St. Petersburg--July 23, 2005--St. Petersburg Walk, Boarding the Ship
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In the morning, we sauntered over to the House of Fabergé, formerly where the Faberge Easter eggs were created. But now, the site has been transformed into a jewelry store with no connection to Fabergé. While walking down the street from Fabergé, we were surprised to encounter the scene in photo 45 and thought it was probably a woman exercising a horse from one of the carriages around town.
From there, we wandered through a park near the Admiralty and eventually ended up walking around the perimeter of St. Isaac's Cathedral. We noticed the shell marks (46) on some of the columns, a reminder of War World II when the Germans attempted to take St. Petersburg in a 900 day siege, but failed. Throughout Russia, the resistance of Russians to the German invasion is a source of much pride since neither St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) nor Moscow was taken but 20 million persons died through violence or starvation.
Finally, we photographed St. Isaac's (47) from a little park in St. Isaac's Square.
After lunch, we checked out of the hotel and headed for the ship. Marketed in America as Peter the Great cruises, the ship is actually the Zosima Shashkov, a 280 passenger vessel built for river and canal cruising. Staffed with a crew of 110, the ship was probably 80% full on our cruise. Passengers were a much more varied mix than on American cruise ships with fellow travelers from the States, Canada, Mexico, Russia, England, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Many passengers had been on or were planning some very exotic trips. For example, one couple was planning to leave Moscow at the end of the cruise and take the Trans-Mongolian train to Beijing, hopping off for a few stops along the way. Another was returning to St. Petersburg and then boarding a private train car on the Trans-Siberian train to Vladivostok, again making some stops enroute. All-in-all, passengers were an interesting and fun group to be with on the cruise.
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