Of course I wanted to fit in as many countries as we could before Annemarie had to be grounded to await the birth of our first child. So Russia would be final stop before that happened, and it was nice finale….for now. Russia, yet another country growing up I never thought I’d go to, but how things have changed, with myself and the state of Russia itself. They want visitors now to dump money into their economy, yet they still make it a challenge to get visas and go through quite a bit of unnecessary bullshit to make it happen, but all good things are tough.

We had an extra incentive to make this trip happen, as my cousin and her hubby were embarking on a summer travel tour, that started in Russia, so it worked out quite well. We decided on St. Petersburg as the city of choice for a few days, and only did that because we heard there was more to see there versus Moscow. I’d of course like to see the Kremlin and Red Square, but I’ll keep that for another time. We headed off, met up at the airport, and our adventure began…as soon as we got in the cab, as usual! Annemarie says I have a welcoming face, which could be true, but scam artists in every city at the airport are widespread, so it’s not that I’m the only one being taken. At least this time we were able to push back a bit, as the driver threatened to take us back to the airport…at no cost? Ok you fool, but we’ll carry on. He showed us a rate card, but it was self-made? Then threatened to call the cops if we didn’t pay? Ok, you just struck out buddy. Take this money, which is still more than we should pay, and take off. And he did, and that was the scam of the trip put behind us.

The Winter Palace

We dropped our things at the hotel, and hit the town for dinner. For having no clue where to go, and where we were, we found a decent spot with some decent food. Closed that place down, walked around a bit more, but wanted to get a good night of sleep for the next day of touring. St. Petersburg is quite a nice place, but things are very spread out. Kind of reminded me like Beijing, except every other person wasn’t touching you. Our hotel was on the main drag, so we could direct ourselves pretty easy based on that. We saw everything we could, and walked forever. We even took a hydrofoil out to the Summer Palace, which is more like a compound just to show off wealth, but it was amazing. I’ll describe the city in pictures as talking about it won’t do it justice. I thoroughly enjoyed the city, even if it was a bit too much like continental Europe. Nice people with a melting pot feel, and is building up to be quite a great place to visit.

Peterhof – The summer palace of Peter the Great

The Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood

Saint Isaacs Cathedral

Our transportation over to Peterhof

The view sitting in front of Peterhof….just a bit of water!


Next up for business and not leisure travel: Israel & Belarus