Barbara & Heather - Arctic Winter 2018 travel blog

Christmas tree at Kazan Cathedral

Coffee time at

Tiffany Duo

Some of the store

The pianist

One of the windows

Inside the Church on Spilled Blood

Inside the Church on Spilled Blood

Joanna Lumley in the snow (aka Heather)

Our canal

Friday 11th: Our last day! After the big day yesterday we had a late breakfast at Janno and packed our cases so they could be moved to the family suite. Then we headed out to explore as much more as we could. In a large store across the road we purchased a gift and a lovely replica of a Faberge egg with a small clock inside. In Nevsky Prospekt we spent a few minutes in the vast Kazan Cathedral designed to resemble St Peter’s in Rome with a sweeping curved colonnade. The interior is spacious but somewhat dark but quite a lot of people were lighting candles and praying to various saints.

Further along we looked for the Eliseyev Emporium Coffee Shop. It was built in 1906 as a food hall and its art nouveau interior and highly decorated exterior make the building an architectural gem in St Petersburg as well as a gastronomic delight. It offers an enormous variety of food ranging from caviar to fruit and veggies and its cakes and desserts are mouth-watering. We were in need of a rest and a coffee and I ordered a Tiffany Duet described as a Tiffany eclair with a Tiffany latte. When it appeared to my surprise the latte was the bright blue colour of Tiffany as was the icing on the eclair. It looked spectacular and tasted very good too. Heather was much more subdued in her choice. A pianist played lovely music all the while.

On the way back we turned off to see inside the Church on Spilled Blood while it was open. The whole interior was covered with mosaic pictures depicting all aspects of biblical stories. What was equally interesting was the display of photographs and items showing how damaged it had been during the war and then neglected but finally beautifully restored in recent years.

An army of workers attempts to clear snow and ice from roads and footpaths but, like housework, it’s a job that is never done. Walking around can be treacherous, even for locals, and it is quite exhausting. I fell over once flat on my face in the slush of the footpath but being well padded no harm was done. Another hazard to look out for was snow being shovelled from roofs onto the footpath below. They do try to divert pedestrians but not always very well. We heard an alarm going off in a parked car and then realised that it was being hit by shovels of snow and chunks of ice from above!

It was only 3pm but we had decided to have a late lunch at a restaurant just near the hotel called The Yat. It had good reviews and certainly lived up to them. We enjoyed a delicious meal of a shared beetroot salad followed by pike for Heather and trout for me plus a beer and this revived us considerably.

So, as it could not be delayed any longer, we headed back to the hotel and up to the family suite for the final pack. It was great to have so much space to spread out and get organised. We were ready at 8pm, showered and in clean clothes, for our pickup arranged by Golden Eagle. Maxim, the driver, was there promptly and we had a very pleasant drive to the airport in his Mercedes.

The whole trip has been an amazing experience for two gals from the sunny Gold Coast. We have been extremely well looked after and have enjoyed every minute. But now we are ready for all the comforts of home.

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