Saint Petersburg Homestay

Visit and review by Passport Travel Staff member July 2013

Passport Travel pioneered the concept of homestay and staff still enjoy this style of accommodation. I (Brent) recently stayed with one of our hosts in St Petersburg. It is still the best way to experience contemporary Russian life. July 2013 was a hot month in St Petersburg, hotter than normal, as it shared in the general heatwave encompassing a large swath of Europe. Due to the number of canals and its proximity to the gulf of Finland a rise in humidity came with the heat! As I had just come from two weeks on board a Russian icebreaker in the Russian Arctic the change, climate wise, was significant! On the plus side there were a few hours of darkness this far south!!

I had prearranged an evening meal as I had taken the late afternoon fast train from Moscow and arrived close to 9pm. I was soon sitting down to a wonderful dinner of wild mushrooms and potatoes - so Russian! There were some other Passport Travel clients staying here and they arrived back from their evenings activity as I sought my bed.

This is one of our 'absolute central' homestays and you need to work well in advance for availability here. Overall St Petersburg homestays are more central than Moscow due to the more compact size of the city. From my base it was 3 minutes walk to the Hermitage and the same to the Church of the Spilled Blood. Museums were easily reached on foot and I myself walked back from the Artillery Museum which is behind the Peter and Paul Fortress.

Near to this apartment you have a 24/7 type store where provisions can be purchased at 'non silly' prices! A good thing to have on hand are your airline eye shades. During summer St Petersburg and most of Russia have very short nights. The Russians are not so into heavy 'blackout' type curtains. The lace 'modesty' type, seen in the bedroom picture below, are the norm. If you are a light sleeper and are there during summer earplugs are another handy thing. Windows will be open and sometimes neighbours think they can chat until 0300am! I travel with both items all the time and already had over 2 weeks practice in the Arctic.

I particularly enjoyed the two meals (dinner on arrival and lunch before departure) I had organised. They were quality Russian cuisine. Don't let anyone tell you Russia does not have its indicative cuisine!

 

Entrance from street to inner courtyard Inner courtyard for apartments
After walking up stairs the entry door - no lifts Evening meals can be organised

 

One of the bedrooms, my one in fact The kitchen dining area
Bathroom Bath/shower