Interview to Laura Dunand
Russia is a very big place … how did you decide in which part of the country to go? Was it your first time in Russia?
Indeed this is a very big country… I went to Helsinki to visit a friend and I wanted to take advantage of being there to visit the surrounding countries. After some research, I decided to go to Saint- Petersburg because it’s really close !! I also visited Tallinn (in Estonia).
Yes it was my first time and I really enjoyed it!
Be careful however, there is a lot to know before you go (visa, passport …)!
I advise you to get information from your embassies and consulates to plan this trip as well as possible and avoid unpleasant surprises!
What’s your favorite Russian city where you’ve been?
I just went to Saint-Petersburg… so I couldn’t tell you … But I really want to return in Russia to visit Moscow and Siberia!
Do you consider the Russian architecture as one of the most beautiful in the world?
I found it very sophisticated, and beautiful: it looks like French architecture so yes: to me, the most beautiful are the Italian, French and Russian architectures.
Is it an expensive place? How is life there?
Definitely not! I was very surprised to see the difference with the western European countries. You can eat very well for 10€/person and the average price for visits is 4€! Do not forget to provide cash to change! the currency there is the Russian ruble and not the euro.
What’s the best monument you’ve seen there? Was it full of tourists?
To me, the most beautiful monument of this city is the Catherine Palace: very beautiful palace with a great outdoor park and a lake! There weren’t too many tourists because it was in March but be careful if you go there in summer. Plan to book your tickets online. Also, there is the Peterhof palace with its parks and magnificent fountains (Versailles of St Petersburg). I did not have time to visit it but absolutely to visit in summer.
What about the weather … Russia is known to be a very cold country, is it true?
Haha yes it’s true! I went there in March so it was cold, it was really windy! But I live in the French Alps so it didn’t shock me.
Do you suggest to visit Russia? Why?
I really recommend going there! it is a really beautiful city where there are lots of things to do 😉
Be careful I recommend going there during the summer to benefit from boat trips on the canals, the lifting of bridges in the evening … or during the holiday season with the Christmas atmosphere.
How did you move from one city to another during your trip to Russia?
Between Helsinki and Saint-Petersburg, I took a plane: it wasn’t really expensive and fast, but you can also take the train or the boat but it’s long (12H/14H).
You must know that in the city of ST-Pet, you have a service named “YANDEX”: it’s like Uber = car transport application by local people: you select the place you want to go to and the application calculates the duration of the journey and the cost and offers you all the drivers available in the vicinity. You can also choose any kind of car and any kind of budget! it’s really practical and inexpensive: I ABSOLUTELY recommend it.
Tell us about the most beautiful thing you remember about this trip in Russia
My best memory there is the view of the whole city and the Neva at night from the rooftop of my hotel (Saint-Petersburg Hotel : Pirogovskaya Naberezhnaya, 5/2, St Petersburg).
Leave us a general comment about your trip
It was a really great trip: beautiful city with many activities and beautiful buildings. I advise you to visit the surrounding cities at the same time (Helsinki, Moscow, Tallinn …).
Little more: some restaurant tips to test absolutely (yes I am French then gastronomy counts a lot in my travels):
Katuysha: Nevsky Ave, 22/24 St Petersburg = very typical restaurant and there is some animations very cool
Yat’: just next to the Hermitage Palace = very typical restaurant and good food
Cherdak: Ulitsa Kuybysheva, St Petersburg : very good food and very nice waitress.
Thanks to Laura Dunand for taking part to the “Experience” project. We hope you the best.