Saint Petersburg Tips
> I'm excited about my russia trip. You - as an St.Petersburg expert - > what shouldn't we miss out on? And don't tell me the basics like > Heremitage. I want insider tips!
It’s a trip with Jukka right? Just hang out with him. :)
Ok. City Bar is the place to go for drinks and food whenever in doubt. It’s very close to the Hermitage. The street is Millionaya. Can’t quite recall the number. 101 or something. It’s not terribly well marked. :/
Read Saint Petersburg Times. Get a copy of the paper asap, as it’s better than the website.
Bolshsya Konyushnnaya ul is my favourite pedestrian street. It’s the best place to change money. Also it has some cafes at the of it, just beneath street level, which are great Russian places to eat a soup and drink some Vodka. It might look a little grotty, but they’re cheap and safe.
Make a photocopy of your passport and visa. Keep one at the hostel. You probably need to carry your passport with you, although I never like to. Some places demand the passport when you change money. Not in Konyushnnaya btw, that’s why I like it. Just be super careful with your passport.
There is bar on the same street called the Pregnant Spy, it’s worth visiting. But it’s expensive. Don’t eat there! Just drink something.
A vodka shot should not cost more than one euro. If it does, move on.
Don’t be afraid of Black Taxis (Datchka). Try learn some numbers to negotiate with. Otherwise have a pen and paper handy, as well as a map. You should be able to get pretty much anywhere for 5 EURs. Don’t catch a car marked with Taxi at the top. If you get vibes or their price is stupid, slam the door and move on.
Besides attempting to learn the numbers like 50, make an attempt to read cyrillic letters. It’s quite satisfying to able to identify a Restaurant. Say please and thank you (in Russian) whenever possible. And of course no thank you…
Having a map is damn important. When you do go somewhere, have it clearly marked and don’t rely on anyone else. Try keep to the Nevsky Prospect. It’s the safest place.
Avoid the police. Do not trust them. Don’t ask them for directions and what have you. You’ll waste you time and you’re probably have to pay them a fee as you will be missing something from your papers. If you do have contact with one, try memorise their badge number. If their badge number is not on display, be especially wary.
Cafe Idiot is often billed as a good place to visit. I think the food is terrible. Maybe worth visiting on a Friday night.
Do not goto Mcdonalds. :)
Toilets everywhere are dire. So plan your pit stops.
Eat soup. Drink Vodka. That’s your diet. Vodka kills all the nasties.
The metro at rush hour is to be avoided, at all costs. It is not only uncomfortable, but it’s typically the time you will get robbed as it is so busy and easy for criminals to escape. Carry money on your inside pockets. Split it up in at least two places. Do not carry anything valuable. I wouldn’t even bother with a mobile, but perhaps you might think you will need it in case for first time trips. The Nevsky metro is probably the most populace one for criminals.
I think my favourite metro stop is Sennaya ploschad. It’s not so much the metro station, but it’s a good part of the town. Just off the Nevsky, so a little cheaper. Full of shops worth buying food and alcohol from.
Have a cheap odd (something they will never see in Russia) western watch for negotiating with if you run out of money. :))
Don’t purchase souvenirs from stores. I guess the best place is near the Blood Church, but you need to negotiate HARD with them.
Try dress like a Russian. :) Dress darkly and functional. Nothing too bright or with excessive brands. Wear some comfortable waterproof shoes, which you are quite prepared to be crapped on. Most places are quite smoky, and Russian cigarettes are hardcore compared to Europe, so be prepared for your clothes to be almost destroyed. :)
Of course, epecially if you are a girl, it’s only common sense to keep in company.
Have the address of your Embassy written down, and marked on a map for emergencies.
If you have time KUNSTKAMERA is quite good and across the Neva from the Hermitage.
Don’t forget your student card for the Hermitage!