June 24, 2013 - Morning in Saint Petersburg

We arrive in Saint Petersburg for a 3-day stopover.

The port has a unique 'coastal' view of some serious communist housing - like this single, long congo-line of apartments.
It looks very uniform from here, but every window has rotted out and has been replaced, presumably by the tenants, because they're all very different, though equally unimpressive.

We hire a driver and guide to take us on a walking tour.
The tour starts in the heart of the city - and the drive takes us past the striking Metochion of Optina Monastery.

We stop in a large square dominated by a statue of Nicholas I in the middle and

Saint Isaac's Cathedral to the north.

For some reason, we're very concerned about why cars are not allowed to fart on the cathedral.

I really like this statue, The Bronze Horseman, Peter the Great stamping out treason.
It is a gift to the city by his daughter and successor, Catherine the Great.
We were told that it says "From Peter the First from Catherine the Second," but one side is Russian and the other side is Latin, so I'll take the guide's word for it.

The guide takes us to a quick lunch at a local fast food chain, Tepemok.
Awesome. Imagine a crepe-based McDonalds, but with decent beer.

We let Ella try my mead.

By the time we get to The Hermitage, we've walked a long way.

Ella's being good, but she's getting tired.

Ella's grateful to be carried.

Cool building, disappointing name: General Staff Building.

Re-energized, Ella dances for us.

We stop by The Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood for a photo-op.

What an awesome building!