Hi we are doing a baltic cruise in August have a couple questions re side trips. #1 In St Petersberg do all the side trips that go to the hermitage get to go into the gold room?. #2 Would appreciate any recommendations on which side trip in Helsinki, and lastly in Tallin Estonia we have heard of a market called the sweater wall which sell all hand knitted sweaters etc. has anybody been to it and is it easy to find.
Thanks for any info
St Petersburg- The only advice I can give you for the Hermitage is pick (with some flexibility) what you would like to see the most. As you have probably heard, the whole thing becomes a blur after a while. DO however make sure your tours and/or your personal time includes a chance to walk through the streets and along the canals during daylight (unless you are there during White Nights then anytime before 10pm)
If you have the opportunity to eat in a Georgian or Russian restaurant while there, I would recommend it but do not mix Champanski and Vodka... oooo my head hurts just thinking about it.
If you want to pick a meeting point or a place to 'gather' yourself, pick the Grand Hotel Europe... I know things have changed a lot since I worked in Moscow but I am sure this is still as beautiful (and safe) as it gets. There was a German Pub around the corner either in or near there too that is a good meeting point. Hope this helps!