Our hotel in St. Petersburg was on Vasilyevsky Island which is directly over the Palace Bridge from The Hermitage. There are 19 Drawbridges in St.Petersburg, the Palace Bridge being one of them. Vasilyevsky Island is one of the largest St. Petersburg Islands (more than 1,000 hectares in area). The sharp eastern promontory, called “the Spit” divides the Neva into 2 branches. Places of note on the Island are the Zoo, the Stock Exchange and the Rostral Columns which are Light Houses 32m high, decorated with cast iron Rostra – I saw them shooting flames into the air (this only happens on special occasions).
Photos were taken looking towards Palace Bridge when leaving The Hermitage in pouring rain on Friday –
This morning (Sunday) Kelvin very kindly came by bus to our hotel at 10:30 and escorted us, he pulling my suitcase, to the city by trolley bus. We attended the 11:30 Service at Hope Church with all of the Nicolles. The fellowship rents a large room in a huge building so has the set-up responsibilities we have previously known. It was great to share with the family at communion. Matthew has "sound" duties with 2 others.
We joined a number of Church people at Stockmans (huge Department Store) for a cafeteria style lunch. This meant a short walk across the road in a light snowfall.
The Square at one end of Nevsky Prospekt Is surrounded by huge buildings, one of them being the Moscow Railway Station(1844-51) the line being from St. Petersburg to Moscow and we left from there at 15:00. We were in our seats 3 minutes before departure and just as the Russian National Anthem was being played. It was sad to leave our friends – their kindness will not be forgotten.
We had reserved tickets on a fast train so arrived in Moscow just before 19:00.
The countryside was blanketed with snow for most of the distance.