World of Warships Trip: Day 3 – Fun With Fortresses

Today began at 3:45 a.m. with my calf muscle bunching itself into an extremely painful ball. Nothing like a wee hours Charlie horse (or in this case, a “Чарльз horse”) to get that jet lag going full steam.

Even with 4.5 hours of sleep, I was jazzed for our city tour however, so after a stop at the hotel breakfast buffet – which was pretty extensive and featured miniature blinis:

Mmm...blinis.

…and baked beans, I hopped on a bus with the Wargaming group. It was definitely colder than the forecast had predicted, so despite the disappointment of passing by so many interesting sights, we were fortunate to have the bus. (Little did we know how fortunate. More on that later.)

One of our first stops was this bakery/ice cream shop/seller of all things meat/cheese/alcohol. It was inside an art nouveau building and was really just an incredible fantasyland of delicious treats, including this fantastic white chocolate bust of Lenin.

Mmm...dictator.

After the sweet shop, we went on to the Fortress of Peter and Paul, which is in the middle of the city and features a hare for a mascot.

So THAT'S what the guide meant when she said 'hare piles.'

It also featured one of the most bizarre sculptures I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s of Peter the Great, known among his detractors as “The Tsar with the Tiniest Head.”

He looks like David Byrne in his big suit.

The tsars are buried at the cathedral inside the Fortress, but my main takeaway was the souvenir stand’s generous display of macho Putin T-shirts.

Hat, fur coat, aviators? Take your pick.

Amazing stuff. And all before lunch!

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