St. Petersberg A Treasure of Russia
Does this sound straight out of the childhood nursery rhyme “Two little dickey birds sitting on a wall. One name Peter the other named Paul?” Well, it actually has nothing to do with it.
The history of St. Petersburg began on an islet near the right bank of the beautiful river Neva. In the 18th century, Peter the Great laid the foundation of this fortress which later became the capital of the Russian Empire. The city hence got its name “St. Petersburg”. The main entrance to the fort, the ever beautiful Peter Gate is from the Trinity Square, the oldest square in the city. This gate is a fine example of the early Petersburg Baroque, remarkable for its arts. The Peter and Paul Fortress also house a cathedral where the first Russian monarchs have been buried. In fact many members of the Romanov Dynasty of Russia were buried in this cathedral. In 1991, a monument to Peter the Great was installed in the fortress. It was presented to the city by the artist Mikhail Shemiakin who now lives in the USA.
As a tourist, especially from India, winters could be pretty intolerable. So I was happy to be in the best part of the year, with pleasant weather- in the month of August. Of course, I am sure, if I had braved the cold and done this trip in December, I would have spent just half on sightseeing and shopping. Being a hardcore vegetarian and Russians being predominantly meat eaters, I initially was apprehensive if I would be able to manage. Luckily I managed to find these little roadside trucks that sold buns stuffed with mashed potatoes, called “Karthoshka”. And I did quite like it. Black coffee and black tea is the order of the day. So every time I needed those frothy Indian milky coffees, I headed to those plush restaurants that served cappuccino. Luckily, we opted to stay in a service apartment with a little kitchenette attached. It worked out cheaper on my pocket as well as I could cook up a decent breakfast for the kids. Most streets have a super market called “produkti”, where I could pick bread, eggs, milk, some fruits etc…
Petersburg is truly a “Fantastico“- where you could go for long walks on the banks of Neva, soak in some Russian Culture, and see some beautiful structures and museums.