Cold temperatures but no snow welcomed us into the gorgeous city of Saint Petersburg. Things did warm us up a little after realising our cab driver had ripped us off big time. Not only that, but Igor the devilish Russian, delivered us to the wrong hotel. Similar name but !!! Piss be upon you Igor.
Reception kindly got us sorted with a new cab and we were soon at the right address....or were we ? It was a shocker. Maybe Igor was right afterall.
After one night we were out of there and into another. With closeness to Nevsky Prospect, Saint Pete's main street, we were then ready to explore.
And it was all good once again …. so we had a drink.
The hop-on-hop-off bus system provided a great overview of the city before we legged it to museums, shops, restaurants and more shops. The Galleria proved popular with the ladies.
The Faberge' Museum was brilliant but the Leningrad one was a bit of a problem. Two visits and two closures were not fun. Lunch in a gorgeous French style eatery overcame all disappointments.
We decided on pot-luck for a New Year's Eve dinner and scored well. Although a strictly Russian menu had us on the ropes for a while our waitress, Christina, got us sorted and we even had a sort of floor show from our window table. Across the narrow roadway and a floor up an 'exhibitionist couple' provided interesting body language in their bay window.
Fascinating, but strange.
Not so our meal. Cheeses, breads, perfectly prepared steaks and sides, it all happened so fast...bang, bang,bang. And then we were into warm mulled wine. Bring on the New Year.
And it soon arrived. Nevsky Prospect burst into life with various live music points and scatterings of fireworks in every direction which went on all night.
Huge snow ploughs and other massive trucks provided strong security at all access points presumably to prevent any wayward vehicles from entering the main festive area.
Street dancing, mainly by men, and 'from the bottle' drinking by both sexes dominated the scene with increasing passion. After a while we decided to call it a night.
New Year's day was all white. Heavy early morning snow faded into flurries throughout the day.
And we were very happy.
Much walking in the soft stuff was punctuated with occasional shopping and coffee breaks. To keep with the Russian spirit 'bartender' John supplied Amaretto to slurp from a soft drink bottle to keep the chill out while we walked the snow covered streets.
And of course, all was really good and the temperature seemed to get warmer.
Next day, finally, the museums were open and there was just enough time for two visits before the 'bartender' and Gayle needed to make tracks for home. The Russian and the Leningrad Memorial were chosen and they were excellent. The Russian especially so.
Sadly and all too soon we were alone....no barman, no shopping guide, what would become of us?
Thanks John and Gayle for visiting, we'll miss you..... and who'll organise our drinks?
It was now our turn to pack and be at the train station next morning for an early departure. Our planned train trip direct to Tallinn had to be changed following service cancellations on our travel day. This meant returning to Helsinki then catching a ferry over the Baltic Sea to Estonia's Capital. Should be fun.