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Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

Filtering by Tag: St. Petersburg

5 Reasons to Visit St. Petersburg in Russia During the Spring

Paula Gaston

St. Petersburg - So close, yet so far for those of us who are from Finland! At this time of the year, I often think that it would be nice to visit St. Petersburg in Russia again. For Finnish people, St. Petersburg is practically a few hours away, but still many people have not visited. Many might fear the visa process. But if it is too hard to get a visa, you can always go on a visa-free cruise like we did. When you arrive in Russia by ferry, you are allowed to stay on shore for 72 hours without a visa. Even in that time, you will get to see plenty of things.

ENJOY THE SUN WHILE IT’S STILL NOT TOO HOT

The sun has finally returned after the dark and cold winter, and will warm up not only the air, but also people’s hearts. The locals will get out to enjoy the spring time too. The snow has just melted and the sun will make the golden cupolas of the the churches shine even more than they normally do. But the best part is, that it is not too hot to tour around the city even by walking. The evening in fact, can be a little chilly, but the days can be quite beautiful.

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YOU WILL SAVE SOME MONEY BY TRAVELING DURING THE SPRING

In the summer time St. Petersburg is full of tourists, and the prices go up. During the spring you are likely to get your tickets cheaper, like the hotels and other services too. So if you want to save a little money for your future travels, offseason is the time to go. Again one good reason to visit St. Petersburg during springtime.

Happy face in front of the Hermitage in the spring sun

Happy face in front of the Hermitage in the spring sun

EXPERIENCE ST. PETERSBURG WITHOUT MASSES OF TOURISTS

No crowded places, no lines! You can access even the famous Hermitage Museum or the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood within ten minutes wait, and there is space to walk around and take photos without other people being in them. This is true luxury! Just don’t forget that most of the museums and churches are closed on Mondays.

5 reasons to visit St. Peterburg in Russia during the spring, and this is one of them: The State Hermitage Museum.

5 reasons to visit St. Peterburg in Russia during the spring, and this is one of them: The State Hermitage Museum.

FALL IN LOVE WITH THE COLOURFUL EASTER DECORATIONS

Before Easter you will find so many beautiful decorations and hand painted wooden Easter eggs sold on the streets and stores. Easter is a big celebration in the orthodox church, and it is seen in many ways in Russia. I really liked the decorative eggs they were selling and bought some to bring back home to California.

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PARTICIPATE IN ALL THE LOCAL FESTIVALS AND CONCERTS

Springtime in St. Petersburg is full of all kinds of events. Many of them are related to Easter, but there are also other celebrations and many concerts that are held during the spring months. If you like to see local traditions or enjoy different kinds of festivals, spring is the best time for that in St. Petersburg.

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St. Petersburg is an amazing city with so much to see! It is a paradise for those who are into history and historical buildings. And wow, there is so much gold in abundance in those places. Unfortunately, there is also another side of St. Peterburg. Most of the local people don’t live that way themselves. There are many faces of St. Petersburg, and it is definitely at it’s best at the spring!

 

Vacation in a City - My Top 10 Cities in the World

Paula Gaston

The Internet has made booking trips so much easier that most people book their trips by themselves rather than use tour operators. More and more trips are also made to metropolitan cities. Here are my favorite cities to visit. It was impossible to put them into any specific order since they all are so different from each other. 

1. SAN FRANCISCO

Well, it is almost a must for me to start with the city that I love, and which is very close to my home. San Francisco is colorful, trendy and a little bit crazy too, and it offers something for everyone. When visiting, you definitely need more than just a one day, since there is so much to see and do in the city, and not to mention all the areas surrounding it. You must of course see the Golden Gate Bridge, ride the Cable Cars and visit Pier 39. And don't forget the world's biggest Chinatown outside of China. This is a city where you can walk in a business district one minute and hike on the beach the next. Or you can do a cruise to famous Alcatraz Island. There is nothing that people here haven't seen, so no matter what you look like, they wont be staring at you. No wonder they call it the most European city of the United States. 

Pros: Open minded and colorful city which you will never get bored with!
Cons: Expensive to stay in. Often chilly winds blow from the ocean. Increasing problem with drugs and homeless people can be seen almost everywhere today.

