We finally made St Petersburg – hereafter known as St Pete’s – at 4am on the morning of June 1st!!!!
We missed the connection in Moscow and after much to-ing and fro-ing were put on a 1am flight!!!!!!!, naturally we were quite thrilled by this!!!
A few people got the sharp edge of my tongue which did no good at all but made me feel better. The bonus of course was our introduction to the white knights of St Petes.
We boarded the plane at 1am, it was kind of light, and as we went towards St Pete’s dawn came up. By the time we went to bed at 4am it was fully light!!
We were picked up at St Pete’s airport by a surley driver and deposited at the boat, a cool reception, and my next piece of crankiness as I discovered that there was a behind the scenes trip to the Hermitage the next (this!) morning that was fully booked.
I was to meet the event Ruskie at 7am to discuss this! After 3 hours sleep I was in a particularly charming mood… We never got on the trip, two yanks did, wonder what they paid as a backhander!!!
However, we were so tired that I doubt we would have lasted on an eight hour jaunt through the Hermitage. We loved what we saw during the short four hour trip we did, had a great guide which helped.
The Hermitage covers a large area and as well as art has marvelous furniture, giant agate urns, and chandeliers…. Could spend days there, but in winter when there are not hoards of tourists.
Had a nod in the PM then went off to swan lake at the Kirov theater. Hot and Boring, but we liked the music. After act 1 we got a taxi back to the good ship Ingvar.
Next morning it was Catherine’s Palace. We had an hour long wait but worth it. However, we were starting to feel we were in a hollywood set as everything we visit seems to have been rebuilt or moved within the last 50- to 60 years.
What we have seen of St Pete’s is stunning, would love to spend time wandering around. We are moored about 20 minutes out so are a bit captive. Reminds us both of Venice, has canals and lovely long vistas, pastel painted buildings, etc, etc…
In the PM we went on a bus trip around the city, bit rushed and very hot. Saw where the last Romanovs are supposedly buried plus all the other Romanovs at St Peter & St Paul. Lots of guilt and glitz but don’t think it has been rebuilt.
Went down the famous Nevksy prospect, yummy shops, but seen from a bus – sigh…
Saw St Isaac’s and lots of other St something churches.
Sunday and all the populous were out to play, even swimming in the Neva river, lots were fishing and many just sunbathing in the various parks. A lot of brides (and grooms) about, usual strapless dress, but not many brides maids, usually accompanied by friends?
Knackered and in bed early.
Food on the boat is fine, good hotel nosh, plus loads of free wine! Cabin is nice like a four star room with Balcony, we have a smoker next door about whom we make nasty comments and slam the door. Eventually I went to the office and complained – no more smoking!
Last day in St Pete’s we went out to Peterhof built by Peter the Great but rebuilt after being bombed and burnt to the ground by the Nazis. Very opulent with wonderful fountains, bigger and better than Versailles (well, similar!)
Arrived back on board for lunch then had a Nana nap that lasted 5 hours! Felt better after that.
We now have four days drifting down the river to Moscow.