Russia in 72 Hours: Day 4 – St Petersburg

0835: Arrived at St Petersburg station, after the Grand Express sleeper train from Moscow. Olga, our guide from 2 days ago, came to pick us up.

0900: Breakfast at Marketplace cafe in the centre of St Petersburg. Marketplace is a great cafe opposite Kazan cathedral, and serves a wide variety of dishes. The  rolled pancakes are especially delicious.

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0945: A short walk from the cafe is the Church of Saviour of the Spilled Blood and Kazan Cathedral. We made a brief visit to these two cathedrals to and a quick stop at a souvenir shops.

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1050: Travel to Hermitage Museum

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1100: Guided tour of the Hermitage museum.  The Hermitage is the second-largest art museum in the World. It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, when she acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. The museum has been open to the public since 1852.

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The collection is said to contain over 3 million items, and it is said that if you spent only 1 minute per item, it will take 6 years to see everything. Only a small part of the collection is on display. The Museum has expanded since it was first found and now occupy a six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors.

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1445: We spent several hours marvelling at the buildings of the Hermitage and the art works by many masters including Da Vinci, Rembrant, Cezanne. The guide at the Hermitage was excellent, taking us to see the highlights, but at the same time allowing plenty of time for things that piqued our interest.  After the Hermitage museum we headed down to the Canal (a short walk from the Hermitage) for a boat tour on the river Neva.

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1500: Boat tour on the River Neva. This allowed us to see many great sights, the Peter and Paul Cathedral, The Winter Palace, The Bronze Horseman from the water.

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1610: Boat tour finished, and we headed back to the port to catch our ferry, the Princess Anastasia.

1630: Back at the Port. Boarding process was similar to Day 1. We first had to check-in at the check-in counter. Then join the immigration queue. Immigration was a lot simpler this time around. The officer took the immigration card and the departure card, and stamped our passport and we were good to go.

1745: Board the ferry. Overall it took 45 minutes for the immigration queue and then another 15 minute queue for boat.

As the Princess Anastasia left, we watched watch St Petersburg from deck 7. Our 72 hours in Russia was over.

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