Travel Blog By Paul Feeney / April 4, 2015 It seemed every time I mentioned the next stop on our virtually nomadic journey was Saint Petersburg, Russia people were slightly taken aback. I suppose Saint Petersburg would not be high on many peoples lists as a European city to visit and It does have stiff competition with beautiful cities such as Prague, Budapest and Bucharest all having very strong tourist industries. So why Saint Petersburg? Would I recommend it and if so – why? What can Saint Petersburg offer you that other cities can not? Well firstly yes, I would recommend Saint Petersburg, but for a certain type of holiday experience. When we go on breaks away what do we all want from our experience? From my travels, I feel most people don’t ask themselves this very important question when considering their holiday destination. I have met sooo many people on my travels who ‘thought’ all they wanted to do was sit on a beach and do nothing. Holiday goers who dreamed for months about sitting by the pool with a book and a glass of wine and do absolutely nothing but relax. However; what happens? By day two of sitting on the beach and trying to read their books they realise they are bored and restless. They get slightly annoyed at themselves for not relaxing and many can quickly become agitated and stressed at their boredom. I have heard the phrase “Oh we have had a lovely holiday, but in truth we are looking forward to getting home now” more times that not. If this sounds like you, then it is to you I would recommend Saint Petersburg. The once centre of the Russian empire Saint Petersburg truly is a magnificent city. Protected for its heritage and beauty under UNESCO law, every street boasts of huge, grand buildings, impressive landmarks and gigantic statues. However, its main asset as a holiday destination is it is a city that encourages reflection and inner calm. Because of its UNESCO protected world, it is a city untouched and unspoiled. The city is forever frozen in the past and the stresses of the 21st century ‘by law’ hidden in its ancient walls. Its vast streets, a little over whelming at first, soon become comforting in their size and openness. The city forces you to slow down with its cobbled streets not lending themselves very well to rushing. Plus, when you do discover a nice little cafe, bar or restaurant, (Of which their are many) you feel you have discovered somewhere special, somewhere only you have found. Two businesses that need no introduction. In my own beautiful city of Dublin these 2 powerful brands are everywhere with their posters and primary coloured fronts screaming and shouting at you at every turn. Buy this or drink that. As you can see, in St Petersburg it is very different and quite nice. You can walk past them without being distracted by them. Essentially going on holiday is to help you relax, however if your mind is not in a relaxed state, it can be hard and Saint Petersburg seems to help this. When we sit in a nice chair with a book and glass of wine, this to most seems relaxing. However, after a short amount of time, our minds will wander and restlessness will kick in. However… if while we sit we are accompanied by an open fire, something inside all of us relaxes. It is as if the fire keeps our subconscious distracted. Fire links us to a time gone by, something primordial in us. It is not the book or chair or wine that relaxes us, it is the setting, the fire, the subconscious distraction. The ancient world of Saint Petersburg evokes this same sense. Just like staring into an open fire St Petersburg’s vast, ancient streets emanates a constant realisation that you are in a world gone by and that whatever will happen will happen. I have never enjoyed exploring, eating, reading and writing as much as I have in Saint Petersburg. You don’t have to walk far in Saint Petersburg before coming across incredible architecture. This is the Savior on the Spilled Blood: Griboyedov Canal Embankment, 2Б, St Petersburg The city is filled with long streets, bridges and rivers. Very relaxing settings and scenes for exploring and giving ones mind time to reflect.