Thursday, we rolled out of bed around 10, and after some free breakfast at our hotel, set off
. We visited St Isaacs cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in the world. Then Hart went to the Russian museum and Nick and I went to the Peter and Paul fortress across the river. It was under major reconstruction, so there was not too much to see. Right outside the walls is a very popular beach in the summer, so walked on that. Many old men in speedos were seen basking in the sun, standing up, appearing to be praying to the sun god, with arms raised towards the sky, willing the sun to tan their exposed bodies...I guess thats how they do it here. We met back up with Hart and decided to go to a real Russian restauraunt...or one that had English writing outside. So we found that one. We dined on Beef Stroganov whilst being serenaded by a russian trio of violin, guitar, and a tamberine. After dinner we called it a night to try to conserve money and rest up. Weve probably walked about 40 miles since weve been in St Petersburg. The city is huge, everything seems to be on the other side from our hotel, and were too afaid to take the metro...Also, upon arriving here, we realized that USAA, the bank we all use, does not allow their ATM card to be used in Russia...Luckily Hart had his card from another bank, so weve been living off him since we got here. That wouldnt have been fun being in Russia for a week and half with no money...anyway
Today we woke up, checked out, and went to the Hermitage, which is apparently one of the best museums in the world, according to people who know things like that
. It was HUGE. I spent about 5 hours in there. It was filled with paintings, including 2 Da Vinci's, some Raffaels, tons of Rembrandts, picasso's, Van Gogh's, Monet's. Also, a Michelangelo sculpture. I got one of those little audio guide things again, so I am quite learned now. We decided to meet at the internet cafe at 7, so here I am, after a stop at Sbarro's. Yep, Sbarro's.
Our train to Moscow leaves tonight at midnight and arrives at 8, at which time we will be looking for some man holding up a sign that says Nicholas Bishop to take us to our Hotel.
Im gonna try to add some pictures now too...
Victory Day actually turned out to be more like our Veterans Day than Independance Day. We watched the parade that ran through the main street. It consisted of a bunch of different military units, all lead by old WWII vets. The crowd threw flowers to the vets as they passed, and they were many old USSR flags on display...So there we are, standing on a packed street in the middle of the 4th largest city in Europe, when Paul, the south african we met in Estonia, strolls by. What are the chances. After the parade was over, we went to a nearby bar and had some drinks and some pizza. After we finished there, we went to a hooka bar down the street. Hookas were smoked by all, except me. We had a few more drinks then parted ways with Paul, assured we would run into him in Moscow, the largest city in Europe. If not, hes on the same exact train as us to Mongolia, so we might run into him there.