27 May 2013

Travel: Cruise Northern Europe part 7

Wednesday, 15 May
We had to get up at an ungodly hour cause our ship moored at 7am and our trip started at 7.30am. That in combination with the extra hour ahead proves lethal. And then there's the traffic. We spend hours just getting to centre of town, which is really close. Because of traffic works on one of the bridges, traffic is mayhem. And there's immigration that works as quickly or slowly  as they fancy. 
In the morning, we go to Pushkin where we visit the palace of Catherina the Great. It's a beautiful palace, very over the top, with a room made of amber. 
After that, we return and have a verrrrry quick bite to eat, and then regroup for the afternoon excursion. Because we only have group visas, we can't stroll alone in town. We can only leave the ship if we've booked an excursion. 
The excursion takes us to St. Peter and St. Paul (where all the Romanovs are buried), church of spilled blood (stunning), and basically the rest of this huge city. 
We then do a cruise on river Neva. With (sadly) a folklore group and (happily) russian sekt. The views are great, and the weather is still amazing. Yet again a very hot sunny day!
We are just in time for our final trip...Swan Lake at the ballet! Obviously stunning. 
Afterwards we return to the ship and after more frustration at immigration, we quickly go for our first hot meal of the day: spanking hot fresh pizza with Chardonnay. Man, we were hungry. 
It's now midnight, and I'm just so tired. Tomorrow it's an early start again for our second and last day here. Btw, the sunset ended at 11 pm.