After a peaceful night and thanks to my Russian friend’s help with the Metro card I managed to reach the city center and walked to the Eremitage.
The Eremitage does not need any comment or rating. Its reputation is known all over the world. Just one word: after Peterhof the day before here was another indescribable collection of beauty, history and fine arts.
My parking spot was in walking distance to the entrance of Peterhof, the famous summer residence of Zar Peter the Great. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Peterhof It is impossible to describe in words or in photographs neither the grand design, the insurmountable beauty, the elegance, the tranquility nor the vastness and the hidden secrets and jewels of that place. It is surely on the same level as Versailles near Paris.
Entrance and first gardens:
Excellent water features all around.
The only little mishap for me was that I lost my bifocal glasses and could not find them 5 min after the incident. I walked back to my vehicle drove to the shopping mall nearby and found a shop which had reading glasses, what a piece of luck.
My next priority was to visit the Ermitage in the city. Interpreting the road signs as good as possible I looked for a bigger hotel to maybe stay on their parking lot. I found the Park Inn and went inside to ask.
They offered me their secured and enclosed parking for a nominal fee. Another piece of luck. The security guard allowed me even to plug in my electric connection cable. It was not posh, but safe and sound to stay there for another two nights. Never mind that the restaurant had German Weißbier… Another piece of..
I did not stay at the Hotel, but in the road behind it.
As I mentioned a couple of times I had no functioning navigation and it took me all morning to find a place near the center of St. Petersburg and parked my motor-home in a parallel road of a main avenue and started to walk around and found an orthodox Church under renovation…
Decided to try the subways and explore where the Eremitage could be. Again weak preparations, lessons learned. Did not understand the process to buy a ticket and find directions in the subway. A young Russian gentlemen saw my misery and helped me to get the travel card which must be loaded with money. He said he is going to the maritime museum and I asked to join him as it was far too late for the Eremitage anyway. He agreed and we had a jolly good time walking to museum, inside and walking back.
On the way back I cought a glimpse to the famous Museum.
Miraculously I found my parked motor-home after using the subway back and drove towards the west to Peterhof which I wanted to visit next day. From the main street I always check the side roads to find other motor-home travelers and I was lucky once again near the Samson Hotel.
Summary: Very good road network to St. Petersburg, dull weather, acceptable border process, indicated parking site was abandoned.
For parking site was abandoned I looked for a spot near Peterhof.
Found a quiet Cul de sac with a small security hut including a watchman. I asked him in English and with hand and feet whether I could park for one night. He agreed without hesitation. Later I found out I was in fine company in between the two buildings Konstantinovskiy Dvorets and Dacha Lindstrema.
Today only 165 km to Kaliningrad. Dull and rainy weather but excellent roads and bridges and low traffic volume.
I believe my data volume on my Austrian contract has already been exhausted and I did not have any Russian map on my Garmin Navigation Set. Luckily I printed the GPS coordinates of the camp site during my preparations. Garmin provided at least the present coordinates of my vehicle online. It was very demanding to watch and analyse the running numbers on the screen and behave well in traffic at the same time. Round about lunch time I found my hotel which has a motor-home parking area attached.
The camp site is very basic but electricity is available and the site manager was very helpful and friendly. The shower was only in the basement of the hotel and was clean and efficient. Luxurious would be a slight exaggeration though.
From Hotel Baltica to town with public transport bus:
At the reception of the hotel I changed some money and got advice how to use the bus which had a station in front of the hotel. I decided to go for it and found an elderly lady as conductor selling the tickets. I was not in the mood to ask everybody whether they speak English so I was just riding the bus and got off when it looked to be in the center. I strolled around in the the mist, shot a few pictures, had a coffee and cake in a shopping mall and looked for the bus again. As I took the wrong direction, I fulfilled a complete round of that line back to the hotel.
Some green areas in between
In the case of Kaliningrad my motivation to go there on route to the North Kapp was uncertain from the outset. Finally I decided to ‘”take it with”. But my preparation was half hearted and I missed the “Bernstein Museum”, the Aquarium and surely many other attractions. There will be another window in the future.