Up and attem, Well after a full night's sleep we were ready to go, the only little hitch was that it was only 04.30hrs and even breakfast wouldn't be available until 07.30hrs,
The room is great; it is very warm and cozy and the bed is huge and very comfortable, great for a full night sleep, however the full night goes from about 17.00hrs until 11.00hrs next day and yesterday was the longest night over here…
So we watched some local telly and the English version of the European news etc for a while (very early morning television must have to meet some international standard of crappyness before being allowed to air).
Breakfast was great, nothing second rate there, in fact it was so good it kept us going all day, not that we had time for lunch! We had a chat with a couple of English tourists who were part of another tour and were staying at this hotel. They warned us against eating at the Hermitage Museum café, we did have coffee there though.
You can see our hotel's web page at: http://www.angleterrehotel.com/. In fact as I write this, I am sitting at the table right under the red curtain eating pizza and drinking beer right under the watchful eye (and I do mean that figuratively) of a statue of a very naked Hermes. (you would need to check out the web site to know what I am talking about.)
This country has no shortage of anatomically correct statues of naked men and women (they pretend that if the statues are of Greek Gods, then it isn't really statue porn). Besides what meal wouldn't be enhanced by the occasional marble penis?
Well what did happen today?
Olga met us at 10.00hrs (still dark) and we headed off(with Vlad driving) on a city tour.
We checked out some of the major cathedrals, even going into the St Nichola Church while a service was being held. No photos were allowed inside but they had a choir of a half a dozen men using their voices as music as no instruments are used, pretty impressive.
We stopped for a look at some Egyptian Sphinxs along the river and then it started to snow, it was surreal. It was also hard to take photos. We stopped at the Cruiser Aurora memorial, the Aurora was used to initiate the Communist revolution as the gun you can see on the fore deck was fired to signal the start of the Revolution. There are lots of souvenir booths along the river bank near the Aurora, but the patronage was a little lacking, maybe the snow kept the tourists away…
We also checked out the Fortress of Peter and Paul, the Cathedral of the same name is within the fortress and holds the burial place of the Tsar Nicholas and his family, they copped it during the Communist Revolution.
The highlight of the day was definitely the visit to the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace of Catherine the Great. It was a long treck, just ask Kat, but what art treasures are held there! Too many to tell you about, Google it! The opulence of the palace has to be seen to be believed; no wonder there was a revolution…
After Vlad dropped us off at the hotel, I needed to get a local Data SIM so Olga took me to a telecoms shop along Nevskiy Prospect (a big important shopping street). It was a fair hike and Kat was worried by the time I got back.
Well, the Karaoke in the restaurant next door is getting louder, my pizza is all gone and my beer is empty, that means bed.