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Baltic Cruise Shore Excursion Questions - Percy?

Baltic Cruise Shore Excursion Questions - Percy?

Oct 30th, 2008, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 489
Hi Percy - you are still the expert.
I love Alla and would recommend her to anyone that would ask.
Believe it or not, but I had to point out to her that one of the places we were to visit that day would be closed. I guess she was quite busy and lets face it - it can happen to anyone of us.
She complimented me on that point and offered me a job as a travel agent (jokingly). It pays to check & double check ALL travel arrangements (maybe I am just too anal)- it's easy to overlook things unless you check carefully.
I know chepar will love St. Petersburg as we did.
Paulchili is offline  
Oct 30th, 2008, 07:17 PM
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I am sure when that cruise shipdocks, that poor Alla has her hands full filling in all the request.

Good for you for mentioning the closure of one of the Palaces... I never thought of that.

But you know there are so many places to see in St.Petersburg, that a substitute place would be just fine ..unless it was a very major place like Peterhof or Hermitage, or Church on the Spilled Blood or Catherine's Palace.

I was in Rome about 10 months before going to St.Petersburg... and in my personal opinion St. Petersburg was more fascinating than Rome anyday !!

Okay chepar once you master St. Petersburg..we will move on to another place ( gulp !

Percy is offline  
Oct 30th, 2008, 08:48 PM
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you will fill us in about your trip, won't you? I look forward to hearing about it.
Paulchili is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion about the hydrofoil, Paulchili.

Since you mentioned the Metro, I have to ask about it - is there something special about the Metro system there? I noticed it on Alla's sample itinerary and was wondering what interest a subway ride would have.

I will definitely look into whether the different sites are open when we are there. We will be there on a Saturday and Sunday.

I will do my best to provide some sort of trip report when I return, though I know it won't be anything as good as the other reports I've seen here. I quickly slip into a post trip funk once I return, so I'll need to make sure to bang out a report before it appears.

chepar is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 10:35 AM
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The thing about the Metro in St.Petersburg is that they are very nice and ornate and way down deep.

The metro system in Moscow is quite the tourist attraction and it is called:

"The Palaces Underground"

That is why it is a treat to sample the Metro.

Maybe Paulchili can give you different perspective.


Percy is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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The Metro in St Petersburg is interesting, though nothing like the one in Moscow. It is well worth seeing though - they will take you to the most interesting stations. While it is not as spectacular as the Red line in Moscow, it is different from the usual Metros in Europe and thus worth seeing; it is also on the way to Peterhof (driver will drop you off with the guide and pick you up later). It is also a way to see everyday life in St.Petersburg away from the tourist spots.
I was fortunate to see the Moscow subway in 1964 for the first time (and again in 1988), before it was allowed to be vandalized (or poorly maintained) as I have heard it is now (though I am sure it is still spectacular).
Paulchili is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 11:42 AM
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Ok, the subway sounds like something I'd want to keep on the itinerary.

I was looking at things that I might want to cut out of the sample itinerary so that I might be able to increase my time at other places and "riding the subway" sounded like a candidate.

Glad I asked - you guys are great!
chepar is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 12:36 PM
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Paulchili is correct ...you can see the Metro in St.Petersburg without going out of your way.

Rather than riding in a minvan all the way to ,say, Peterhof, you are dropped off at a certain point...you take the metro and further down the line..... your tour driver picks you up.

I do not want to give you information overload ...but...

1. Go to Google and type in

Kirovsky Metro Station St.Petersburg

take a quick look at how nice it is

then go back to Google and type in

Pushkinskaya Metro Station

after you have seen a few of them ..you will get an idea of what they are like BUT
they are..

not as elaborate the the ones in Moscow.!!

Hi Paulchili and jacketwatch


Percy is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 12:50 PM
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Posts: 489
If you are looking to "cut things out" to save time, my candidate is Peter & Paul fortress. I will probably get jumped on for this, but I think it is best viewed from outside across the river. Not much inside to see unless you are fascinated by the tombs of the Tzars - in that case go for it.
Not to miss are the ones mentioned by Percy:
Catherine's Palace (WITH the Amber room)
Winter Palace (Hermitage) - skip the Gold Room (IMO)
St. Isaac's
Peterhof (with the gardens if time permits - you must see the fountains)
Church of the Spilled Blood
Nice things to see/do:
Neva cruise for a different perspective of the city and its Palaces
Yusupov's Palace
Short walk on Nevsky Prospect
Evening folkloric show/ballet if so inclined.
Percy - what did I miss?

Paulchili is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 07:45 PM
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Hi All of you

You did not miss anything Paulchili but it may be rather difficult to miss the Gold Room... because chepar may have Alla's tour guide with him all the time....except of course for lunch time.

I had Julia ( Alla's tour guide lady, age 26 and she sure knew her stuff...but she was amazed at how much I knew.!!!

On the second morning of our tour ,
Julia had a case of laryngitis and she said....."Percy if I don't get better you will have to take over , and you can do it too!"

