When we booked our cruise, we had two days in St. Petersburg, Russia. In order to get off the boat in Russia, you had to either stay with a tour group the entire time (being shuttled in a bus, taken to lunch, and lead on a tour of some museums and stuff) or you had to apply for a Russian visa…well, we’re not the “tour group” kind of people. We like to go off on our own, explore at our leisure, and do what we want to do. So, several months ago, we all applied for our visas. I had no idea how complicated this was…Andrew spent hours over the course of 6 weeks, communicating with the Russian Consulate, turning in applications, correcting and revising applications and finally getting us our visas (after paying the nice price for them…). Then, everyone kept telling me how we would be robbed, mugged, killed, tortured, etc. within the first few minutes of arriving. I had several people act as if I were taking my children to the red zone in Afghanistan. So, needless to say, after all we invested into these two days and after all of the grief, I was a little frazzled upon arriving in Russia and you know what…everything turned out beautifully. Russia welcomed us, we had a wonderful time, I bought several things for my home, we ate great food and my kids ran around like crazy soaking up the cool weather. Russia was fantastic!
The cab just dropped us off in the middle of St. Petersburg. In this picture, we’ve been in Russia about 8 minutes and so far, I haven’t been robbed :).
Kensington was less than impressed with Russia. She’d rather nap.
The famous Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood
We’re smiling because so far, we haven’t been assaulted :)
We went into a great bookstore where I bought a St. Petersburg book.. (I collect cook books and travel books)
A very yummy lunch outside
Kensington ordered pizza
Smith asked for more Fruit Loops before his chicken arrived.
Kensington asked to take pictures with my camera while we shopped. She snapped this one of Smith.
This one of Lovie.
And this one of Papa Jay.
We went to this great farmers market and of course headed straight to the cookie section. Who needs fresh fruits and veggies when you have homemade pastries? Sooooo yummy!
We walked through a park (still haven’t been mugged yet) and let the kids play on the play ground.
Such a great first day in Russia!
Day 2 started a little drizzly but was wonderful. Andrew asked these two police officer looking people for a picture. I’m not sure they understood him but they cooperated.
Dad and me 🙂
Smith looks like he’s having fun, right?!
We spent the majority of the day touring St. Peterhof. It was a grand palace with beautiful gardens. We toured (my kids did great on the tour!), had lunch, and walked the gardens. It was cold and kind of rainy, but we were all cozy warm.
Kensington loves her Papaw and Grandmother (they’re actually her great-grandparents…shhhh…don’t tell my Grandmother, she’s in denial that she has great-grandchildren).
In the back of the cab headed back to the ship. It was about an hour ride.
We finished off every single day with a stop at the crepe place on board the boat. My new theory in life is “a crepe a day keeps the doctor away”. They were so good!
Then we let the kids run around on the very top of the ship as we sailed on to our next port.
After that…we all hit the karaoke bar to watch Andrew sing. Here’s the thing…Andrew Shull is quite the ladies man. (I know, shock, shock, right?!). BUT when you get him on board a ship with 1000 old ladies, he’s really a rock star. These women LOVED him. He participated in karaoke night 4 or 5 times while we were on board. The old women couldn’t get enough Andrew Shull. So funny! He did a great job!
Up next, my absolute favorite port…Helsinki, Finland.
Sheaffer, Chris, Scout, and baby Carter says
First of all, I'm glad you weren't assaulted in Russia. Second of all, I'm glad one of those little old ladies didn't assault you to get at your karaoke singing husband. Third of all, how did you not gain 47 pounds with all of your smoothie, cupcake, weiner schnitzel, pastrie, and crepes eating? I mean I know you walked a lot, but come on.
Love K's pictures! I am SO impressed that you undertook the visa project yourselves. That is no small task (as you well know). We are going on more or less this same cruise next year (departing from the UK) and we will let the cruise company take care of our visas.
Blakely Henson says
Hi Shay. I really enjoy your blog! I am a current reader but I figured I would comment on this post as my question is relevant to the lovely process of obtaining a Russian visa. While I understand the visa requirements and what we need to provide, I can't find anything that mentions how early you should or can submit documents for the visa process. Some sites say 45-90 days in advance but I can't get the consulate's visa service they use to call me back. I was wondering if you remembered how far in advance ya'll submitted paperwork? I am a bit more fortunate that I'm here in Houston where the consulate is but I still want to make sure we have plenty of time. Thanks for your help!
Mix and Match Mama says
I believe we began the process in March and we departed in September. I don't remember the specifics but I do remember that it was a lot of work!