Jeff and I in front of the Palace of Soviets. Lenin gestures behind us.
I got up at 4am to catch my flights to St. Petersburg via Moscow. In my hurry to leave, I forgot to pay for my last night AND I accidentally stole the room key. Sorry, Levon, I will make it up to you somehow.
I was damn tired, so I don't remember a thing from the flights to St. Petersburg. I arrived at Pulkovo 1, and realizd that Jeff would be arriving from Vienna (via Pristina and Zagreb) in Pulkovo 2. In Russia, separate terminals are never located close enough to each other to walk. Thank you Soviet building theory! Anyway, I dragged my stuff onto two different buses to avoid the taxi racket (the true definition of th word racket). I made it in time to meet Jeff!
We immediately set out to apartment of Bulat Mannanov, our kind couchsurfer host.
We stopped by the House of Soviets on the way, which is now used as an absurdly spacious office building for the St. Petersburg city government. Then we commenced a grueling walking tour of the canals, the river, and churches near and along Nevsky Prospect. No one seem to know that it was City Day - the 307th birthday of the city of St. Petersburg. Just to prove me right, there were fireworks launched over the Spit of Vasilievsky Island. We watched from the embankment. Dinner did not come until 11pm, just after dark. We sampled 5 different kinds of vodkas, with Putinka ("Little Putin") vodka winning our taste-test contest. We nearly did not make it back to Bulat's apartment because the bridge directly connecting us to Vasilievsky Island had been raised for the entire night for huge cruise ship to come into the city. A kindly old man who had lived for 70 years in St. Petersburg drove us on a circuitous route across three different bridges to barely make it back to the apartment. Otherwise we would have been stuck on the mainland until 6am.
There will be more - a lot more - pictures when I get the photos which Jeff took.