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2. TOKYO

Tokyo is definitely different than any place you have ever been to. Even different sections of the city can be totally different from each others. Tokyo is very hectic and crazy, but they also have beautiful parks where you can go enjoy the silence. The first days were quite confusing to us since the train and metro network is huge and most signs are in Japanese. But at the end we managed to learn how to get around, and even our 4 year old fell in love with Japan. There is tons to do with kids, and for young at heart adults. And we have never felt this safe on any of our travels before. 

Pros: The safest and most different city we have ever been to.
Cons: Hotels are quite expensive and people don’t often speak English.

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3. PARIS

Paris is Paris, what can you say? It has its own atmosphere and you really feel like you are in Europe. Paris feels compact since you can easily see all the sights in one day by using the metro. Beautiful buildings and history is everywhere, not to mention the River Seine. Paris is great for those who love good food and shopping. 

Pros: A mecca for those who love good food. A lot to see and lots of history.
Cons: Hotels are expensive. In many place they don’t speak English. To break the ice it would be good to know a couple words of French. 

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4. LONDON

At the same time modern and old fashioned London needs no introduction. So much to see there, and if you don’t want to tour in a double decker bus around the city, you can always take the Underground (metro). London was my hometown for one summer and there was never a boring day while I was there. You can see and feel the long history of the country all around London. 

Pros: Amazing amount of culture and lots of history. Everyone speaks English. 
Cons: The weather can change quickly so don't go anywhere without an umbrella. 

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5. ST. PETERSBURG

We went to St. Petersburg and I felt like I didn't see quite everything yet. I would like to go back and explore more. There are so many beautiful buildings and museums, good food and many things to see in this city. It would be even better if there was a local guide to show you around. Even though everything on our trip went well, occasionally we felt like people didn't like us. This might not be the best destination with kids since most sights are museums and churches. 

Pros: So much culture, museums and architecture.
Cons: Safety can be a concern. Requires a visa if you want to stay more than 72 hours. 

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6. TALLINN

Tallinn has fast become a very trendy city. People don't go there anymore just because of the cheap shopping, they go there to eat in fine dining restaurants and see the night life. And of course, there is a lot to see in Tallinn, like the best preserved medieval walled old town.

Pros: Still relatively cheap. Lot of historical places.  
Cons: Far away from rest of the Europe. 

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7. STOCKHOLM

Visit the rustic Old Town in Stockholm. I will never get bored of the awesome cafes there. Stockholm is great for shopping, but there is also a lot to do there. It is great with kids and you don't have to leave far from the city center to find cool stuff.  

Pros: A lot to do for both single people and families with kids
Cons:
Staying downtown is quite expensive. Cold and dark during the winter months. 

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8. CHICAGO

Chicago has always been one of my favorites in the U.S. From the downtown with high-rises you can easily get to the beach of Lake Michigan. Also the Chicago River that runs through the city makes it a very unique place. Chicago has some kind of old movie feel, and I even got a closer look at that while I stayed in the Tokyo Hotel which used to be popular among gangsters. During the winter Chicago is cold and it might snow, so summer months are better for vacationing. In recent years the crime rate has increased in Chicago so make sure to stay in safer areas. 

Pros: There is both a lake and a river right by downtown. 
Cons: During the winter it can be cold. Chicago is not called the Windy City for nothing; the flights are often delayed or cancelled due to weather and storms. Some parts of the city are not safe. 

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9. DUBAI

There are many kinds of opinions of Dubai, but I added it to my list since they have most everything there that you could want. They have sun, beach, food and some culture. The local culture is mixed up with this new and fast built city where everything must be bigger and better. It might not feel real but at least it makes Dubai different. Beaches are close by to the city.

Pros: Both beach and city life combined with arab culture. For sure a different sort of place unlike any other.
Cons: Dubai has been questioned for its respect of human rights and for destroying the ocean by building artificial islands. 

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10. REYKJAVIK

Yes I know, it is not exactly a metropolitan city, but at least it is a capital! I really liked Reykjavik. It is known for it's colorful nightlife and many cafes. It is small enough that you can just walk or bike from one place to another while admiring beautiful wall murals. And you can't feel any more safe than you will here!

Pros: Small but full of life. Very safe. People speak English almost everywhere.
Con: The service culture in Iceland is often very stiff and serious. 

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What are your favorite cities?