A city to be seen from the water
Such is St Petersburg, we were told. So that’s what we did. We crossed the bridge to our waiting canalboat.
I’m saying nothing about those.
As soon as we got on board, we remembered the low bridges! Mind your head.
Like everyone else, we sat outside, up top, for the best photographs (not that this is a fine example!) “On your left, you can see the Hermitage. Notice the large windows upstairs”.
From there it was straight out onto the River Neva. A stiff breeze was blowing and one by one, almost all of our fellow stalwarts had gone inside. Just an handful wrapped up warm and stayed out.
The front of the Hermitage was behind us as we continued up river.
Inna, still with us, pointed out the significant landmarks, including the Peter and Paul Fortress, where the Tsars are buried. We’ve not been there ourselves and would have liked to have visited, but the schedule didn’t allow for it. Never mind, we had a good view. There, next to the pavilion by the wall, is a small hut, from where the daily shot is fired at noon.
Under the bridge designed and built by Eiffel – not that you’d have guessed!
There, on our left was the battleship Aurora, which I remembered, was famous for the shot which started the revolution. Now, that’s not bad going for a non-historian like me – I felt quite proud of myself! It’s on such random facts that a great Trivia team is built, of course
and generally savoured the beautiful architecture of the city.
Inna was pointing out features here and there but we were happy to sit back and enjoy the scene. She did name the brutal building just behind here, reminiscent of a similarly brutal building in Westminster with a spookily similar purpose. Better not say the three letters which spell it out, then.
I think this is the Naval Hospital, open to all and not exclusively for Naval Officers.
A better view of the Aurora then, in front of the Naval Academy.
Oh, and there is the actual cannon which fired the shot, with the Russian “Fortress” flag flying.
We’d turned around now and in the gloomy light of a cold – not just chilly – afternoon, we were heading back and not totally sorry about that!
Back into the canal system, Inna pointed out the smallest monument in Leningrad – the little bird on the plinth there.
We were soon back at the pier near the church, which we’ll visit tomorrow.
Back on the bus then, to return to the ship and past a familiar sign. Even though we know this says “restaurant” in Russian, is pronounced “restaurant” as we would say it, we still think of it as a pectopah. Silly.
Our way back to the ship took us past the Bronze Horseman, Peter the Great, another real landmark of the city.
As you can see, home is very central here.
But our day was not over! We had tickets for a folklore show tonight.
It was in the Naval Officers Hall. Very grand, too!
Whilst not the best or possibly the most authentic show we’ve seen, it was colourful and fun.
The singers were over-amplified, we thought, though they were very good and those Russian bass voices…well!
You’ll guess which tune this action depicted?
There was a fun balalaika act with a member of the audience, too.
Mostly, however, it was a lot of very fast twirling, jumping, cossack dancing and lively music. We enjoyed it!
But oh my, were we tired when we got back home last night.
I’ll just leave it to your imagination how long the queue for passport control was