Friend H invited me to go out sightseeing with her on Saturday, an offer I couldn't turn down. Since Friend H is volunteering at the school on weekdays she can only get out on the weekend. Apparently she felt like having a bit of company during her leisure time. And with her boyfriend fifty seven million miles away, I must be the next best thing.
This is what our street looks like at 9am in the morning by the bus stop. Smolny is in the background and it was another clear day(that makes, like, three this month!). Our child-free goal was to leave the apartment by 9am. We felt very adventurous and daring going about by ourselves. We took bus 11 again down Nevsky to the bus stop in front of the Hermitage and then walked(walked, walked, walked) across the bridge to Peter and Paul Fortress.
Looking back over the bridge from whence we came.
Leaving early as we did(9am) we totally missed morning rush hour, which was nice. Being jostled on the street and standing in a crowded trolly bus are certainly part of the required Russian experience, but one best taken when in a stalwart mood and not on a full day of walking about.
One adult entrance ticket into Peter and Paul was 270 Rubles. The admission tickets gave entrance to Cathedral, which is under construction, the prison, the Commandant's House Museum, and two smaller museum rooms with drawings and information about the building of the fortress. There were various other small museum rooms about the place that required separate tickets. Overall I would not recommend P&P for young children. The museums had a lot of text to read and probably 80% of it was in Russian. Seeing the graves of the Tsars from Peter the Great to Nicholas 2 was neat, but the construction in the Cathedral took a lot out of the experience. It was, overall, a beautiful place for a walk.
A shield on display in the Commandant's House Museum.
Our goal was to get through the Commandants' house in time to be outside for the 12pm cannon shot.
We got waylayed by certain exhibits. We had just gotten our coats from the coat check(we tried to avoid it, but the bored guard enforced it) and were ten steps from the door when the cannon went off. Friend H thought this was hilarious.
Continuing the big door/small woman theme, here's the gate out to the quay. It costs extra to go up on the fortress wall, but there was still a very nice view from the dock, for Free! We even stuck our shoe tips into the Neva River. All these old buildings and bumpy cobblestone streets make me long for my stays and petticoats and American Duchess shoes.
From the quay we walked through the museum rooms where we enjoyed the warmth and a hilarious video of St. Petersburg's three hundredth anniversary fireworks in high speed. Then we ended our tour on a dark note by finishing at at the prison. From there we walked forever, haggled at the market(by ourselves!) and met up with Nanny 2 and the kids at Carl's Jr for some much needed repast.
Directing attention elsewhere: Living with the very nearly engaged Friend H, the topic of singleness and marriage comes up a lot. It made me think of this sweet story from last summer.