Yes, I know we didn’t actually leave but we still have to pas through customs and be officially stamped in and out of the country.
Unfortunately I woke at 8am and had to get up and get moving. I so wanted to sleep some this morning. Finally everyone was showered and dressed and we had a very speedy breakfast at Windjammers. We picked up some peanut butter for Oksana who had mentioned she likes it but it’s very expensive and hard to get in Russia.
We had a bit of a tour around St. Petersburg first up – having a scare at on the stops when we couldn’t find Christy (Oksana found her climbing on a brick wall).
Our first main stop was Peter and Paul Fortress, in particular the Cathedral where most of the Tzars are buried. There is also a memorial to the last Romanovs – who were all murdered.
Kevin and I had a funny photo taken – only to realize afterwards we had to pay for it!
We then had lunch at a local fast food place – no, not burgers – but Russian pancakes. Lucky we had Oksana with us as the menu was in Russian. I had a pancake with mushrooms and cheese and boy was it delicious.
Next we headed to the Hermitage Museum (at the Winter Palace) – which houses one of the worlds greatest art collections.
It was very busy here and we had a whirlwind tour seeing just the highlights. We were especially excited to see originals by Michelangelo, Leonado Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Picaso.
Not only was the art amazing but so was the building (well, it was a palace). I loved how in EVERY building you needed to look up to really see everything.
We then went on our private cruise – which really was private – we were the only ones on the boat which would have accommodated 100!! It had just started raining while we were onboard so we sat inside but by the time we departed 30mins later the sun was back out again. We enjoyed seeing the town from the water – you can appreciate the architecture that much more when it’s not behind cars and buses.
Then it was time to visit St. Issacs Cathedral. Another busy place and though beautiful, probably our least favourite.
Our last stop was the Church of the Spilt Blood (built on the murder sight of one of the Tzars). This was quite amazing. The locals call it the Disneyland Church. Inside it is lined with mosiacs – most of which were damaged and neglected during WWII and the cold war. Apparently it took 10 years to complete the building and 30 years to repair it.
A brief stop at another souvenier shop then it was back to the ship and time to say goodbye to Oksana and our driver (who’s name I can’t pronouce or spell). We had such a wonderful two days with them and we all fell in love with Russia and would love to stay longer. The tour with Anatasia’s Tour was fantastic and I’m so glad we opted to do a private tour (it actually worked out cheaper and was far better). The girls loved it too – we saw a lot but there was a good variety and Oksana was great at getting the girls involved.
Nothing much appealed on the menu tonight so I ended up having 2 dinner rolls and some veggies off Amy’s and Christy’s plate. Desert made up for it though – a delicious Kahlua Creme Brulle!
The girls went off to kids club and Kevin & I headed to our room – where I sorted out some washing and typed up both days of our Russian experience. It’s been just amazing and we’re really rather sad to be leaving.