St. Petersburg for Beginners

Tue, 28/06/2016
On the first day of arrival in St. Petersburg, while Yana was still "recharging" in the hotel, I went on my traditional tour called "see something - go there faster." If you didn’t have the time to see the city on the first day, then it is not guaranteed that with a wife slow as a snail you'll be able to do so. As many of you know, we were staying at an architectural heritage better known as "The House with Lions", which is now the FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LION PALACE ST. PETERSBURG, which is located close to the St. Isaac's Cathedral.
The building of the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg is a former residence of a noble Alexander Yakovlevich Lobanov-Rostovsky. The building is commonly known as "The House with Lions" and hence the name of the hotel - Lion Palace. At the entrance of the building guests are greeted by two lions symbolizing power and authority. The lions were carved by the sculptor Paolo Triscorni.


Yana Fisti on the balcony of the Four Seasons (view at the St. Isaac's Cathedral ) 

We were very lucky with the hotel in general, because it has a perfect location. There are also two restaurants inside the hotel and both are quite significant in the Russian gastronomic industry. The restaurant «Percorso» has Italian cuisine, and «Sintoho» has Asian. The menu at these restaurants were created by chef Andrea Accordi. His previous restaurants in Prague and Florence received a Michelin star.

It's windy and rainy outside. But my plans couldn't be ruined even by a meteor rain. So I take an umbrella and walk out. The weather looked terrible, but in fact it wasn't that cold, at least for someone like me, ready for a long walk. 

For some reason I had trouble crossing roads here. I thought in St. Petersburg everyone moved slowly, but in fact they're all much faster. Even though I was in the second capital of my own country, the "tourist kind of thinking " still made things more complicated. You think: "What if they cut hands off for crossing the streets in the wrong place ?!" and there I am looking for the "zebra." )) I walked on the drawbridges (when they're closed they do not look like a tourist attraction that much). I went to the Peter and Paul Fortress. By that time I was already very wet and started to feel cold.

Half a well that I've found

A "coffee shop on wheels" is what saved me! It's a car that has a real coffee machine with decent coffee instead of the trunk! I have not seen such a miracle in Moscow.

Apparently I went around the fortress from the wrong side and ended up on a sandy beach. It was a scene called "He closed the door from the other side." Evgeny, seagulls, sand inside my shoes, wet clothes, 7% on the phone, waves, wind whistling in the ears, rain and a rattling umbrella. Totally wet. It was almost the "Survivor" movie - searching for the horse episode. )) I closed the umbrella as I was tired of it, and went back along the shore ... I imagined this city completely different. And in a situation as such where one seemingly has to hate the world and the gulls around, I had no doubt that I loved St. Petersburg! It was love at first sight!

The first gastronomic discovery in St. Petersburg oddly enough was the Rib Eye Steak in the Italian restaurant Percorso of the FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LION PALACE. From an Italian restaurant I was expecting almost anything and I was ready to forgive the most mediocre piece of meat, but the steak surpassed my wildest expectations! Perfectly cooked (medium rare), perfect serving, the thickness, the size! ) It was amazing, and that is proved by the fact that I didn't have time to photograph it. )) Yana doesn't eat  meat, but she always asks me how would I rate the steak on a scale from 1 to 10. This one was probably 8.5-9 points! If this wasn't the best steak I've eaten in Russia, then it's definitely in the top five! Much to my surprise, the steak was very different the following day, it was more like Strip loin, but I was told otherwise. It was a delicious strip loin, but that's another kind of steak, with other distinctive features and made of different cuts. Nobody believed me, which is strange, given that I am never mistaken in things like that.

The false Rib Eye 

Yana doesn't eat meat, so she pleased herself with a delicious risotto. 


The view from the balcony onto the St.Isaac's Cathedral will still come to me in my dreams. 

We walked a lot, and lately I feel myself like a man who crawled out of a cave after watching the "Terminator 2" and crying "My God! There's a man who is actually a robot! Mind Blowing! These super effects are out of this world!" And everyone else tells me: "Calm down, dude, we know! We know! We watched it like a hundred years ago. It might be a shock to you, but there's also a third part and Schwarzenegger became the governor of California! ")) That is somewhat like I've been feeling myself lately talking about St. Petersburg.

A traditional photo with a manhole. 


I do not understand how it happened that we have traveled half the world and only now have come to St. Petersburg. So many times we chose venues for shooting in Europe, worked on the streets of  "beautiful" Moscow, searched where to spend a weekend to change the scenery, and we never understood those who moved from Moscow to St. Petersburg or admired this city more.
How wrong was I! And I am glad that I was wrong! It's worth a lot to discover in life something that was just under one's very nose and even more to fall in love with it! I think that all the people in our country can be divided into two types - "Moscow" and "Petersburg".
Although now I do not even doubt that I am the "Petersburg" type. In Moscow I am more anxious, but here am more relaxed, like at home.

Beauty is in the details. Literally every time we go somewhere by car Yana laughs at me for constantly commenting on design elements of different cars: "Why are the corners of the rear lights so sharp?!", "Why place a Mercedes star here instead of an inscription?!", " Why is the lower bumper in a different colour that the body? ", etc.

Zinger building

Roasted chestnuts. Didn't try them in Paris, didn't try them in Petersburg. Something has to stay unknown.

