Great ideas. Is it OK with you if I copy your posts and add them to the St. Petersburg Port Review? I think everyone visiting St. Petersburg would benefit from them. As for me, I can't wait to come back.
Hi Tom, posting anything is fine but I should have used a spell checker or thought faster than my typing. I am still a 2 fingered typist so no only am I slow but not very accurate in my sentence structure sometimes. When you do plan to come back, let me know in advance and I will make sure you have a great plan laid out. I have lots of different interests so have explored much more than the normal museums/theaters and palaces over the years. I was talking to Ali the owner of Den Rus this morning about compiling a list of clubs and nightlife activities and I am going to ask my friends to contribute to the list and reviews. I have one I did last year on restaurants and cafes that has some pretty original observations. A friend compliled a list of recreational activities that would be interesting, everything from real Russian banyas to helicopter skiing to shooting ranges featuring famous Russian arms. I think there are 8 indoor climbing walls in the city for example.
In the summer months there are so many festivals and special events it is hard to keep track of them. Most are involving music or performance art but some recreational also.
I think your offer to assist Ali in compiling a list of nighttime activities is great! We used DenRus for our private tours on our last visit and were quite pleased with the service, with the exception of the Nightclub tour. Our tour guide was obviously unaware of the SPB nightlife scene and had no idea where to take us and asked where we wanted to go. Well, obviously, we had "no clue", so we spent much of the evening just driving around looking for a place and actually ended up at Magrib, by sheer luck (at least it was active and was not fully reserved or closed for a private function). Your input would be an invaluable asset to their already fine services and be most appreciated by tourists.
Since you mentioned having done some restaurant reviews. Let me pick your brain. If you wanted to have a memorable lunch (a local spot, with great food, good service, etc) somewhere near The Hermitage or along Nevsky Prospekt where would you suggest?
Stanj, you writing is excellent. I will post the information to the St. Petersburg port review. Any information you can share makes it easier for folks to decide what to do and maximize their stay in St. Petersburg. I really appreciate you willingness to do so.
Hi Nancy...do you ever sleep? It must be 3 a.m there.
A great restaurant near the Heritage? That is easy, the "Hermitage" restaurant directly across the Palace Sq from the Hermitage in the grand arched opening in the middle of the General Staff building. That is the long semi-circular building facing the Winter Palace. Half this restaurants window face the palace. It is probably the best location for a restaurnat I've ever seen...anywhere. It has 3 sections with 3 menus and 3 prices ranges; VIP, Business and Tourist. I do not like their naming convention but all three sections are very nice and quite a pleasurable dining experience. I attended a party that was staged at the VIP section and it was excellent....very very nice.
One of my favorite spots for a light lunch in a very pleasant environment is the mezzanine cafe on the second floor of the spectacular Grand Hotel Europe on Nevsky prospekt. Service is great, food is very good, (but just light lunches and deserts) in a 4 story garden attrium. Across the river is Aquarel, a fusion restaurant on a ship. Excellent if somewhat experimental menu fare. One new restaurant that impressed me but not as being Russian. It is more due to it innovative menu and interesting decor. The name is rather unimaginative however "The Spoon Cafe" and it is located on Bolshaya Morskaya, a block and 1/2 from the Hermitage. It borrows mostly from French, Japanese and Italian traditions. Dinner for 2 is about $30 plus wine, reasonable yet very stylish.
The best people watching besides in one of the many sidewalk cafes along Nevsky prospekt or Mal Sadova is the lowly SubWay Sandwich shop on Nevsky pr between the Moika and Griboedova Canals. It is a standard Subway chain outfit that is big, clean,and cheap and has elevated windows mounted booths overlooking the passerbys strolling Nevsky pr.
If outdoor terrace dining is for you...in good weather it is perfect... try the Renaissance Hotel. It is called the "6th Floor Terrace" and it has a spectacular view of St Isaac Sq and the cathedral. Only light foods and drinks however. Very romantic for late evenings also but it is open only until 11 p.m with is rediculasly early to close in SPb.
There are a few close in recommendations, all easy walks from the Hermitage with good views, food and decor(ok, not the Subway but what do you expect for $4 including drinks?)
Which dates are you considering. I met a group of people on another nameless forum and I am meeting them for a evening tour of night spots on Sept 6-7.
What are your interests in the city? Most people want to see the "standard" sights which by any measure are not standard at all, including the imcomparable Hermitage, enough palaces to make you think that is the normal way of life people should have(or at least I do;> and the architecture that is some of the best examples of the work by some of the best Italian, French, Scottish, German and Swiss architects of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
I was helping someone decide on what to do the other day after they said they loved art and wondered if 2 hours in the Hermitage was too much! An art lover would probably kill to visit that museum and for good cause. If you are coming this year it might be best to come after the big crush, after August but the cruise season ends in mid September right in the middle of the very best time to visit. The weather is great, the lines are gone pretty much, prices go down on the airfares by as much as 50% and even restaurants bring out their "shoulder season" menus which are a relief to the pocketbook. But Summer is when most people have their vacations. Half the people I know here in St Petersburg are gone themselves off to the beach(Balck Sea or Turkey), their woodlands cabin called dachas or just gone without notice. At any given time in the summer fully 1/3 of the 5.5 million population is missing only to be replaced by an even larger group of visitors, mostly Russians from other areas of the country. And there a lot of other areas to come from in a country that spans 11 times zones!
Have a great voyage and I think you will like Star, the regulars on it certainly do.
Thank you for your prompt reply. Have not given this a lot of thought yet. I have some dear friends that work on the ship & they have asked me to visit. Amazingly it looks like I may have considered a good time to cruise being Sept. 12-22 based on your comments. Our overnight in St. Petersburg is mid-cruise if I believe (9/16 &17).
Usually when I travel to Europe I enjoy doing a highlights tour to get a feel from the place. From your descriptions I have plenty to see and am sure my days will be packed full.
Not really sure what my friend's work schedule will be as yet, but, hopefully they will be able to join me.
As I firm up my plans I will let you know.
Keep the info coming
Just looked at the weather forcast as you said it was good weather....???
Today here in Connecticut it is hot & humid, will hit 100. Now that is a bit too warm for me, but, 54 seems cool for summer???
How will it be in for September??