St. Petersburg, Russia (1 of 2)

Russian flag

Russian flag

St. Petersburg was touted to be the high point of the cruise. The ship was berthed overnight, as there was so much to see. But Russia can learn a thing or two about being visitor-friendly. Of all the countries we visited on this cruise, Russia is the only one which requires tourists to carry their passports to pass through Immigration. And all of Russia’s customs officers carry a stern face 😦 ! For all EU countries, once you entered the first country with your passport, you can travel to any other EU country without going through Immigration again. Only a photocopy will suffice, in case you’re asked. Some church welcome committees/ushers are like Russia. What about yours?

St. Isaac's Cathedral, largest Orthodox cathedral in the world.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral, largest Orthodox cathedral in the world.

Bronze Horseman (Peter the Great) on Thunder Stone, largest stone moved by man. Much of the stone is underground, like an iceberg. You can't judge just by looking at the surface.

Bronze Horseman (Peter the Great) on Thunder Stone, largest stone moved by man. Much of the stone is underground, like an iceberg. You can’t judge just by looking at the surface.

Canal cruise

Canal cruise

Peterhof Palace, or the Russian Versailles. Too bad no photos or videos allowed inside.

Peterhof Palace, or the Russian Versailles. Too bad no photos or videos allowed inside.

Peterhof's Grand Cascade

Peterhof’s Grand Cascade

While our tour guide warned us about pick-pockets everywhere, at the Spilled Blood Church she advised that we leave our passports and wallets locked in the tour bus, guarded by the driver, taking only our camera with us. Still, one tourist in another group had his expensive lens stolen from under his nose, leaving only a gaping hole in his camera body! The thieves are dressed like tourists to avoid notice, wearing cameras; some even carry a child so you will let down your guard. Appearances are deceptive!

Spilled Blood Church built on site where Czar Alexander II was assassinated. Sadly with many tourists are many pick-pockets, making the church a den of thieves.

Spilled Blood Church built on site where Czar Alexander II was assassinated. Sadly with many tourists are many pick-pockets, making the church a den of thieves.

(To be continued)

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