We left at 6.30am driving east today towards the border town of Narva. We arrived at the border at 10am. Passed through the Estonian border easily and drove onto the Russian Border. We had to take all our luggage from the coach and have it xrayed and then we repacked our coach and proceeded to another checkpoint on a hill where they checked our passports. After 90 minutes we continued on our coach with our luggage into Russia. About two or three kilometres from the border we were randomly pulled over by the Russian Police. They wanted to check the trucks papers and log book to make sure that our driver had completed all the required rest breaks. Our driver had to print off his log book for the past two weeks. It was 1.30pm and we were still be held by the Russian Police. They allowed our truck driver to take us up the road to a rest stop so we could have a toilet break and some lunch. Our tour Guide Ausre, had a bottle of Vodka so we had vodka shots to warm us up. Luckily we had a packed lunch today because there was nowhere to buy food where we were parked. Our driver had to go back to the border and discuss his log book. At 3.40pm Cosmos arranged for another local bus to pick us up and take us into St Petersburg. We finally entered St Petersburg passing the Moscow gate at 6.15pm. All the passengers were very upset and concerned about our coach driver who was still back at the border negotiating to get our coach to St Petersburg. We checked into our room and met up with Sandy and Martin and headed by taxi to the waterfront (Admraloga) for a ferry trip on the Neva River to see the raising of the draw bridges. It was freezing cold, but a very clear night. The boat owners gave us a lovely soft blanket to wrap ourselves in but they were not enough to keep us warm when we were out on the water.
We raced other ferries from one bridge to another to get prime place.
Alexander Nevskij Bridge,
Peter the Great Bridge (formerly Bolšeohtinskij Bridge)
This tour was fantastic. The night lights on at the Hermitage, the Fortress and the Palaces lit up with river and the anticipation of the draw bridges opening was amazing. It was a long night but well worth staying up for. We ended up back at our hotel at 3am. Still no news on our coach driver.