The same goes with architecture! I do not understand why often our expensive modern accommodation reminds me the "projects" for the poor in New York? Alright, you have built an ugly box! Well, add some Chinese molding, round the corners and decorate the balconies at least. But No! What for? If all have no taste, then maybe it would be wise to find one in a million who does have some taste and who will somehow control the entrepreneurs who hang on their beauty salons pink coffins saying "Aphrodite".
But even this issue in St. Petersburg is a lot better. As we drive along the Nevsky prospekt nothing hurts the eye - billboards, pharmacies, banks, cafes, salons, etc. They all exist in harmony with the architecture of the buildings. And I think to myself: what should I pick on? My sight stumbles on a KFC  banner, but even that one has a beautiful frame around it and everything falls into place again. I do not want to praise it too much, but clearly there is a difference. The details are very important to me. A supermarket sign can be hung up on beautiful historical buildings in different ways. The signs in Petersburg have conquered me!

St. Petersburg citizen rowing away

It seems to me that if a local citizen rows on a boat under you (literally) and you ask him how to get to the Mariinsky Theatre, he will stop his boat, moor, walk up to you, introduce himself and tell you which way is best to take so that your walk would be the most interesting. Surprisingly, almost everyone is open to communication. I persistently looked for the houses known as wells of St. Petersburg. Many of those houses have locks, so I saw a man coming out of one of them, I rushed to him asking whether that was the "magic well." He ended up showing me everything, and we discussed architecture, buildings, dogs, women and so much more. A 10-minute conversation as if we were old friends. And that wasn't the only case. Sales people, waiters, passers-by, drivers ... I was very much pleasantly surprised! I can't say that everyone in Moscow is aggressive and doesn't  communicate, sure,  we communicate, and there are many nice people, but in Petersburg it's just more heartwarming. Maybe we were just lucky enough, but no one expressed any negativity towards us during our stay ... Perhaps the reason is simple. Even I had no negativity in me. Is it something they add to the water? ))

Evgeny Fist on the Palace Square

Yana Fisti on the Palace Square

Breakfasts at FOUR SEASONS are amazing as usual, LION PALACE in St. Petersburg wasn't an exception. 

Mexican style eggs


About how the city didn't want us to leave

Our Sapsan train departed at 19:00, we left the hotel an hour earlier, because of the parade rehearsal. So we left in advance! At the very entrance of the hotel we stood in a traffic jam. Along the St. Isaac's Cathedral alone we drove for 30 minutes! Then we got caught up in another traffic jam, so we decided to take the subway. One suitcase for two and also Yana had bought a travel bag for all sorts of necessities on the road, which, of course, I had to carry too. When we finally got to the subway it was the rush hour. The metro in St. Petersburg is buried very deep, I almost felt myself age as we were going down the escalator. Long story short - at 18:59 we were on the platform. "Is your train at 19:10?" - someone asked. "I think," I said, because I couldn't imagine that two same Sapsan trains would be leaving at 19:00 and 19:10! Damn! We ran to the train only to find out that our tickets were valid for the  19:00 one. Our Cirque du Soleil with all the baggage ran across the platform again.

Just like in movies, we ran up to the train and watched it leave... "Go change the tickets!" they told us.  "Well, if they run every 10 minutes, then there must be no problem" we thought. There were 148 offices and endless lines of people. I remembered my childhood when I last stood in a line to get train tickets. In 20 years nothing has changed. Pure torture. I realized that no money was worth it. And as I check the next train I find out that it is only at 5:30 am. )) 19:00, 19:10, 5:30 ... not bad. )) We return to the hotel. And it was a remarkable turn of events, because this evening is what we lacked to spend some time in the SPA.

The spa in the hotel (Luceo Spa) occupies 4 floors (!). We liked it due to the lack of people and did not like it for separate saunas and hammams for men and women. They are located basically in the men's and women's changing rooms. We were in the spa alone, but we had to be separate. It was awesome, though a bit boring. The pool isn't very big, but there's a lot of all sorts of hydro massages, fountains, bubbles etc. During the day the pool area is filled with sunlight through the glass roof. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to take the camera and the phone to take pictures, but then again that's not what the Spa is about.

We are confident in advising the FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LION PALACE ST. PETERSBURG. If you ever decide on coming to St.Petersburg, then this is the place to stay. Totally worth it. We will be missing it!

If you want to feel yourself like an idiot - turn on the camera and start talking. All critical judgments towards actors will fall out immediately, as well as your self-confidence. If schizophasia can be turned on, it's with the Record button. If you've seen our "periscopes" you probably know how one can talk for three hours about nothing. ))) We had attempts at shooting videos 4 years ago. Well, why not, we travel a lot, many interesting things happen around us. We wouldn't do it for ourselves, but starting a video blog is quite a motivation. The usual turn of events is as following: we communicate, joke, laugh, discuss something interesting, we're all fun and adequate people.
Once the magic button on the camera is turned on... "I am my mother's fool ..." The mood is suddenly gone, the weather turned bad, the jokes are over, the lightning is wrong ..." So we sticked to the photo format mainly! Another attempt of ours was this time in St. Petersburg. We didn't care what would happen, we just grabbed our GoPro and started filming everything. After editing the footage we ended up with 2 parts of about 20 minutes each! The sound and the motion picture are sometimes out of place, but after watching it I realized that this is exactly the format that is able to fully convey the atmosphere of our trips. ) Surely, in 90% of the cases I started shooting after something interesting had happened, but that's just experience that I don't have yet.
I'd like to see your comments here and on Youtube to understand if we should do more of these videos. Both parts are already published to
Of course the main role is played by Yana @yanafisti, as it isn't very convenient to film yourself without a selfie stick and with one it is also not convenient, but for other reasons. Show Must Go On!
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Fist&Fisti "The trip to St.Petersburg" Part 1. 

Fist&Fisti "The trip to St.Petersburg" Part 2.  

Voznesensky prospekt 1, St.Petersburg.

Evgeny Fist for 

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