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Published: August 19th 2009
Venice of the North it may be - but it seems that plenty of the water is in the sky not the canals. Not that that put us off the place, it has stunning architecture that doesn't make you think of Russia at all. Mind you, it was built for a Tsar (seemingly with little expense spared) rather than by Communists, so perhaps the opulence is not surprising.
Had a fantastic time looing around the city - and even put up with an hour an a half queue for the Hermitage museum.
Then our first train. Arrived at the station - drenched. Couldn't get the ticket attendants to change the e-ticket for a proper ticket and had to resort to a machine that only had Cyrillic alphabet and only spoke Russian! Fortunately we arrived over an hour early - it took 45 minutes just to get the tickets. As it was an overnight trip, didn't speak much to the Russians on the other side of the compartment - but their English was as rubbish as our Russian, so probably didn't make any difference! However, internaltional sign language did help the two muppets who couldn't work out where to store their luggage or how to get in to the top bunk - we'll be seasoned pros next time.
Now in Moscow. Most of our stuff has dried. Sun was out, but I'm not hopeful that it will stay that way.
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