Monday, March 5th, 2018
Distance covered: 10 kilometres by foot
Driving: NO DRIVING, yeah!
Lowest temperature: -10C
Border crossing: none
Sunny day, cold, blue sky – let’s go. We walked along and on the frozen Newa to the Peter and Paul fortress and visited the Peter and Paul cathedral with the tombs of the former Russian Tsars the Romanovs.
The entire complex was in perfect condition and well maintained. Petersburg felt like just another western city: tickets could be paid by credit card, “uber” available, etc.
As museums are closed on Mondays in Russia too, our touristic program was somehow limited. Next to the fortress we could take a look at the vast collection of canons, tanks and rockets at the Russian Artillery Museum…
… and walked up to the cruiser “Aurora”, that initiated the November Revolution in 1917.
An uber got us across the river to the Grand Hotel Belmond Europe, where we had an appointment with David de Vleeschauwer at 2pm. David is a Belgium travel photographer, who joined the Rallye with different teams and will cover it in one of his next books. As we believed (see day 12) we could not make space for him in our fully stuffed Touareg, we met him in the “Belmond” for a photo shoot in the Caviar Bar.
Unfortunately, or luckily (“travel budget”), the Caviar Bar is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we only had a Cappuccino and our first Vodka of the day in the hotel bar.
David joined us for the afternoon and we first visited the “Blood cathedral”, a beautiful Russian church, erected on the place of the murder of Tsar Alexander II.
To get some proper Caviar pictures of team Champagne Supernova for David, we now visited Eliseyev Emporium, THE St. Petersburg food hall.
Next to its shopping opportunities, the Eliseyev hosts a small café around a real and massive palm tree in the middle of this two floor art deco “jewel”. Here, we got our Caviar, enjoyed the atmosphere and the sun was glittering through the huge windows.
While we ignored most of the “daily tasks” of the Rallye so far, we didn’t mind the task to find Petersburg’s only beach bar: Dunes of Ligovsky. After a 30 minutes walk through the real Petersburg, we reached an interesting hipster quarter close to the rail tracks of the Moscow Station. Many parked BSC cars on the street proofed that we were at the right spot. Soon we were in the bar at the bar and had a great time with some of the other teams like Latscho Tschabos, Power of Adventure and Show & Schein. Russian craft beers, many stories, some vodka, a great afternoon.
For dinner we went back to Eliseyev to the Mezonin restaurant and ended a great day in style.