Firstly, our WiFi connection is not too good and so I will have to do all our posting on the ships computer – without photos. They will be included back at home if we cant get satisfactory connectivity speed.
It was fantastic that our niece and sister-in-law were able to find time to take us to Brisbane Airport at 5:00pm for our 8:45pm depature to Dubai and thence to Moscow. It gave Lyn time to ‘sweet-talk’ the check-in clerk to upgrade us to business class for that long haul of 14:45 hours of flying. However, it was to no avail – the Boeing 777 was full and there were no spare seats to be upgraded into. So we stayed with all the lesser ‘shieks’ on the Emirates flight. We both managed a number of kips and haven’t felt too over-tired. The Dubai airport was extremely busy at the time of our arrival of 4:05am Sunday Morning. Thousands were arriving and, it seems, made to wait for their connecting flight onward to Europe, Africa, or Oceana/Asian destinations. The many shops were very busy. We were intrigued with the gold shop – everything is sold by weight rather than the value of the created work of art that some jeweller had gone to.
Our flight up to Moscow was about 5 hours in daylight. It was interesting to see the towns and cities that are built in the desert lands. We crossed the Caspian Sea and flew over the extensive farming areas of southern Russia. Moscow Airport is also very busy. After immigration, our bags were already on the conveyer belt and we followed the ‘green line’ through customs to a very busy hall of taxi drivers and coach operators waiting to transport us to the ship which is to be our home for the next 11 nights. We were caught in the traffic and instead of a one-hour transfer, we ended up taking an extra 45 minutes.
We boarded at 6:15pm and after the one hour introduction to the ship’s staff, emergency drill and briefing for tomorrow, commenced dinner at 7:30pm. There was no time for settling in and a shower until after dinner. We are in one of two panoramic suites, so as we sail downstream to St Petersburgh, we have very good views of the scenery. Fortunately, the beds are comfortable and warm and we sleep well most of the night through.