Between these two cities, many small villages reveal the heart and the real Russian landscape. It was a beautiful synthesis of culture and traditions, and why not the local cuisine was an opportunity not to be missed.
I will not say anything about the Moscow Kremlin, or the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, or the Sergiyev Posad or of San Basilio. They are so well restored that it seems to be fake and partially so are. So if the effect is certainly dazzling, the idea is always to look at a copy of the Sistine Chapel. It's beautiful, and yes, it is exciting.
I'll tell you instead what really excited me. The 600 km between Moscow and St. Petersburg with greenery and birch forests interspersed with clusters of wooden dachas. The landscapes of Russia will invite you to look more and more as if to grasp even the Earth's curve. There remained the desire to see what's in those mini-cases, which I think are really too small for any Russian man, without even the dirt road to get there, on the edge of a forest.
The mosaic of the Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg thrilled me, covering the entire interior of the church from the floor to the highest dome. But mostly I was excited to know that a group of restorers has spent months years in there, harnessed to ropes to clean the mosaic in the only way possible with thousands of pencil erasers.
More than the summer residence of Catherine the Great in Pushkin and the skill with which they brought back to life after the Nazi siege, the quartet of singers excited me. They sang just for us a popular song in the concert hall of the room of Catherine with the best acoustics. There are rumors that go straight to the heart, the eyes and, I would say, even the hair bulbs.
I was excited with Novgorod Kremlin that is forgotten by all, even by Russia itself. It is never there in the classic tours as if the rest of Russia did not exist. It was great as we saw the frescoes of ancient colors.
Russia was great and I will not say more so that you are encouraged to find your own Russia.
Russia Travel Itinerary
Day 1: Moscow: We arrive in Moscow at around 4 pm. We walk around Red Square and in the Kremlin area. We have a Russian dinner. We spend the overnight at a hotel.
Day 2: Moscow - Valday (400 km): We visit the Red Square with the bikes to take pictures and then depart from the capital. We take the new highway to visit an Orthodox monastery and then the wonderful Valdai National Park with its wonderful nature. We also take a bath in a Russian lake and enjoy local food in the refectory of the Orthodox Iversky Monastery.
Day 3: Valday - St. Petersburg (400 km): We pass through Novgorod, one of the oldest and most famous cities of Russia. It is the place of birth of the Russian state and democracy. We arrive at the beautiful St. Petersburg. After checking in at the hotel we leave for the city center. We have dinner at a restaurant along with the Russian Vodka.
Day 4: St. Petersburg: We spend the full day in St. Petersburg, whose old town is a UNESCO World Heritage since 1990. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe! We start our excursion to Peterhof, the St. Peter and Paul Fortress, the Winter Palace, the Hermitage, the Cathedral of the Savior. We walk on the Nevsky Prospekt and the last Kronstadt fortress. We spend the evening in the most vibrant cities in all of Russia, where in summer the night is tinged with purple flashes.
Day 5: St Petersburg - Pushkin Hills (350 km): The plan today is to visit Pskov and Pushkin Hills. These are delightful places along the Lake Chudskoye. Pushkin Hill is also the home to one of the greatest Russian poets. We visit his estate and we see how people lived in Russia in the 18th century.
Day 6: Pushkin Hills - Derbovezh (300 km): We go down to the south. We arrive at Lake Derbovezh. The dinner is served by a local chef with fresh fish from the lake. We hear interesting stories about the culture and history of Russia.
Day 7: Derbovezh - Moscow (375 km): We start our last part of the trip through Riga as there is no alternative. We go a little off-road in the area of Tver. We eat in Rzhev and come to Moscow around 4 pm. After checking into the hotel we have one last walk in Red Square and the Kremlin. We end the day in a great brewery and restaurant in the Russian capital.
Day 8: Moscow: The day is dedicated to the visit of the Russian capital. We visit the GUM, the most characteristic area in Moscow (St. Basil's Cathedral, the metro area, the pedestrian Arbat) and the Bolshoi Theater and the Tretyakov Gallery. We have a farewell dinner with characteristic local Russian meal.