Don't kid yourself, I may know a lot about St.Petersburg, but I am not in the same league as Julia and I know it.!!

But of course it was nice of her to think was highly of my knowledge !

You know if chepar takes the "Strenous Tour" ..he will see Peter and Paul Cathedral and the burial place of all the Tsars except for Peter II...as this place is on the list..... chepar unless you ask for it not to be.

You can have a short walk down Nevesky Propekt ( This is the Main Avenue of st.Petersburg) ...but also ask the driver to down you down this Avenue from......

The Admiralty Gardens all the way down to the Anichkov Bridge.

The reason for this is that many of the famous places are long here.

The Litery cafe is here...if you do not know it ..ask for it to be pointed out.
This is the place from which Pushkin left that night for his fatal duel ( 1837).He was shot and died.

The Stroganov Palace is here... the place of the origin of Beef Stroganov !!!

You have to see the Lady Kazan Catherdal.

And you should walk into Yeliseev's Delicatessen.... even if just for 5 minutes.... you just have to see the inside !!!..... I can describe it but I want it to be a surprise !!!

You hit everything else on the head Paulchili.
St.Issac's Catherdal and Church on the Spilled Blood are do NOT miss places.

chepar ..... I will give you a few words ( a few only)...

that you should write on a piece of paper and keep beside you when you are reading about St.Petersburg
or looking at a street map of St.Petersburg.

I had to find out what these words mean one by one...so why
should you suffer like I did !!

ulitsa .....means street
ploschad ...mean square
prospekt ...mean avenue
pereulok....means a lane or a small short street
sad.......means Garden
most .....means bridge

So when you see or read something like
Troitsy most...this is Troitsk Bridge.
Mikhalovsky Sad... is Mikhailovsky Gardens .
and so on..... knowing these seven words will help you a lot when the Russian word is used even though the map is in English .

Happy Reading chepar.

Good Night All

Percy is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 10:34 PM
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Percy - we'd make quite a pair in St. Petersburg.
You could be the guide and give the historical background and I would translate for you.
In my "previous life" as a teenager behind the Iron curtain I (and all my schoolmates) had to read the entire War & Peace (and many other books) in Russian and memorize long passages for school. In all I had 9 years of Russian, although my old age is playing tricks on me (and it's not just my Russian, lot of other stuff is going with it as well).
Happy travels to us all!
Paulchili is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 01:57 PM
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Wow ! Paulchili !

We would make a pair in St.Petersburg.

I am impressed that you read War and Peace....and that you know Russin.

How terrific. Wish I could speak or read that language

Good Luck with your reserch chepar.

Any Russian language problems ..just ask Paulchili.

Percy is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 02:25 PM
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Posts: 489
Thanks Percy.
As kids we hated studying Russian, but it came handy many times later in life.
Take care.
Paulchili is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 08:21 AM
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Thank you both for your help, it's been making my research into the different things to see much easier.

Though I haven't heard back yet from last week's email to Katya (she's with Alla), I am planning to send her another email sometime this week to make sure she got my confirmation of the strenuous tour and to inquire about the hydrofoil. I'm not sure how often they check their messages and I don't want to be a pest.

So much to see and so little time - everything sounds great. I'm trying to see if I can squeeze a little more time in at the Hermitage, but I know that even if I manage to get another hour there, it will leave me still wanting more.
chepar is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 08:36 AM
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In that case I would definitely skip the Gold room in favor of more time in Hermitage. With the guided tour you will see the hilights for sure. You can even tell them where you want to spend most of your time (i.e. impressionists, etc)
The nice thing about Alla's tours is that they are flexible - what is fixed is your time in St. Petersburg.
I know you'll have a great trip.
Paulchili is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 12:46 PM
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I forgot to mention that the more you have in your group the less money it is per person.

Alla asked me if I wanted others to join me..the choice was totally my own.

There were four of us ...so I let 6 others join us and it was just a nice group of ten in a 16 passenger new van.

When you talk to Alla, ask her what you might miss if you take the hydrofoil from the Winter Place area to Peterhof.

This is a big "kitty corner" fast boat ride( 16miles) from Hermitage to Peterhof.

if you would like to try the hydrofoil..then maybe do this:

1. Take the Van ride to Catherine's Place and then from there go to Peterhof...then from Peterhof...you can come back on the hydrofoil.

Talk to Alla about this because although she is very flexible ...she still has to arrange the various sites you will see in a orderly sequence.

I did not take the hydrofoil ..because on the way going out of town and coming back into St.Petersburg..I had a list of many places I wanted to stop off at.

I saw them all and I am happy I did.
Do I wish I could have cruised the hydrofoil... Yes... but for me it did not work out.

But I am not disapointed.

Next time it will be the hydrofoil for sure....because if I get to St.Petersburg again,I will want to see Peterhof again.!!


Percy is offline  
Nov 21st, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Hi Percy-

I saw your post on the other Baltic cruise thread and thought of a couple things I wanted to ask you, but I didn't want to hijack Jeff801's thread.

