I cannot believe that it is already Friday of my vacation in Russia. We are having a great time though spend most of the time absolutely exhausted.

We arrived in St. Petersburg last night around 9:30 and were taken to our 2 bedroom serviced apartment. At first as we were going through the court yard and up the stairs I was wondering what it the world we were getting into. It is a wonderful apartment with every mod con you could possibly want except for one thing. We don’t have room darkening shades in the bedrooms. As I am writing this it is 10:30 at night but the sun has not set yet and won’t for another 2 hours. Then it will be like an early twilight until it is time for the sun to rise again. You totally lose track of your time. Cathy and I are never in a rush in the mornings because we know that it will never get too dark to be outside.

We visited the Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood today.It is magnificent. It is now a museum and was reopened in 1997 after being completely refurbished. For over 30 years this incredible cathedral with its 7 million individual pieces of mosaic the Life of Christ completely presented in these pictures was a warehouse. The Spilled Blood part of the title which is appropo for Christ, actually refers to the fact that Alexander II was assassinated on the spot where the church is now built.

St. Petersburg is the city of Peter and Catherine the Great. The buildings are painted many different soft colours and has a real European feel to it, though I don’t think Cathy actually agrees with me, and she has spent a lot of time in Europe.

Tonight for supper we took a gypsy cab to the restaurant. I will stop here for a brief explanation of a gypsy cab. The following is taken from a magazine on St.Petersburg.

“Taxi” is a term to be used loosely in Russian. Although there are official taxis, most St. Petersburgers hail ordinary cars. This can be unsafe, but you are usually OK if you take the necessary caution. There is a certain protocol to follow. Always agree in advance about the price. If the driver refuses,slam the door in an angry manner and sometimes they change their mind. Then hop in and enjoy the Lada expereince.”

And  that is exactly how it works.  So we caught a cab while we were standing by the water front which is the Bay or Gulf of Finland and went to the Shamrock Bar where we ate Chicken Kiev and drank Baileys.  Food was great, music too loud but a good time.

I saw the Hermitage Museum from the outside today. WOW!!!!!!  We are going into it tomorrow so I will have more to say about it.  I am really looking forward to it.  I would upload some pictures but there is some sort of glitch so I will put them on Flickr or Webshots for everyone to see, in a couple of days. Though there are some pictures on my Facebook page.

Well, it is time for bed by my body time if not by the sun time.  More later.

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