I’ve just returned to the ship after an afternoon dedicated to the time of Peter the Great - 18th century history and buildings. But the tour ended in a boat, puttering along the Neva and then diving down canals, sometimes under scarily low bridges (the water level is apparently quite high just now).
But the sight that captured my imagination was that of the battleship Aurora, whose gun signalled the start of the Russian Revolution. After the lifestyles we’d been contemplating, the story of the part played by serfs in building Peter’s vision, the uprising of the people who underpinned this society seemed more understandable than ever - and this slim grey shape still stands in witness.
Interesting social fencing so far with our fellow-cruisers, many of whom are Americans. But we’ve met some fascinating people, and enjoyed unexpected conversations.
And right now I’m drinking champagne in our suite and thinking ‘shower ... dinner...’ and realise what a demanding existence I’m inhabiting...