23.02.2010 - 23.02.2010 -12 °C
This morning we met Wowa at St Peters column in the grounds of the Hermitage, guaranteed we were half an hour late but this was down to the maestro situation. If you ever go traveling its Visa all the way as no where but no where will take dirty maestro so we had to try about four cash machines before a willing one would give Rosie and Jo cash, otherwise your stuck exchanging money which you will get short changed by.
I had no idea what the Hermitage was, never heard of it but I enjoyed it. It's Russia premier art museum. It is part of The Winter Palace where former Tsar's used to live and it is still kept in extremely good condition. You could spend days looking round and examining pieces but we only spent a few hours and that was enough to appreciate it all especially the most elaborate clock I've ever seen. It was a peacock in a large glass case with full plumage and environment and on the hour it moved and spread its feathers, slightly more fancy than a cuckoo I thought? So with the weather staying calm even if it was cold we could see more of the city after lunch. We had lunch in a well known Russian fast food chain where the main product is pancakes, with all sorts of fillings sweet and savory, and on the way we saw our first random, wrong, picture opportunity. Walking towards two men we were offered a photo with a monkey in a baby grow!! That's right actual monkeys in knitted baby grows in the middle of winter in St Petersburg, funny to luck at but still cruel as hell.
From lunch we walked over the river which was frozen almost completely, supposedly by a few feet in some places as we found out when we walked on it. Not right into the middle as that would've been dangerous but our honcho led the way and most of us had a go. We walked out about 30 metres was very odd and even stranger watching a man creating sculptures on the river, piling up chunks of ice and snow calling it art he should have been in the Hermitage with that kind of forward thinking. Back on dry land we followed the river to St Peter and Paul's fortress a former defence against the Finnish and political prison. It was good to see but we didn't stay long, was getting a bit nippy. But we did get pictures with this small headed, voodoo esk statue of Peter the Great. Leaving the fortress we were going to get the metro back, girls choice, but me and Richard wanted to see the Mosque as it is apparently the most northern Islamic mosque in the world? So the girls and Wowa went one way and we went for an adventure. The mosque and its school were shut to visitors unfortunately so we got some good pictures. Was a brightly coloured building compared to the surrounding ones. We then made the decision to walk it back, not sure exactly how far we walked but must have been at least 5 miles and the weather wasn't the best pretty much the same as my first day.
Another thing like the first couple of days was the snow clearing teams dotted about the streets removing all the snow. This is also when we found out what the hazard tape was for. It's basically to mark the areas where you just might be killed by falling debris like massive icicles or when the teams were clearing roof's they just taped off an area and started hoofing snow off it, dodgy as hell. So ducking and diving we made it back safely.
Since it was our last night in St Petersburg we thought going out for drinks would be appropriate. After a bite to eat Wowa took us to Fidel's this little bar not too far from our hostel. Filled just after we arrived and as we did our first shot of Vodka a band started. But this was no Coldplay or bay city rollers they were dressed in military uniform and had a random mixture of instruments and even though we didn't know the songs we enjoyed it and the locals enjoyed that we enjoyed it, I think? After the band was Russia's very own fat boy slim but no word of a lie the guy was blind, like dark glasses, feeling round for things, Stevie Wonder blind. And he brought out all the tunes, from five to steps he had it all and we made new friends too some young Russians, some older they were all friendly and danced like maniacs so for a few pictures check out gingerwins.com that's Richards website. So vodka and dancing till 2:30 not bad, Wowa even stayed out and waited there till 5 for the first metro legend. All together a great night from belly dancing to Lizzy trying to make drunken snow angels on the way home fun had by all.