Our driver seems to take us on a rather convoluted trip to the Holiday Inn and makes it appear to be miles from downtown. We check in, get upgraded to executive.
Once in our room we have a great view of downtown St. Petersburg sights.
Checked with the concierge and we were either a $30 taxi ride to downtown or else a 240 metre out the door to the subway and four stops to downtown for seventy-five cents. Subway it is!
We'll have the day to leisurely explore the city. We had covered the highlights on the guided tour so know where we'd like to spend more time.
Palace Square is considered to be the city’s main square and serves as an excellent example of how different architectural styles can be combined in a most elaborate and aesthetically pleasing way. On the northern side of the square stands the picturesque Baroque Winter Palace (built in 1754-62) or hermitage as it is known.
Across the square, on the southern side, stands the classical yellow-and-white building of the former Imperial Army General Staff (built between 1819 and 1829 by the Italian architect Carlo Rossi). The building encircles the Southern side of the square and combines a central arch, designed as a Triumphal Arch after the ancient architecture of the Classical World, through which you can reach Nevsky Prospekt.
OK not quite classical photo:
But for two people who have had their meals selected for them for 13 days we finally have an opportunity to select something ourselves!
First stop lunch at the Grand Hotel Europe.
This sandwich and fries were soooo good!
As we walked down the street a parade of motorcycles drove past us.
On the eastern side the building of the former Royal Guards' General Staff tastefully closes the panorama of Palace Square, while on the West the square borders with the Admiralty and the Admiralty Garden. With the guilded spire of the Admiralty and the dome of St Isaac's clearly seen from here, the view westwards across the stone-clad expanse of Palace Square is quite breathtaking. In the middle of the square the Alexander Column creates an important focal point for this great architectural ensemble.
St. Isaac's Cathedral is the largest cathedral in St. Petersburg. It was the largest church in Russia when it was built (101.5 meters high), and is still the third largest domed cathedral in the world. For visitors willing to
climb 300 steps, it provides a spectacular view of St. Petersburg.
I could take photos of this church from every view.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Khram Spasa na Krovi) is one of the main Russian Orthodox cathedrals of St. Petersburg.
The church is also variously known as the Church of Our Savior on Blood and the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, its official name. The "blood" of the common name refers to that of Tsar Alexander II, who was killed on that site on March 13, 1881, as well as that of the crucified Jesus.
It provides a memorable and breathtaking spectacle when first viewed from the bridge over the Kanal Griboyedova.
Back to the hotel by subway and we changed and went to dinner in the hotel, it has a steak (gasp) restaurant called Korovabar(click on link). Korova means cow.We haven't had red meat in two weeks so decided to splurge and try it out. It was pretty darn good with a nice bottle of Russian wine.
We followed dinner with brandies in another bar within the hotel.