Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Final Full Day in St. Petersburg

A leisurely morning as we are on our own today.  About 11 am we left the hotel and walked to Nevsky Prospekt; it is one of the main streets and reminds me of walking down the Champs Elysees in Paris.   Our first stop was at the ATM where we got enough money for the last two days…all large bills so then we went to a bank and for .03% changed part of it to smaller bills.

Then we found a pharmacy and purchased cream for the misquote bits…sign language works well along with some show and scratch!  Seems to be helping.  One of the slideshow photos shows a car with a large exclamation point in the window indicating that this is a newly licensed driver and you should give them space! 
We entered the German Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul that was saved during the Soviet time by turning it into an indoor swimming pool.  It is now a church again.  It is the oldest and largest Protestant church in Russia.
Next we found the Polish Catholic Church of St. Catherine and discovered they were having a noon Mass in Russian.  Since it was nearly noon and we’d not been able to go on Sunday, we stayed and attended the mass.  It was held in the small side chapel and was full.  The altar in this chapel has not been turned around so the priest had his back to us during most of the mass.  The altar in the main part of the church faces the people.  He did turn around at appropriate times.  There were several nuns in attendance and their singing was beautiful.   It was nice to be able to attend Mass.   During the Soviet Years this was used as a storage facility and also badly damaged by fire but in 1992 they agreed to return it to the
Catholic Church.  It is the oldest Catholic church in Russia.

From there we rushed to the canal and made the 1 pm sailing of the boat that gives tours in English.  We went down one of the main canals that borders the Summer Gardens and then out into the Neva River and all the way down to the Hermitage Museum before turning around and returning on the same route.  It was lightly sprinkling most of the hour that we were on the boat.  Suddenly my camera stopped working.  Got out my cell phone and took a few snaps.  Worried about what to do for three more months!   But, after leaving the boat we walked to Carl’s Jr. for a snack of the new ice cream cookie sandwich and I worked on the camera.  Not sure what I did but it seems to be working just fine now.  Maybe it was the dampness.

We arrived back at the hotel about 3 pm and spent the next two hours watching the new documentary movie “Somm” that I had downloaded from ITunes before leaving home.  Really enjoyed it…the story of taking the sommelier test to become an expert about wine.
While we watched the movie the sky opened and it poured; so glad we were safely inside of our room.  We could see the rain as it pounded our skylights.
About 6 pm we went outside and walked back to Nevsky Prospekt and the MacDonald’s Restaurant that we’d seen earlier.  Very crowded and hardly any open tables; but we managed to snag one.  There was a nice looking young man who couldn’t seem to find an open spot so we invited him to join us.  He spoke beautiful English; he has traveled extensively and works for the Marriott Hotel in St. Petersburg.  Enjoyed our ten minutes or so with him.

One note about the flower baskets on light poles all over the city; a recent mayor was a woman and started the project; it's been continued ever since.  Adds a nice touch!
Back to the hotel by way of the water front along the Hermitage after walking half way across the bridge to take more photos.  Started to rain a couple of time but after a few big drops it was gone.  Our last walk home from the Palace Square.  We leave tomorrow afternoon for Berlin and will spend the morning repacking our bags.

See you in Berlin!

Again, if you can do slideshows, click on the photos below to go to Picasa website:


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