Hi! Folks, we are back in a new hotel room tonight, exhausted from walking miles around this amazing city.
Back to the beginning of the day. We had to hurry back to the garage by 9am this morning as I had managed to leave there last night with the wagon keys in my pocket. I think its a male thing, and I am a slow learner. The last time I left a broken vehicle was during one of my coach tours in NZ. We were in a hotel in the centre of Wellington and I had inadvertently left the coach in gear. No, it wasn’t auto. Anyway, by morning when going out to start it prior to driving the passengers down to the Inter Island Ferry to cross to the South Island, the coach couldn’t be budged, as the air in the system, required to operate the gear lever, had bled out and I couldn’t get it out of gear to start it. Oh Boy!!!. So, called a service agent and he arrived promptly but without a compressor to re energise the pneumatic system. To cut a long story short I had to arrange about 15 taxi’s to transfer the pax to the ferry and when the ferry was just pulling away from the terminal, got a call from the mechanic, have you got the keys in your pocket…..Uh Oh! I sure did, so, raced out to the deck nearest to the terminal and threw them about 10m to the wharf below, and shouted to a wharf worker standing nearby, asking him to take them up to the hotel for me. He did, and I survived…:)
Back to today. We waited at the garage for an update on progress but it was clear we would not be driving it today. Back to the hotel to pack our bags as they would not provide us with a room at the same rate, claiming they were full for tonight. Jen could have booked any one of three rooms on Booking.com but we decided to cut our losses as we were not impressed with their attitude. Jen had also found another, in fact cheaper and more upmarket, but right on a main thoroughfare and traffic noise is something else. Oh well.
With little to do but head off into the city on foot to get a hint of the scale of the place. There is not another city in Europe anywhere that can match the scale of grandeur and vision of it’s founders. The best architects from all over Europe were bought here to create a masterpiece. Wide boulevards, countless magnificent palaces and buildings and all in what was a swamp and never expected to survive. St Petersburg is also the place where the Bolshevik revolution started in 1917. The British and Americans sent troops to try and support the Tsar from withdrawing from WW1, on the Allies side. Those troops ended up fighting the Bolsheviks trying to stop the revolution, to no avail, and the rest is history. After the fall of Berlin in WW2, many of the returning Russian soldiers were sent to Gulags or executed by Stalin’s men for fear of them telling of the way of life outside Russia.
We have decided to spend tomorrow doing more sightseeing as there is so much to see and just hope that the wagon’s issues will be resolved and we can head east the following day.
Jen here. Just wanted to add today is another family birthday. My one and only granddaughter, Anna is the happiest wee soul and a whole One year old today and has apparently just taken her first 3 steps. Anna is my youngest son, James and his wife, Sarah’s daughter. Happy Birthday Anna. James and Sarah also have an adorable 4 year old son, Jasper. They are a long way from us too, living in San Anselmo, just north of San Francisco. We are a very close, but scattered family.