Flight to and arrival in Russia...

...disclaimer: Got a bit off to a rough beginning, but this did turn into a wonderful trip...

We left KC and had a layover in DC. We worried about the short layover in Frankfurt since we didn't have boarding passes. When we got to DC we checked and we were assured we should have not problem when we got to Frankfurt. We were got there, we made our way to our gate where we waited for the lady to check us in. As soon as we got to the desk, there was an old lady that tried to horn in on our space. I don't know what her problem was (think of The Police song, "Don't Stand So Close to Me"... hehe). We got on the plane and flew to St. Petersburg. We tried to nap on the flights when we could, but it was in vain. It was a long trip.

When we got to St. Pete's, we met our tour guide Thomas and our city guide Timofey. We had to wait at the airport for some other travelers to arrive. It was grueling, since we just wanted to get on to the hotel since we had been traveling so long. Tim gave us some info about the city as we drove to the hotel.

When we got to the hotel the reception took our passports. We were upset because we misunderstood and thought the hotel was going to keep it for our whole stay. They were keeping it to get us registered and would return them to us in the morning.

We went to find our room which was to hell and gone. The hallway was like in the poltergeist - it kept going and going like it would never end. It was kind of scary. When we got to the room we discovered it was a smoking room - which is not what we requested. We called to the front and were told to come back to the reception to get it changed. We encountered Thomas along the way and he said he would take care of it. When he came back, he told us they just gave away the last non-smoking room, but they moved us to a better room that was closer with a much better view (the last one had a view of a parking lot)...

We accepted the room and decided not to change the next day because the only place it really smelled like smoke was in the bathroom (I guess due to the ventilation).

After we got settled in we met our group in the lobby area to get briefed and have a drink with our group. We had dinner at the hotel buffet. People all seemed to be going the wrong way in the line. An old lady was pushing her way between Cecily and John who were waiting their turn in line. Cecily tapped the lady's shoulder and pointed to the back of the line. The old lady said something in German and pushed her way in anyway. Unlike the people we met in Germany, this was pretty typical of the German tourists we encountered.

After dinner we turned in for the night.

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