Beautiful weather again.
We got very little sleep last night after our big day in Moscow.
We took it easy this morning because we have a tour scheduled in the afternoon. We also scheduled an easy excursion – a bus tour of St. Petersburg. The last time we tried to do a similar tour, it rained so hard that traffic was snarled and we missed key sites in the city. That won’t happen today.
Also, we left so early yesterday that I really didn’t get a chance to get some pictures of the Marine Façade Cruise port. You can see from the shot below, how beautiful the weather was.
The port was very busy today with several ships docked or anchored.
Marine Façade Condos
We left Celebrity Central at 1:45 PM on our tour, “Panoramic St. Petersburg” (one escort on this tour). Anna is our tour guide – she speaks pretty good English and has lots of stories about Russia to share (not all positive).
The tour proceeded along the Neva River because you can see many of the sites of the city from the river banks. On this day, there was a Russian submarine in the river.
Submarine in the Neva River
We got a nice shot of St. Isaac’s Cathedral across the River
We didn’t visit the Peter and Paul Fortress but I did get a nice picture of it from the bus.
The bus did stop at one point along the river giving us an opportunity to get a sunny day picture of the two of us.
We crossed over a number of bridges – this afforded nice shots of the river and some of the canals. Lots of people out today.
The route took us past the park where the equestrian statue of Peter the Great is exhibited.
Peter the Great Statue
and past the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange and the pair of Rostral Columns.
The statues at the base represent the four major rivers of Russia (the Neva and Volga being two of them). The rostra from several ships adorn the Doric columns.
As we wound through the city streets, the guide pointed out the house that Tchaikovsky (the composer) lived in.
St. Petersburg Architecture
The tour had a couple of actual stops where we could spend a little time and take non-moving pictures.
The first was St. Isaac’s Cathedral. We circled the Cathedral
until we found a good parking spot. We spent about 10 minutes here but that was enough time to walk around the building and get the best pictures.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Our next stop would be the Church of Spilled Blood (site of Tsar Alexander II assassination). We could see the Church from Nevsky Prospekt as we made our way there. This was the only shot I got during that earlier rainstorm.
Nevsky Prospekt and Church of Spilled Blood
No rain today. The bus got a parking spot across the street. Except for the random people and parked cars, I got a very nice shot of the Church as well as the canal that runs along side the building.
Church of Spilled Blood
On the way back, Anna got into the subject of recent Russian Presidents. In her opinion, Mikhael Gorbachev was worse than Joseph Stalin. Stalin killed a lot of people, but Gorbachev almost killed the country. Strong opinions from a Russian.
It took about a half hour to get back to the port. Passport control was pretty quick this time. They knew we were leaving, probably.
Dinner was in the Oceanview Café. I am continuing my attack on the delicious cherry tomatoes.
Showtime tonight featured Pete Matthews – Comedy Juggler – we may have seen him in the past and didn’t stay long – we were just too tired from the last couple of days.
We went out on the back deck to watch the sail away.
About 90 minutes (and 20 miles) out, we passed Kotlin Island and the town of Kronstadt. The island was taken from Sweden by Peter the Great – it now has a Naval Base and the site of an impressive church, the Naval Cathedral. It is possible to get to the island from the mainland by bus and many see it as a nice day trip.
The Costa Magica was also leaving and was right behind us.
Kotlin Island and Kronstadt
A fellow passenger took our picture as we passed alongside the island.
We also caught the Magic Moment in the Bay of Finland.
A couple of tiring but terrific days in St. Petersburg, Russia.