Friday 11 July St Petersburg Day 2

Another early start for a packed day in St Petersburg. Another 7am rise for breakfast and although on coach in good time delayed by passenger who had overslept. Today’s tour was a full day tour of St Petersburg with the highlights in the morning and a trip to the Hermitage museum in the afternoon. Unless you have your own visa you cannot do the town independently so we decided to do the excursions to see as much as we could in the two days here. This morning we covered the highlights including the Peter and Paul Fortress, St Isaacs Cathedral and the Church on the Spilled Blood. It was sunny and warm and took lots of photos. Friday is a popular day for weddings and we most probably saw about half a dozen having their photos taken after their ceremonies. Lunch was included today again and we stopped at a nice downtown restaurant where we also had musical accompaniment! This time five courses with salad appetizer, a blini with cavier, soup, chicken and desert. Again had a small glass of champagne and a shot of vodka. Very nice.

After lunch we had a short drive to the Hermitage or Winter Palace. It houses a huge collection of art, porcelain, silverware etc in five buildings and you could spend a week and not see it all. An afternoon is tiring enough but our visit concentrated on art as well as the building itself. At least now I can say I have seen some original Da Vincis and Renoirs! We walked about 2 1/2 miles this afternoon so our guide told us on the way back. It had turned into a warm sunny afternoon and as the boat was to depart shortly after we got back on board we went up to the Lido deck to watch it set sail. We had our first ‘sail away’ cocktail and had planned to go for a swim before dinner but were too tired. After dinner we decided on a quiet evening. We found the laundry to do some washing but it was closed. So I did some emailing before we went up for our Horlicks. Tonight we had a beautiful ‘white night’ with the setting sun creating wonderful colours in the sky. After the sun set just after midnight we went back to the cabin. The clocks go back an hour so a chance to start catching up with sleep.