Sarah and Graham
Fri 5 Jun 2015 09:41
Two days of 7am to 8pm sightseeing has left us absolutely knackered, the guide politely said it had exposed our fitness levels! But fantastic and the way we did it was def the right choice, so thanks Jen
As promised they, Ekaterina and Iskra, picked us up from the marina at 7am in a people carrier and we shared the tour with a young Canadian couple on holiday. The reason for the early start was that they have access to some of the sights before they are open to the general public by which we mean mainly the cruise ship brigade. So first morning we were in the Winter Palace with only a few other people around and what an experience, very atmospheric and beautiful, apparently you dont get the same feel when it is full of tourists and when we left the queue to get in had to well over 100m long. Our Canadian friends were big into souvenirs, not restricted by on board storage space!!, and even at the many shops they stopped in, our guides managed to jump the queues. We had typical lunch first day, Pizza Hut!! and traditional Russian fare at Teplo near St Issaac Church the second day, all included.
So we have seen just about everything, Hermitage, Peter & Paul Fortress, Catherine Palace and Yusupov Palace, more churches and cathedrals than I care to remember and the best of the boulevards, statues etc. One big advantage of the way we did the tour in a people carrier was that if we wanted to stop at anything of interest, we could and did several times. they have also given us some tips on where to go (and where not to go!), where to eat and other St P experiences while we are here, the river trip sounds good as does the maritime museum so sounds like we wont be lounging around the boat much and there are some of the outdoor sights that apparently are much more spectacular at night. We are quite close to the city centre so easy to get around either on foot or metro, taxis which are surprisingly cheap and there always seems to be a taxi or two at the marina.
Weather has been kind to us, warmish and little wind, apparently it gets really hot here later in Summer. Today is recovery day and maps of the city are already across the cabin table planning a route for other stuff we want to see, never been anywhere like this either by boat or as a more typical tourist, would def recommend to our cruising fraternity. Too many pics to put on here so have emailed a selection, actually about 100, to Claire who will distribute for us.
Will let you all know when we intend moving on but prob not till middle of next week at the earliest.
cefi at mail dot com