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Russia

2014 - OCEAN PRINCESS - St. PETERSBURG, THE HERMITAGE

MOVING UP THE BALTIC A LITTLE, WE NOW REACH ST. PETERSBURG.

I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO COME HERE FOR A WHILE & IT IS A MAJOR REASON FOR MY BEING ON THIS CRUISE.

THE SHIP IS HERE FOR TWO DAYS. I DID HAVE A VERY EXPENSIVE TWO DAY TOUR BOOKED THAT WENT EVERYWHERE, BUT DECIDED TO GO THE CHEAPO ROUTE WITH A PRINCESS EXCURSION TO THE HERMITAGE WITH A FEW HOURS ON MY OWN.

GOING WITH AN ORGANISED TOUR MEANS I DO NOT NEED A VISA BUT I AM SURPRISED ABOUT BEING ALLOWED TO BE OUT WITHOUT A GUIDE.

FIRST A FEW SHOTS OF THE EARLY MORNING FROM THE SHIP ......

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IMMIGRATION WAS SHORT & PAINLESS WHERE A VEY PLEASANT GIRL DEALT WITH ME..

PRACTICALLY THE FIRST PEOPLE INTO THE HERMITAGE ..... SO WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE LIKE?

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SUMPTUOUS - I AM HERE TO SEE THE BUILDING AS MUCH AS THE ART WORK .....

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LOTS OF SHOTS LOOKING UPWARDS TO KEEP THE PEOPLE OUT .....

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I DID NOT GET TO GO OUT INTO THE GARDENS BUT TOOK THIS FROM A WINDOW ....

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WONDERFUL MOSAICS .

THIS LOOKS ARTIFICIAL TO ME BUT WAS ALSO TAKEN OUT OF THE WONDOW .....

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I COULD NOT GET A GOOD LOOK AT THIS FOR THE PEOPLE BUT IT IS A MECHANICAL BIRD .....

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LOTS OF NAKED LADIES .....

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A DA VINCI MAYBE ....

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I WAS LUCKY TO GET A SHOT WITHOUT PEOPLE HERE ...

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SURPRISE - A LADY WITH HER CLOTHES ON. BY CARRAVAGIO I THINK. I WAS LISTENING TO OUR EXCELLENT GUIDE ON RADIO HEADPHONES BUT THERE IS FAR TO MUCH TO TAKE IN ...

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THIS GUY OBVIOUSLY HAS A HEADACHE. I KNOW HOW HE FEELS .

THE YOUNG LADIES FROM THE BOAT SEEM A LITTLE AWESTRUCK - OR JUST A LITTLE TIRED MAYBE ....

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SOME FOLKS GETTING SOME MUCH NEEDED REST .....

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NEARLY A PEOPLE FREE SHOT ...

AND HERE WE ARE ENTERING A TEMPORARY EXHIBITION WHERE PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT ALLOWED. THIS WAS TAKEN BEFORE THE GUIDE MENTIONED THAT.

IT'S ONE OF THOSE STRANGE FACTS THAT ALL THE PLACES WHERE YOU ARE TOLD NOT TO TAKE PHOTOS ARE EXACTLY THE PLACES WHERE YOU WANT TO.

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SHHH!

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WHAT A LOT OF EFFORT WE ALL TAKE TO GET JUST THE RIGHT CAMERA ANGLE ....

HERE'S THE HERMITAGE EXTERIOR .

IT WAS A GOOD THREE HOURS BUT IT NEEDS AN HOUR A DAY, EVERY DAY FOR SIX MONTHS TO APPRECIATE IT. WITH THREE HOURS IT ALL BECOMES A BLUR. ONE MORE MASTERPIECE AFTER ANOTHER .

STILL GLAD I DID IT AND WILL KNOW FOR THE NEXT TIME

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ANYWAY - THAT'S IT FOR THE HERMITAGE, NOW FOR MY THREE HOURS ON MY OWN ....

WE GET DROPPED OFF AT THIS SHOP AND AFTER A PEE BREAK, A COFFEE & A GLASS OF VODKA, ALL FREE I SET OFF ...

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ACROSS A LITTLE PARK ....

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PASS THE CAVIAR SHOP .....

AND THE AD FOR THE BALLET ..

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TO THE ODDLY NAMED, CHURCH OF THE SAVIOR ON SPILLED BLOOD ....

WHERE THE LOVELY PRINCIPAL DANCER FROM THE SHIP IS ENJOYING SOME CANDY FLOSS ....