Alla's suggested itinerary has us visiting Catherine's Palace and Monplaisire Palace. On the website it states that they suggest not to do both the Grand Palace and Catherine's Palace as they are very similar to each other.

However, taking from their website description that Catherine's Palace and the Grand Palace are the "most famous and beautiful", I'm wondering if Monplaisire Palace is worth missing the Grand Palace for.

Also, I was re-reading your Baltic trip report and you mentioned seeing the House of Faberge or something like that. I'm familiar that Faberge (famous for the eggs) also made other things like tableware and jewelry. Is this an actual place (like a museum) that you can visit?

I was having information overload a couple weeks ago, with so many options of great things to see in such a short time. I think I need to pace myself better.
chepar is offline  
Nov 21st, 2008, 05:46 PM
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Hi chepar:

I do not think Jeff801 would mind if we hijacked his posting for some questions since we are all here to help

Okay now to answer your questions:

1. You will and should see Catherine's Place.
There is a lot to see here and grounds are very lovely with other buildings all over the place.

While others headed for the Gift Shop after doing Catherine's Palace... I left to do the grounds ,since I knew where 95 % of everything was.

When you get to Peterhof and you do all the fountains and the other places like :

Marly Palace and Golden Cascade.

Orangerie ( this means Conservatory)
and this is another lovely place with it's own fountains.

Monplaisir.... is right beside the water( called the Gulf of Finland), this is where Peter the Great spent all his time ...drinking with his buddies and this and not the Grand Palace was his favourite place..

You will see how he lived here. It also has lovely grounds and many fountains.

By the time you see all of Catherine's Palace and Marly and Monplaisir , you have seen the inside of many places....and

still to come is Yusupov's Palace and The Hermitage back in St.Petersburg.

I would go inside Peterhof and see:
** The Grand Palace State Room and the Grand Staircase.
*** much of the rest is as mezmerizing as inside Catherine's Palace....so

I would spend more time outside at Peterhof ( both front and back. )

The BACK of the Palace is what everyone thinks is the FRONT...that being the Grand Cascade and the Grand Canal....just wait till you see the Grand Cascade with all its fountains going and the noise of the Cascade...amazing.

About Faberge:

I knew where the building was ,so I made sure I saw it.
It is not far...just back of St.Issac's Catherdal.

Today it is still a jewellery place but has no connection to Faberge now.

There is a plaque a few doors down from where the original Faberge builging was ( his sons moved a few doors down about 1900 or 1901).

You know everything changed after the Revolution.

When the Revolution began , ( 1917),there were about 54-54 Eggs.

Russian does not have all of them yet ( but they are trying to get them all back !)

There is no Faberge Museum in St.Petersburg.

There are no Faberge Eggs on display in St.Petersburg.

The only place you can see them on display is at the State Amoury at the Kremlin in Moscow.

I know, I know,......how you feel trying to figure out what to see !!!

I was in your position last year.


Percy is offline  
Nov 21st, 2008, 08:49 PM
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The "problem" with Peterhof is that it gets very busy in the summer.
They try to dissuade you from visiting the inside, stating that it is much the same as Catherine's Palace. The gardens and the smaller palace on the grounds are easier for them to show you.
Peterhof is not the same as Catherine's Palace - it is spectacular in its own way.
Is Versailles the same as Schonnbrun in Vienna - they are both royal palaces, but they are not the same (similar in opulence, but not the same).
However, you have to arrive EARLY to Peterhof to beat the crowds.
The fountains are a must see.
Mon Plaisir is very different from the "main" palace - it is small and very simple. It was a working place for Peter and he liked simple things. If your time doesn't allow you to see both, you should make the decision which one you want to see, not Alla.
Hi Percy.
Paulchili is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2008, 07:12 PM
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Hi Paulchili

It is a tough call for Peterhof and chepar will have to decide how much of Peterhof he wants to see inside and how much time to allocate for the Grounds and other Palaces.

I can never get enough of the opulence of the Tsars Palaces !

You can tour 4-5 rooms in the Peterhof Grand Palace and then force yourself to visit as much of the grounds as possible.

Try to do the Marly Palace and the Monplaisir for sure.

The fountains are mind boggling to see and you can look at the Grand Cascade and the Grand Canal ..forever it seems .

When you are on the second level balcony standing on that black and white checkered marble flooring.... look straight down the Grand Canal.

This is the same canal that Peter the Great used to have his boat ride right up to the fountains area...from the Gulf of Finland.

I wouldn't exactly chose to miss seeing the Monplaisir Palace because here, you will see how Peter the Great really lived.

I could picture him strolling out in front along the Gulf with a few drinks in his hand.!!

It is tough ,chepar, but try to pick and chose what you will do when you get to Peterhof.

Inside Peterhof's Grand Palace ..if you see the Grand State Rooms, The Grand Staircase (wow!!!),The Imperial Suite ( this was Peter's Study ), then you will have seen 4-5 of the major rooms.

Good Luck

Percy is offline  

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