I just realized that I have never added a trip blog for Russia or as it is now officially called the Russian Federation.
Where to start? It was nerve wracking from a visa application standpoint. You have to provide all your schools…did you have military service…did you have any experience with nuclear or chemical warfare. I am a US Navy veteran with some videos on my blog, so would they let me in?
It took a while and several visits to the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv to get our visa, but we finally were able to visit Russia for the first time. I guess if you pay your $350 for the visa, it is all good! The nice thing compared to cruise ship visits, is you can go wherever you want and not restricted in any way.
We flew in to St. Petersburg which is gorgeous place to visit in the summer months. It is a delight to have a cold Russian beer that you buy on the street along with unusual flavored chips and watch the hydroplane races that are performed on the huge rivers.
It is the historical headquarters for the Russian Navy university, academy and military port both past and present.
Now, Saint Petersburg is known as the “city of museums” as I understand there are over 600 museums across the city. You have to make some tough choices on which ones to pick as you cannot possibly walk to all of them.
but I think the best one was the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps which has an amazing collection of Russian and Soviet Union weaponry.
Some of the Cold War history artifacts were really fun and quite surprising to check out!
We also took a day trip to visit Catherine Palace which is about an hour away from St. Petersburg but a wonderful site full of history,architecture and artwork. Luxurious to say the least.
Now, how many people know that Saint Petersburg was actually known as Leningrad during World War II? It was actually once of the most brutal and long running sieges in the war. The Nazi cannons were positioned all around the palace grounds to pound the city 30 KM away.
In closing, we enjoyed touring around the city for about 3 days and then hopped on the overnight train south the Moscow! What an experience, not to be missed!
Stay tuned for the next posting on Moscow!