A Travellerspoint blog

Day 18- St Petersburg

Boogying On A Boat

sunny

I had an easy-going breakfast at my hotel before heading to the Museum of Fine Arts. It was a bit intimating walking in with all the guards but I guess they need to make sure no one touches the art works or brings food in. In the museum it was like being in a time machine, going back through time, as I admired all the art works and sculptures. The Five Decades of Photography exhibit was inspiring as it took me on a journey through the recent history of the world. Before leaving I quickly pooped into the gift shop were I bought the Food + Art Cooking Around Tampa Bay Book that I will treasure. Fine_Arts.jpgFive_decad..photography.jpgMuseum_Of_Fine_Arts_.jpgMuseum_of_fine_arts.jpg

After a bit of a rest I put on my fancy clothes and boarded the cruise boat called Starlite. It was a 2 and a half hour dinner cruise full of dancing and gourmet food. The horn sounded, the live music started playing and the lines were cast off signally the start of an adventure. On the cruise I danced, explored the vessel and sat out on the balcony watching the dolphins frolicking in the water below me. The food on the cruise was alligator smile worthy. For entree I had a hard choice, tossing up between Stuffed Shrimp and Chateaubriand. I ended up getting Chateaubriand because I had no idea what it was and was ready for a taste bud adventure. Than for dinner I enjoyed the Chef's special followed by an elegant passion fruit panna cotta for dessert. After dinner I went back to the deck where I did some star gazing and 'danced the night away' to hits from the ‘60’s ‘70’s and ‘80’s. The cruise soon ended and I went back to my motel with the memories of the adventure with me. Starlite_ship.jpegStarlite_Cruise.jpgCruise.jpgGetting_into_the_dancing.jpgPanna_cotta.jpg

Posted by sherington 05:16 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 17- St Petersburg

Cathedral Craze

sunny

Today I went on the Grand Tour of St Petersburg. The tour was in a mini van (that was actually quite comfortable) and covered all the icons of St Petersburg. My guide, Joel, was extremely good and told us the story of the city, the events that have left their scars, its optimistic and dramatic plans for the future, together with anecdotes about its strange, friendly and colorful inhabitants. On the tour we discovered the Winter Palace, Nevsky Prospect, Kazan Cathedral, Stroganov Palace, Admiralty, Palace Square, Peter and Paul Fortress, Naval Museum, St. Petersburg University, Menshikov Palace, Academy of Fine Arts, Senate Square, monument to Peter the Great (the Bronze Horseman), Isaac's Square, Mariinsky Palace, monument to Nicolas II, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Palace Embankment, Marsovo Fields, Summer Gardens, Alexandrinsky Theatre, Rastrelly Square, Smolny Cathedral, Anichkov Palace, monument to Catherine the Great, Square of Arts, State Russian Museum, Koniushennaya Square, Cathedral of Saviour-on-the-Spilled Blood as well as the numerous canals and rivers with beautiful bridges crossing them. My highlight was seeing the Peterhof Palace. I adored all aspects of it, however, the water fountains spraying in all directions from golden statues was eye opening. After the tour was complete I went back to my hotel and gave my wrist a rest. It was a bit sore (probably from pointing at all the masterpieces of icons on the tour). I then went out for dinner at Red Masa that was lovely and exotic. Cathedral_..illed_Blood.jpgWinter_Palace.jpgPeterof_Palace.jpgfountains.jpg

Posted by sherington 05:16 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 16- St Petersburg

Shop, Shop, Shopping!!

rain

After a whole day and 2 nights on a plane I finally touched ground in St Petersburg where I went straight to my hotel and freshened up. I was a bit disappointed about the weather as it was raining. I was than keen for a bit of an adventure, though, so I grabbed my umbrella and after a few minutes of walking I found myself at Galeria Shopping Mall. I spent the rest of my day shopping. I explored all the shops and corners of the mall and came home with some wonderful things. There were so many shops and so many things that I could have bought, but didn't. I adore the red shirt that I bought. I than went straight out to dinner (with all my bags) at the Leafy Green where I had zucchini spaghetti with raw tomato sauce and was a bit naughty and had a slice of raw chocolate mousse cake for dessert. I then went back home, making sure I had my wallet, where I sat on my balcony watching all the lights and cars speed past before going off to sleep. Galeria_Shopping_Mall.jpgChocolate_shop.jpgDessert.jpg

