St. Petersburg is seriously impressive, but
there's almost more to be learnt about the Russian psyche from the
enormous palaces built by subsequent tsars and tsarinas in the
countryside around the city. It's easier to understand the shift to
communism - the 1917 revolution kicked off here, incidentally -
after wandering around these temples to excess with a guide
bringing the places to life.
A three hour daytime (or longer overnight) train away in
Moscow, the sites of the Kremlin are a
magnificent must-see, and the showy displays of wealth by the
winners in the post-communist free-for-all are a reminder that
ostentation is a trait the Russians have had all along. We know and
can recommend all the latest restaurants, bars and clubs to watch
the new Russian money flowing as fast as the champagne.