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St. Petersburg: 5 days / Itineray questions

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Dear St. Petersburg Experts

I’m organizing a city trip to St. Petersburg for 15 adults. We’ll be staying 4 nights at the beginning of May) Arrival time at our hotel, Hotel Angleterre, will be around 3 pm. Our airport transfer is part of the flight and hotel package.

I’m in contact with a tour guide from Hautnah (a German tour guide company since the tour will be held in German) who I’d like to hire for 3.5 days. The tour guide has suggested the following itinerary.

Tuesday: Arrival (no specific plans yet)

Wednesday: First day with a driver:
-Vasily Island
-Peter and Paul Fortress
-Nikolaus church
-Katharine Palace and Park

Thursday: Second day will be without a Driver
-Kasaerkathedrale (I’m not sure what he means by this)
-The Church of the Spilled Blood
-Hermitage und Palastplatz
-Isaac’s Cathedral

Friday: Third day with driver
-Park von Peterhof
-the most interesting metro stations
-Newskij monastary
-Smolnij monastary
Piskarjovskoje cemetary
Evening: Cinderella ballet at the Mariinsky

Saturday: Return to Zürich

Questions:
1. What can we do on the first day of our arrival? I would like to have a tour guide for half a day to give us the feel of St. Petersburg. Would you have any other suggestions?

2. Would you make any changes to the itinerary?

3. When should we have a canal trip or is that an overkill?

4. Restaurant suggestions are always welcome

Thanks for your input. It's much appreciated.

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