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I GO ROUND THE BASE OF THE CHURCH BUT NOT INSIDE ... & INTO THE PARK FOR A SIT DOWN WITH A DRINK AND SOME ALMONDS BOUGHT FROM ONE OF THESE STALLS ....

WATCHING LIFE GO ON AROUND ME ..... IT'S A POPULAR SPOT FOR WEDDING PICS ....

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BACK OUT OF THE PARK, OVER THE CANAL AND ONTO NEVSKY PROSPEKT, THE NEVER ENDING SHOPPING STREET OF ST. PETERSBURG.

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I FIND A LITTLE PLACE TO HAVE A BEER BUT NO ONE IS AT THE SERVING HATCH. I AM ABOUT TO LEAVE WHEN A VERY SCARY, DISHEVELED, TRAMP LIKE GUY SAYS SOMETHING TO ME. I AM ABOUT TO BRUSH HIM OFF WHEN HE LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THE OWNER WILL BE BACK IN TEN MINUTES.

NOT SCARY AT ALL ..

I WAIT & GET MY BEER & SIT DOWN TO DRINK IT .

THIS PLACE IS SET BACK A LITTLE FROM THE MAIN ROAD WITH ANOTHER RESTAURANT WITH A PATIO BETWEEN ME AND THE STREET. A NICE SPOT TO PEOPLE WATCH

THE GIRL ON THE LEFT & HER FRIENDS SPENT A GOOD WHILE TRYING ON A SUCCESSION OF CLOTHES ON THE PATIO. THAT WAS ENTERTAINING..

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AFTER A BIT MORE WALKING ON NEVSKY, IT'S BACK TO THE MEETING SPOT FOR THE SHORT DRIVE TO THE SHIP

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I HAD A TICKET TO THE BALLET FOR TONIGHT BUT HAD GOT A BIT OF A COLD & DID NOT WANT TO BE COUGHING AND SNEEZING AT THE PERFORMANCE, SO I GAVE THE TICKET TO A NURSE ON BOARD.

SHE WAS DELIGHTED BUT THE AUTHORITIES WOULD NOT LET HER OFF THE SHIP AS SHE DID NOT HAVE A VISA & THE TICKET NAME DID NOT MATCH HERS. -- TOO BAD.

BUT - THE DAYS NOT OVER YET....

Posted by hasbeen 11:00 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

2014 - OCEAN PRINCESS - St. PETERSBURG, FOLKLORIC SHOW

ONE OF THE PRINCESS EXCURSIONS WAS TO A FOLKLORIC SHOW.

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, WE ALSO HAD SOME ENTERTAINERS COME ABOARD TO GIVE US A SHOW. THIS WAS FOR FREE OF COURSE.

SOMETHING OF A BARGAIN ,,,,,

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A FRONT ROW SEAT - EXCELLENT .... NOW IT'S TIME FOR BED, IT'S BEEN A LONG DAY .....

Posted by hasbeen 10:00 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

2014 - OCEAN PRINCESS - St. PETERSBURG, METRO

NOT QUITE TIME FOR BED - A DETOUR OUT ON DECK .....

FOR A LOOK AT THE SUN GOING DOWN ON THE ST.PETERSBURG SKYLINE ....

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NOT DARK ENOUGH YET FOR THE FIREWORKS, BUT NICE ALL THE SAME .....

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NOW IT'S SUNDAY MORNING & TIME TO TAKE A TOUR OF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM ......

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BEING SUNDAY, IT'S NOT TOO CROWDED ....

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THE LADY IN THE BOOTH TELLS PEOPLE TO BEHAVE PROPERLY ON THE ESCALATOR ....

SOME RUSSIAN ART ON DISPLAY .....

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HOP ABOARD THE TRAIN .... NICE & CLEAN ....

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MORE ART ON DISPLAY .....

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JUST A COUPLE OF TRAINS & A FEW STOPS & WE ARE OUT AGAIN ....

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POPPED UP IN NEW YORK, MAYBE ....

I THINK THIS IS WHERE WE ARE HEADING FOR TEA & A SNACK, BUT WE ARE A BIT EARLY. THE GUIDE ASKS IF WE WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE WALKING .... WELLL , OK ...

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AND TO SEE WHAT LIES BEHIND THE NICE FACADES .....

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WE SLIDE THROUGH A METAL GATE, WHERE A RESIDENT ( NOT HER ) WHO HAD A BIT TOO MUCH TO DRINK LAST NIGHT WELCOMES US TO HIS BUILDING ....

