As we step off the MV Explorer in Saint Petersburg, we immediately encounter 3 friendly and familiar faces.
Just past the immigration officials, we spy our first familiar face: the violinist who plays for hours each day at the Lieutenant Schmidt embankment. He and Kelly are good friends. Smaller cruise ships can sail up the Neva River and dock here, much closer to the city.
Alisa, a Russian tour guide, remembers us from our last visit in August 2013. She is leading trips for this enrichment voyage too, but since we have a Russian visa for this visit, we are exploring on our own and won't be hanging out with Alisa this time.