Americans can travel to St. Petersburg without a visa for 72-hours when entering by ferry with a company like St. Peter Line. Through them, I booked our overnight ferry trips plus two nights in the city. We took a train from Jyväskylä to Helsinki, made our way to the harbor, and boarded the Princess Maria. We had a little cabin with a window, sink, toilet and shower. The ship offered a couple of options for food (buffet, Italian restaurant, snack bar), a bar, slot machines, karaoke, live entertainment and a movie theater. It wasn't fancy, but it was functional and entertaining. After walking the deck and checking out the ship, Sarah and I hunkered down in our cabin to watch movies, read and sleep.
Around 1am I was woken up by a loud crunching noise. Looking out the window, I saw this...
We spent two days walking around this big city of 4 million people. So much history, so much to see, so little time. And, to be honest, I wasn't feeling well and we just didn't have it in us to attempt to fit it 'all' in especially when the second day was so foggy we couldn't see across the street. Most of our time was spent in the Hermitage museum which was overwhelming in size, opulence and the sheer number of items to see.
The experience was a stark contrast to how we're experiencing Finland - over time and in a community.
The city had few tourists because it was February, a rather dreary time of the year. I've seen photos of St. Petersburg in the summer and it looks magnificent. I'm glad we went and, truly, I really did not experience anything this lovely city has to offer.
You can see some of my photos here.