St Petersburg, Russian Federation
Another late start but thanks to Anton’s amazing Ukranian borsch all was put right from the night before. His supply of Bread Beer was also well appreciated – a yeasty fizzy non-alcoholic drink made from soaking good Russian black bread in water and allowing natural fermentation. Late in the day after a pile of handwashing Anton and I headed out to the Peter & Paul Fortress. We took the Metro, which was my first experience on this deep subterranean beast. It’s at least 70 metres down and all accessed in one long single escalator. A bit old and rattly it certainly goes fast and moves thousands of people. After passing underneath the River Neva twice and admiring the baroque interiors during line hops of some of the oldest stations – constructed in the 1950s – we emerged on the surface at Gorkovskaya Metro from what can only be described as a giant flying saucer shaped building. At the River Neva waters edge near the fortress many people swam in the murky sea waters pushed by the tide up from the Finland Sea. It was hard to imagine the long winter freeze and the fact that these river waters would be iced right over later in the year. I tossed low denomination rouble coins at the little hare statue in the moat accessing the fortress. Katya told me a story about this hare, which in the early stages of relating she was erroneously referring to as everything but a hare. After a lap of the fortress interior Anton left me to attend his yacht sailing club. With his beard and height he looks all the bit a sailor. And though he is by nature a man of few words he has an ancient wisdom about him. I continued exploring the fortress alone. I then took the 27 rouble (AUD$0.82) per ride Metro via two changes to Lenin Square, where I’d arrived on Wednesday night but never really noticed being in the tow of Katya and Anton. Apparently a terrorist act recently had ripped a hole in the massive bronze statue of Lenin. The explosion’s hole was left right through him in the place where people would say hurts the most! Needless to say the statue was repaired rapidly to avoid Lenin’s embarrassed state lingering in the public eye. Headed back to the ‘hood via Metro and adjourned to a little vego restaurant hidden in a back alley. Very delicious!