“To Russia in winter? Who would think of such a thing? I – and you too – should urgently think about visiting the second largest city in the country in the cold season.”
First of all, the Gulf of Finland doesn’t get cold at all, and secondly, the tsarist charm of St. Petersburg only really unfolds in the snow and ice. Far less hectic than Moscow, the city of the White Nights is not only the cultural highlight of the country, as a traveller, you can also experience the proverbial Russian hospitality here.
2,300 palaces, castles and stately homes in the centre of the former tsar city alone bring the culturally interested traveller into a hectic time of planning. Hence the emergency plan: City tour with the tourist bus (organized by the hotel) to see a few highlights (Saviour’s Church, Peter and Paul Fortress, Isaac Cathedral) at least from the outside and then on foot from the hotel to the world-famous Hermitage. The Winter Palace and the museum opposite house around 60,000 exhibits!
St. Petersburg has enchanting hotels. Kempinski for example, operates a magnificent five-star hotel in the immediate vicinity of the world-famous Russian Eremi¬tage. Hotel Moika 22 is managed by the German Simon Zaglmann. He has given his reception crew excellent training in international communication. As a true Bavarian, Simon Zaglmann ensures that white sausages, pretzels and sweet mustard are also offered at the sumptuous breakfast buffet. The concierge team is well informed and makes (almost) everything possible.
Only a few minutes away from the Winter Palace is the Restaurant Rustaveli, directly on the Moika. Georgian cuisine is served here: lamb, beef, pork, shashlik, hot soups and homemade schnapps. Language barriers are simply laughed away here in a charming way.
Business Quick Getaway
And then finally into the much-quoted sauna: Make sure you go to one of the many sauna clubs – they are not shady, but a real Russian tradition. In Degtyarnye bani for example, English is spoken, men and women sauna separately and also in groups (Russian Class). Business is also done here during your perspirations and massages. But that doesn’t have to affect you any more during the bleisure trip.
Kai Böcking …
has really rediscovered sauna use in a cold St. Petersburg. But you can also discover a lot in St. Petersburg outside the sauna lodges, which is not possible every day. We all know that, I’m sure some people say! But when you’ve been there, it’s something different again.
Fotos: © iStock.com/rusm, Degtyarnye bani, Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 St. Petersburg