…we were going to take our hats off but the security seemed to jump on us as soon as Reid’s foot hit the inside and we didn’t dare cross any more people after that.
After a short break at the hotel we wandered off to the Nikolaevsky Place to watch folk dancing. It was fun to watch and the kids enjoyed the fact that Reid was chosen to dance with a woman on stage. Russian folk dancing is quite athletic, some of the stories romanic and some quite zany. The show is quite long with an intermission during which refreshments are served (along with the price of the ticket) and more souvenirs can be bought. In hind sight I think I should have bought at the show, the quality seemed good and the prices fair.
After the show, we ate at Teplohttp://www.v-teple.ru/, which was highly rated in Trip Advisor. The restaurant was quaint. We didn’t have a reservation and didn’t think to make one but though they were full they tried their best to find a table for us and we were given mulled juice while we waited. The atmosphere was casual, food was simple, tasty and the clientele was quite international. I would highly recommend this restaurant with kids.