Monday, February 20, 2012

U.S.S.R. - Leningrad - 7.6.1970

From my notes:

Arrive Leningrad 6:30pm, half an hour late.  Met by Intourist Guide* and driven to the Hotel Europe,** shown to room, sleep a little then have breakfast, walk a little noticing the poorly dressed people and the old cars, old trams and old buses.  Dave walks on and I go back to Hotel to do some washing.  Have lunch in room then go on Tour of Gulf of Finland and the Summer Palace at Petrod Vorets.
It doesn't get dark at all.***

* One of the proviso's of being allowed to travel into the U.S.S.R. unaccompanied, (i.e. not with a Tour Bus with Russian Guides), was a compulsory guided tour with an Intourist Guide.    These Guides had to meet us when we arrived in each of the cities we visited, she... it was usually a she... drove us to our hotel and checked us in, she would then make a time to meet so she could take us on this compulsory tour which usually lasted one or two hours.  At the end of our visit it was she who picked us up at our Hotel and drove us to the station for the next leg of our journey.

**  Hotel Europe... WOW!  What an incredible place, it was like some enormous Palace with huge circular stairs.

*** It was light 24 hours a day which was incredible, we were used to Twilight in England where in summer it didn't get dark till after 10pm but this was a seriously weird experience and difficult to get used to.  We would go to bed around Midnight but we could hear people in the streets walking and chatting till almost 6am!  

 Hotel Europa today, look at those crowds, I'm guessing someone exciting is going to pass by?

 Gulf of Finland, I keep forgetting how close Finland is to Russia, actually they share a border.
  That's Leningrad-St Petersburg written in Russian...  "Санкт-Петербург"

 Not only is this Summer Palace a beautiful building the gardens are the best in the World I reckon, so different and interesting... We loved it here.

I remember all that gold on those statues... the U.S.S.R. was proving to be a truly amazing place.

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