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Never say Neva

A crap photographic tour of the waterways of St Petersburg by night

overcast 6 °C


Pretty much every big city is next to the sea, a river or a canal. It's a simple fact of historical geography. As a consequence - at least when said cities aren't off limits to foreigners - these navigable watercourses are plied by tourist boats. I'd resisted those in Copenhagen, Malmö, Göteborg... you get the picture. But having arrived in St Petersburg, and the start of three weeks of an organised (most of the time) tour, meant that when a midnight trip on the famous River Neva and canals of the city was suggested, it was a fait accompli.

Turns out they're really fun, although this might have something to do with our boat being driven (?) at higher speeds than the sedate pace of the boats I'd seen previously, being on board with a bunch of people I'd never met before but would be spending the next three weeks with, and last but not least supping from a litre can of beer (after all this is the country that only decreed beer is an alcoholic beverage not a foodstuff scarcely two months before my visit). The upshot of all of this was that my photos of the boat trip were, well, wobbly.

And we're off!

You start on the canals; I imagine Venice looks like this, only with more sympathetic street lighting

Then you're out on the wide Neva river, giving you the chance to snap the waterfront facade of the Winter Palace/Hermitage

I think this is a theatre

I got pretty excited about this giant ball of mozzarella. Turned out to be nothing more than a temporary restaurant

This shoal of neon fish are the masts of a tall ship, nowadays used as a restaurant and gym

The spires of Ss Peter & Paul Cathedral

I got criticised for taking this picture, and to be fair it isn't very interesting

The Peter and Paul Fortress

Fortress again, looking like a giant B & Q

The tower-like thing just to the right of centre is a monument to a naval victory, or maybe general Russian naval prowess, in the form of the Alexandrian pharos

The main reason for taking midnight river cruises is to see the raising of the main bridges across the Neva to permit the passage of ships up or downstream. It's a big deal in the city, they make t-shirts to celebrate it (yes I bought one).

Bridge is down

Bridge goes up

Bridge goes up some more

There you have it. Riverboat trips are fun. Especially under the cover of darkness.

(Proper post on St Petersburg and Moscow - with proper photographs - to follow soon)

Posted by RobertJSBriggs 02:36 Archived in Russia

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