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St. Petersburg

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Saturday, 15 November 2008 | Views [425]

The train trip from Moscow was uneventful.  We slept for most of the 7 1/2 hour trip.  For once there wasn't someone snoring in the cabin with us.  We arrived at 6:30am.  It was still pitch dark outside and the full moon was still quite high in the sky.  The sun doesn't rise here until 9am. 

We checked into our hostel only to find out we are the only guests on our floor.  There is a young American lad who is alone on the second floor.  Must be the quiet season.  The hostel is great.  Free WiFi, laundry and breakfast.  Our bed is even comfortable.  It feels like a 5* joint after some of the shockers we've been staying in. It has an awesome location, a 3 minute walk from the Hermitage!

St. Peters is a lovely city.  Lots of canals, beautiful architecture and a rich history.  The people seem to be much more relaxed than anywhere else in Russia.  It has a upscale European feel to it.  It's a pity about the weather though.  Cold, gray and wet.  It is the first bad weather we've run into, so we don't mind as much.  Nick, Meredith and I spent the afternoon exploring the Hermitage.  It is an unbelievable collection of artwork, housed in the former royal winter palace.  It was the home to the Tsar's until the 1917 revolution.  The building itself is awe inspiring.  It is by far the most impressive "residence" I have ever been in.  It must have been even more so when filled with the personal treasures and furniture of the Tsars.  The Russian royal family was apparently Europe's richest.  No wonder the peasant revolted!  The artwork collection is one of the largest in the world.  All the big names are here.  I lost count of how many Monet's I saw and there must have been 30 Picasso's.  The collective value must be staggering.  The Hermitage has 3 million pieces of art, but only has space to display 1/2 of them at any one time.  We ran out of steam after 4 hours, hardly scratching the surface.

After a light meal it was off to bed.  Life's tough when your unemloyeed.

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