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LOOKING SOMEWHAT DILAPIDATED, BUT SOMEONE HAS TAKEN THE TROUBLE TO DRAW A QUITE NICE MURAL ....

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IT'S STILL EARLY ON A SUNDAY SO NO ONE ABOUT. WE TIPTOE THROUGH THE LANES.

THE GUIDE HAD EXPLAINED THAT SHE THINKS WE ARE PERFECTLY SAFE HERE NOW BUT WOULD NOT RECOMMEND DOING IT AT NIGHT.

MUCH LIKE EVERY WHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

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GRAFITTI OF COURSE ... EVERYWHERE ON THE PLANET NOW...

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OOPS! WE DISTURB THE CAT ...

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IT IS ABOUT TIME FOR TEA & CAKES SO WE POP INTO A REALLY NICE PLACE WHICH I NEGLECTED TO PHOTOGRAPH.

A BONUS FOR ME WAS MEETING ANOTHER ONE OF THE ON BOARD PEOPLE UNDER 90 YEARS OLD. THERE WERE ONLY ABOUT SIX.

AMANDA FROM AUSTRALIA THOUGH SHE COULD HAVE BEEN RUSSIAN HERSELF ..

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SOME OF THE GROUP TAKE A LOOK INSIDE THE CHURCH .....

RIGHT OPPOSITE THE METRO ENTRANCE ....

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AND WE ENTER THE LOCAL MARKET.

THERE WAS A LINE OF LADIES SELLING THINGS ON THE STREET OUTSIDE. JUST A FEW MUSHROOMS OR CARROTS. CANNOT BE MAKING TOO MUCH MONEY ..

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WELL DISPLAYED PRODUCE INSIDE THE MARKET ...

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WE WERE SUPPOSED TO VISIT SOMEWHERE ELSE. I FORGET WHAT OR WHY IT WAS CANCELLED, BUT WE WERE ALSO SLOWED DOWN AND DIVERTED BY THE MARATHON SNAKING ITS WAY ACROSS THE CITY ....

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ABBEY ROAD? IT'S NOT - AND WE ARE NOT BACK IN THE USSR EITHER ....

MOST OF THE GROUP GO OFF WITH THE GUIDE TO SEE THE BLOOD CHURCH. AMANDA AND I HEAD IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION AS WE BOTH SAW THE CHURCH YESTERDAY

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OUT ONTO NEVSKY PROSPEKT ..

THIS COUPLE MUST MAKE SOME CASH, HAVING THEIR PHOTO TAKEN WITH THE TOURISTS

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CATHERINE? PROBABLY ....

THIS IS THE SHOP WINDOW OF A GREAT SHOP SELLING SWEETS OF ALL KINDS. WE FOUND OUT INSIDE THAT MARZIPAN IS MADE OF ALMONDS,

WHILE I WAS TAKING THE PICTURE I HAD MY BACK TO A CROSS WALK. THERE WAS AN ALMIGHTY BANG BEHIND ME WHERE A CAR HAD REAR-ENDED ANOTHER STOPPED AT THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS.

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ANOTHER WEDDING PARTY. THEY HAVE THIS TRADITION WHERE THE COUPLE HAVE TO GO TO SEVERAL SITES AROUND THE CITY & KISS IF THE GUESTS ARE CLAPPING .....

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BACK ON BOARD & WE GET TUGGED DOWN STREAM .... PASSING THE USUAL SUSPECTS ...

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A CHURCH ... HO HUM!

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A NUCLEAR SYMBOL ...

A COUPLE OF SUBMARINES ..

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A SCRAPYARD ...

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AND OUT TO SEA.

QUITE A NICE VISIT & I VERY MUCH ENJOYED JUST SITTING AROUND WATCHING LIFE GO BY.

BUT SADLY, A BIT OF A DISAPPOINTMENT.

CANNOT PUT MY FINGER ON WHY. A LITTLE TOO MUCH MAYBE.

AS AMANDA SAID - IT COULD DEFINITELY DO WITH SOME MORE TREES ...

I FORGOT THAT I WAS DUE IN RUSSIA AT SOCHI ON THE BLACK SEA IN OCTOBER & GAVE MY GUIDE ALL MY LEFT OVER RUBLES. NOT TO WORRY THOUGH, SHE WAS VERY GOOD & MY NEXT RUSSIA TRIP HAS BEEN CANCELED

Posted by hasbeen 09:00 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

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