It feels surreal to be in Russia yet the actual experience is just like any other major European city with the exception of signage. The language and the written word are like pieces of art.
We booked an independent private two-day highlights tour with TJ Travel. The ship docked at 7 am and we prepared to depart as soon as possible having heard it could take up to 45 minutes to clear customs.
Apparently the line to depart began on deck six and we managed to merge in from five and were meeting our guide Tatiana after clearing customs in only about fifteen minutes. I’m just excited to have a Russian passport stamp!
One of the Czars goals was to claim the city as the Venice of the North and it certainly has the feel. Rivers, canals and bridges cut across the city yet the canal culture never thrived.
Our next stop is the Catherine Palace about an hour away but fist lunch! Since we’re in Russia I started with a caviar appetizer followed by a simple vegetable and poem meatball soup. Very good. The Catherine Palace is beautiful yet sad to realize everything you see has been painstakingly restored since it’s near total destruction in WWII.
It’s been a long day with other full one tomorrow. I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation!