No really, just ask Aasa. My conversation helped distract her from the tooth ache that plagued her trip, poor thing. Apparently my conversation skills are just that good.
I suspect things like the Hermitage also helped, if I’m quite honest. How could it not distract?
We walked to the Hermitage, getting great views of the Neva, St Isaac’s, and of course the Winter Palace.
At the Hermitage, we went to check out the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art as planned. There is a painting by Matisse of red dancers on a blue background that reproductions don’t do justice to. You can see the tension and the movement of the dancers quite clearly, despite what looks almost like primitive figures. It’s a powerful, stunning painting – one of my favorites from their collection.
We also took a look at some of my favorite State Rooms. As we were heading back from one wing, we heard men’s voices mixing in harmony. Somehow there was a small male A Capella group singing while we were there and we had managed to time our visit so that we heard them. Serendipitous!
I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up staying at the Hermitage longer than planned. (Surprise!) That was pretty much our touring day, as we went out for a very late lunch/early dinner at a place around the corner from the Hermitage. This place has a cabaret at night, and we made grandiose plans to go see the cabaret that we never followed through on because we were so tired from touring. Instead, we went shopping so we had food for breakfast and could try Russian sparkling wine in the coziness of our hotel room, with our poor sore feet raised!