When we arrived in St Petersburg it was a lovely sunny day. We managed to find a bus at the airport to take us to town and after getting off at the wrong stop, even managed to get a metro train to near our hotel without too much trouble. Our hotel was on the 5th floor of an old building and consisted of 15 or so little apartments. We had a studio apartment which meant we could save some money and make our own food. We were pleased to find the hotel was in an excellent location, walking distance to everything.
As it was our first night we decided we'd treat ourselves to dinner out and after a wander round the area went to a little Spanish restaurant (we couldn't find any Russian ones!) which had some live music. Conscious that we had a limited budget we ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, which wasnt at all cheap and we quickly realised Russia was going to be expensive!
The next day we had booked a free walking tour to show us the main sites. It was a 2 hour tour and was really handy for us to work out what we wanted to do over the next 4 days. The weather had turned cold tho and after a few hours walking about we were absolutely freezing so in the afternoon we hunted for a Russian bar for our first traditional Russian vodka, but unfortunately failed miserably and ended up in a mock English bar instead! A couple of extra large shots of vodka and a few beers later were suitably drunk and staggered back to our hotel.
The next couple of days we did all the tourist sites. We got another walking tour route from the info centre and went on a looong walk, went to the hermitage art musuem and saw picassos and monets, went inside the blood cathedral where the walls were decorated entirely out of mosaics and went to the St Petersburg zoo. The zoo was a mixture of depressing because of the size of the cages, especially the big cats, and quite cool because it had an inside monkey section that looked well kept with quite a few happy and very active mummy and baby little monkeys.
We also tried out a couple of Russian cafes as Grant was keen to try local food. I was pleasantly surprised to find out stroganoff (one of my favourite dishes) was a Russian dish as so I basically had a variation of that in every place!
After 5 days it was time to pack up and get the train to Moscow, I was most looking forward to carrying my big bag around again! ;-)