Interesting about St Petersburg - I spent a week in each Moscow and St.P’s expecting to prefer latter over former but I found the reverse. Much less tourists in Moscow, stunned by the cleanliness, Art Deco buildings, fascinating history, underground stations and surprised by the great food. St Basil’s for me is the most loved icon of my travels and thanks to the most lovely woman on reception at the Four Seasons she upgraded us to a suite with magic view. St P’s is so much more crowded w the daily 30000 cruise tourists and even though I stayed less than 100m from Hermitage it was impossible to avoid crowds at any time of day to appreciate the art. Beautiful buildings -yes - great history and art and loved Church of spilt blood/faberge museum and especially PeterhofI was dragged kicking and screaming to St Petersburg. I knew the palaces would be great, had a book on the hermitage that was well thumbed. But the thought of travelling there, the intimidating visa application process, wondering how safe it would be for family (5 people across 3 generations). Got there and realised I was right about the palaces and other historical places, but was blown away by the locals. They were unfailingly polite and helpful, very good with "sign" language. I so enjoyed the visit that I signed up to return the next year.
Have not been anywhere that I would not return to, although some would be in the category of do I need to having been there once.
So loved both but preferred Moscow.
I’ll always remember our guide who had a fascinating life as a diplomatic interpreter (even had time in Australia). She pointed out the old KGB buildino and reminded us of the old Russian saying . ‘ even in the basement you get a beautiful view of Siberia’
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It’s cough literally and figurativelyI thought that I remembered a lot of graffiti but thought that perhaps I was having some selective memories and being a bit unfair- obviously not.