I have already told you in this post that St-Petersburg changes very fast. The amount of cafes and eateries is rapidly growing and it is hard to distinguish which ones are worth checking out, especially if you only have a couple of days to see St-Petersburg. I though I'd make it easy for you and wrote a list of 10 cafes in St-Petersburg worth checking out. I love them all and always make sure to stop by for a cup of coffee when I'm visiting St-P. For Russian version of this post click here.
Most travelers come to St-Petersburg and Russia in summer. I don't blame them - the opportunity of minus temperatures and only a couple of hours of day light doesn't sound attractive. But if you really want to get to know Russia it's essential that you pack all your warm clothes and book the tickets during winter time. Believe me, you won't be dissapointed.
Yes, Russian winters are cold. But they are also cozy, white and with lots of time spent indoors drinking endless cups of tea (or something stronger =)) and outdoors playing in snow.
And of course there are activities which are best experienced in winter. Let me share with you my favorite ones.
I wake up at 5 a.m. The alarm didn't ring yet and I turn it off not to wake up my sleeping family. I slide out of my warm blanket and put on clothes which were layed out the previous evening. The air inside the motorhome is cold. Clothes are cool. I put them on layer after layer, warming up slowly. Outside temperature shows -2C. It takes me 10 minutes to get ready and I take my equipment bag, close the door and start walking towards the reception - the meeting point. I'm too early. Noone it there yet. The first bus left at 5:30 a.m, but there were no empty seats so I have to wait until the next one at 06:00 a.m..
The sun is rising slowly. The air is crisp and chilly. I take out my camera to take a photo of the Mount Ngauruhoe while waiting for the next bus to arrive. People start arriving - mostly young couples. Some are wearing trekking clothes, some are wearing sneakers. Noone talks much. We all stand there in front of the reception, stepping from one foot to another, trying to keep ourselves warm. I am the only one who stands alone.
Finally the bus arrives and a merry driver greets us with a broad smile and cheers. I take the front seat, we board and immidiately take off for the drop off point on the way to the Whakapapa village. The bus driver - a friendly born in the area kiwi tells us to stay positive and to enjoy the day - according to him in the past 4 months there were only a couple of clear days.
We talk about this and that and than the bus stops. The driver says "goodbye", clears the pick up details and takes off. I see 5 other buses bringing people to the start point of the trail.
I walk towards the sign saying "Tongariro Alpine Crossing - 19.4 km". And start walking.
Small, colorful and full of life. Locals bargaining for goods, fish stalls selling catch of the day, loud music and piles of fruits - market in Seychelles capital, Victoria shouldn't be missed. It gets busy on Saturday. Oh, and don't forget to bring along your camera.