Another fine day is in the books. It started with a mini-tour of St. Petersburg, an imperial city that defies any quick tour. Our hotel is ideally situated to see this potpourri of castles, canals and rivers. The famed Winter Palace and the Hermitage was clearly the day’s highlight. It is amazing on two levels: on the one hand the building is as stunning as any palace in the world; and on the other, the paintings so often take your breath away. Perhaps the most pleasing was Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son”.
We had a light lunch in the cafe of the Hermitage and then on to the afternoon city tour where we took in a few more sights before a return to the hotel. Some had downtime while a few of us wandered over to the last home of the famed Russian writer, Dostoevsky and then also to the city’s main (Kuznechnii) Farmers’ Market.
If that wasn’t enough, 20 of us just returned from an evening walkabout that involved a subway ride at the start and end, more canals, the stunning Cathedral of the Spilled Blood at night, and a walk through the shrine on the Field of Mars.
All of this only scratches the surface of a fine fine day, with more to come. The weather was a light rain, off and on, but not enough to slow us down a single step.
It’s a good group, that’s clear. There is genuine good will, and it makes any shared mealtime a pleasure.
— Leonard Friesen