The last installment: St Petersburg

The last installment of the fab four St Petersburg capers.  The morning after the night before was pretty tough going.  Somehow we all made it down for breakfast but there was much shuffling of food on the plates and copious amounts of water being guzzled down.  Needless to say it was a unanimous decision to head back to our rooms for a bit of a kip before venturing back out into the city of free flowing vodka and cheap champagne again.

Feeling slightly refreshed after 40 winks and a shower, Jim, Debbie and I headed back out, ready to take on St P.  Matt, despite showing profound wisdom and not touching the vodka the previous evening, was feeling worse than any of us - maybe something to do with his medication - and so decided to sleep the next adventure out.

Still a bit tender, the three of us headed off for the Peter and Paul Fortress.  It was a windy, windy day with a chill in the air which helped to blow the cob webs out.  As we walked across the bridge to the fortress there were ominous clouds threatening rain however once inside the fortress the sun miraculously peaked its way through the clouds, lighting the golden spires of the church up like glinting lightsavers.  The Peter & Paul Fortress turned out to be a random collection of new and old - a church with the tombs of Peter the Great and Tsar Nicholass II and his family, a prison compound where political prisoners like Trotsky were incacerated, a huge gate leading out to the river where two elderly gentlemen were giving it their all, sunbathing in their speedos!!!  There were souvenir shops, a token wax works museum, and a rocket and space museum which, to the delight of Debs and I, let you pretend you were an astronaut!!!

By this stage we were sobering up and starting to feel a little peckish so decided to head back towards town for something to eat.  Feeling guilty at leaving Matt, we headed back to drag him out of bed and out for a late lunch/early dinner.  We headed off in the opposite direction to the Soviet Cafe and happened upon what we thought was a true blue Russian bar - no one spoke English, the menu was in Russian but when we took a moment to look around the bar we realised it was their take on an Irish bar!  We'd just about come full circle - from celebrating Jim's 40th in Dublin last year to celebrating Matt's in an Irish bar in St P!!!  A few pints later we headed back for our last shift in the Exec Lounge at the hotel and yet again we had the Lounge to ourselves.  There was just one final thing to be done, we had two unbroken bottles of champagne and 3 bags of peanuts that needed to be consumed!  Not one to let the side down, I graciously accepted the fact that I would be suffering again the next morning and dutifully did my part in the consumption of more champagne.

And so it was with slightly fuzzy heads that we headed back to Pulkovo Airport, leaving the beluga caviar, canal boat ride and Statue of Lenin for next time.

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