Day 7 - St Petersburg 1
Ashore by 7.15am to get through Russian Immigration/Customs ready to meet our tour guide and the rest of our group in time for an 8am start. On recommendation from friends, Graham had booked the four of us in for a 2-day 'Must-See St Petersburg' excursion from private company 'Alla Tours' instead of the usual P&O offerings. There are 12 of us from Arcadia plus 4 Americans from the Celebrity Eclipse (one of the other 6 cruise ships in port today), with our tour guide Olga and minibus driver Alexis.
Highlights of the superb, but long and tiring day included:
A walk around the vast gardens of the Peterhof Summer Residence, with all it's astonishing fountains and water features - all gravity-fed (i.e.no pumps)! The whole place was modelled on (and intended to out-do) Versailles.
A ride on the St Petersburg underground metro - not unlike London's, but with incredibly palacial ornate stations.
An unexpectedly extensive 4-course lunch in a large and decidedly grand restaurant.
A visit to the huge St Catherine's Palace and it's mind-boggling Amber Room - all amazingly completely rebuilt after WW2.
All this plus numerous photo-stops along the way - absolutely brilliant, but by the time we were delivered back to the Arcadia at 7pm we were all totally shattered and not exactly relishing a 7.30am pickup tomorrow morning!