St Petersburg Big Bus Tour
12.02.2012 - 12.02.2012 -18 °C
All I wanted to do today was have an easy day sitting on the Big Bus Tour, to take it all in and then go back to the Hotel and have a nice relaxing time before my last day here tomorrow. However I had planned the day with a bus tour from 11.00 and then see what happened after that. I was running a bit late so I had to hot foot (no pun intended) because I was running a bit late. It was a cold -18'C but dry underfoot and so I walked considerably faster than I did yesterday. I arrived at the bus with a minute to spare and found that it had changed to 12noon, so I had a bit of time to spend.
I had a walk through the largest department store in Northern Europe that has been so for hundreds of years Gostinyy Dvor, 14 acres of very high class shops, with just about everything that you can think of. However I saw some people on the balcony who seemed to be having a meeting and when I got a closer look they were all models and so I had to go and have a look and I met the Romanov's, St Nick and Mary, the Pope, Lenin and even Putin and Stalin. Some were sitting around a table and some were just there. They were not the best Models I have ever seen and none of them looked like they would come to life anytime soon but I had a picture with Santa and Mary Christmas.
The Big Bus tour started and I just loved the commentary by Rob on channel 4 which was the English language channel. In a very refined American accent I learned a huge amount of information and I could talk about it for ages and ages; it really was a great commentary. St Petersburg has a very long and significant history and whereas I found that Moscow seemed to focus on the communist era and the progress since, but the focus here is on the very lavish regal history before the Bolsheviks and then the Communists took over. I loved all the details that never seem to get into the History books; the Alexander Column in the space outside the Winter Palace, which by the way has 1000 rooms and 2000 windows and 400 staircases, the column is the largest piece of shaped marble in the world and it is so heavy that it is not fixed to the base and is held there simply by its weight. We also saw and ice breaker ploughing its way up the frozen Neva river, and at the same time we could see a few people skating and having fun out on the ice and also near the walls of the Fortress of Peter and Paul; we saw one guy whose sanity remains in question who was in his 'budgie smugglers' having a dip in a special place that had been dug out o the ice to make a very, very cold swimming pool.
We passed a number of Museums and the Zoological Museum, we were told, is the only museum that has an actual Mammoth, and they have two, nothing about one, or two, upmanship is there. We also passed the Artillery Museum where they have so much 'stuff' they have had to expand out into the grounds and on to the nature strip. They also have one of the personal Pistols of Napoleon, now beat that if you can.
There is so much to see here that I could spend a few weeks here and really absorb this amazing culture; however I have one more day before I get to familiar territory, well Scotland anyway, so I had better conceal my British passport and be and Australian there but it is really going to be good to see cousin Helen again.