Aurora Central Hotel
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We had a later start today in order to avoid some of the traffic and met Maria in the terminal building at 9. Our first stop this morning is the Kazan Cathedral. It is once again a working cathedral after having been converted into an Atheism Museum during the Soviet era. The outside is shaped like a smaller version of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, but inside it is more like a traditional Russian Orthodox Church. It ...
... then made it to the Hermitage Theatre in good time. To get in to the theatre proper you take a side door into the museum and enter through the elevated walkway from the palace into the theatre. Since it was designed as a private theatre for the monarch, you can imagine that its a cut above the Lyric Theatre at home! It was quite nice, and we watched a performance of Swan Lake by the Russian Ballet Company - which is based in St Petersburg. Simone had never seen a ballet before and ...
... coniferous forests) on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. We had always wanted to visit St Peterburg; the legendary and romantic city which is so evocative of an unsurpassed turbulent and violent history.
The foundations of St Petersburg are largely attributable to the insatiable desire of the reformist Tsar Peter the Great to make Russia into a leading European power. Following the capture of Swedish outposts ...
... to get into Lower Park (500 rubles, €10), but it was pretty impressive. Unfortunately this didn't allow us to go inside the Grand Palace, and after spending so much to get in the park, we didn’t really want to spend any more to go in the palace.
We spent a couple hours walking around the park and then flagged down a bus to get us back to St. Petersburg. The bus was a lot cheaper than we ...
... out the entire journey. The moral of the story is that I watch far too much TV....or at least too many scary movies.
The journey itself was actually rather pleasant, I liken it to business class travel on a flight, ok so there were no trolley dolly's bringing champagne and warm cloths but I did have a flatbed and an overhead compartment. It snowed the whole time we were on the train but the minute we pulled into platform at Moscow it stopped so no white Christmas for me.