According to the weather forecast, Sunday was meant to be another day of the kind of wetness and gloom I had hoped to escape when I left England. You can imagine my surprise and happiness then when I opened my curtains on Sunday morning to the brightest , bluest sky I had seen all week. This turn of events was fantastic news for me as I had already planned a visit to another of the city’s many places of historical interest, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the previous day. I had intended to see to the fortress come rain or come shine, but if was to be shine then all the better.
I had already visited the Fortress once before, the last time I was in St Petersburg, but despite that there were a few things I hadn’t managed to see the first time around. The first of these was the noon gun. Everyday, at precisely 12 o’clock, artillerymen in the fortress fire a cannon to mark the passage of the morning. In other places the coming of noon was marked by intricate melodies played on an assortment of bells and chimes. In the fortress however, it was simply loud, much louder than the size of the gun would lead you to believe. I watched gun firing from the top of the fortress walls. This was my second new experience. For a small fee I joined many of the other people visiting the fortress that day in walking atop its stone bastions and gazing out at the view they offer of the city skyline and the Neva River. Although they don’t show up well in photos, all of the city’s main landmarks are visible from the fortress.
There was also enjoyment to be found in revisiting the old however. The fortress cathedral and chapel were both just as beautiful as the last time I visited them and my improved reading skills meant I was able get a lot more information from the exhibition on the history of the royal family which is located in the hallway between them.
Having seen all of these amazing sights it would have been hard for me not to have an amazing weekend but there were, of course, a few other factors beyond the locations which made this weekend particularly enjoyable. Namely, good weather, a relaxed atmosphere and, most importantly of all, good company.