Posted by sherington 05:16 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 14- Leaving Ulan Bator

The Accident

I had a leisurely day today, getting ready to leave for St Petersburg. You'll never guess what happened, though. When I was at the buffet breakfast spot at my hotel, I left my wallet in the cafe area. I realised when I got back to my room. In my mad rush to get back to the cafe I tripped on a housekeeping trolley and bruised my wrist badly. I sat their startled for a while then realised I needed to get this examined quickly before as I needed to be at the airport at 4:00pm. I quickly grabbed my bag with my spare money, passport and other personal details and got a taxi to the hospital. Once at the hospital I luckily was able to get an appointment straight away. I was stressing. Was I still going to be able to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? The doctor told me it was probably just a mild sprain and that I should be fine to do the climb. He gave me the name of some pain killers to buy to ease the pain if it got to sore. He also recommended me to get an x-ray just incase. So off I hurried to the x-ray room where I held my toes and fingers (on my good hand) crossed that it wasn't broken. During this process I remember how I had broken my arm in the first place. I had left my wallet in the breakfast cafe. So as soon as the X-ray was done I rung up the hotel to check if my wallet was there. The person I rang said it hadn't been handed in yet but he'd look around. Luckily for me I had 3 debit cards so I rang ANZ to cancel the card that was in my wallet. I was then feeling a bit relieved, however, panick soon struck again as the administrator told me the cost of my appointment. I was a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully, my travel insurance was able to cover the cost so I was able to wipe that bead of sweat off. I than went back to my hotel with my wrist bandaged.

After all that kerfuffle it was time to head to the airport. Once on the plane it was such a relief. I knew that that was all behind me now.
Bandaged_arm.jpgView_from_plane.jpg

Posted by sherington 05:16 Archived in Mongolia Comments (0)

Day 13- Ulan Bator

The fantastic three- Isha, Apollo and Morgan

sunny

I just had the 2 most life changing experiences of my life. I got up yesterday morning a bit nervous but keen to embark on the overnight dog sledding adventure I had signed up to. I arrived at the Mammoth Dog Teams Center and learnt how to control my team of 3 dogs, Isha Apollo and Morgan. I eventually got the hang of the controls and before I knew it I was gliding across the snow at full speed. The feeling of fresh, clean, cold air whipping across my face and in my hair was thrilling. When we were going up one of the hills somehow my dogs came detached to my sled and I ended up sliding back down the hill as my dogs ran off into the distance. Luckily, my instructor Jim, knew what to do and saved the day connecting me back with my dogs. From then on I was more cautious of what they were doing. Before I knew it, it was time to set up camp in the snowy mountains. We set up camp and brushed our dogs. After doing this I had a go at skijorring. It was a lot harder then I thought it would be. Skiing can be tricky let alone skiing while you are being hauled along by 2 dogs (the amount of bruises I accumulated could be a new record). After a while a finally was able to hold my balance for more than 5 seconds and I was zooming along the flats very wonkily! It was soon time for dinner and I was given a lumberjack size of hearty beef stew in sourdough round that I ate around the fire. It was just what you needed after a day in the snow although I couldn't eat all mine so I snuck some to my dogs. After dinner we told stories around the fire before snuggling up in sleeping bags for a good night sleep.

Day 2 of the trip was just as exhilarating as Day 1. I was more controlled of my dogs and felt more comfortable as they carted me along. This time I was able to pay more attention to the fine details of the scenery. It was like doing a 'mindfulness activity' out in the crisp air listening to the unfamiliar noises. I was amazed my the scenery. The snow capped mountains and white trees where breathtaking. We also had an encounter with the endangered snow leopard that was very special. We soon arrived back at Mammoth Dog Teams headquarters where I very sadly had to depart from my dogs. I gave them all a big pat and got a selfie that I will treasure for ever. Isha, Apollo and Morgan are three dogs that I will never forget. Dog_Sledding.jpgApollo.jpgIsha_and_Morgan.jpgAttempting_Skijoring.jpgMy_tent_in_the_morning.jpg

Posted by sherington 05:15 Archived in Mongolia Comments (0)

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