Petrograd … Leningrad … And of course, St. Petersburg …
There cannot be too many cities in the world, which have undergone so many name changes. I have always been fascinated by this city, based on what I have seen on TV shows (“Travel Channel” is one of my favorite channels) and read about. I am hoping that everything will fall in place and I will get to experience this city later this year. During our almost-2-weeks shutdown at Cisco Systems, Inc. (Dec24-Jan3), I thoroughly enjoyed spending part of my time researching St. Petersburg (St.P for short).
(01) St. Petersburg City Guide – Lonely Planet, Feb 2008
(02) St. Petersburg – National Geographic Traveller, 2007
(03) Brochures from Russian Embassy
It was a lot of fun reading about the various Tsars, Empresses and of course the USSR and their relation(s) to St.P. I took down “cheat notes” about the city, as I was researching. It is quite clear that visiting Russia will be one of my biggest challenges, yet. From what I have read, the VISA process is pretty cumbersome. Cyrillic Language will be a tremendous challenge (and to boot, I am pretty bad with languages. I.e. I am not a “natural”. I need to work much harder than others on languages). But all these are surmountable and I intend to be as prepared as I can, before I step on to Russian soil.
At this point, I am leaning towards flying into St.P (from Helsinki) early in the morning, say 8AM, and leaving St.P either by overnight train OR by flight the next day night. This will give me almost 2 full days to see the sights that I have lined up. Obviously, it would have been nice to be able to spend several days here. But then, I have to draw the line somewhere.
I have collected all the “raw material” I will need. The next step is to look at the transportation into and out of St.P (and its related timing, pricing etc.) more closely and decide on the overall outline of my St.P visit. Then comes Hotels, Restaurants (“Food/Cuisine” is a big part of my travels!) and a more detailed per-day plan.
I will blog as I move along in this endeavor …