st. peter’s overnight ferry

21 years ago, John and I decided to take a last minute detour to St. Petersburg. The only way to get into Russia without a visa was to take a boat trip. Still is. We were booking so late there was only one cabin left.
mojito timeI use the word loosely. It felt like a prison cell. No window, well below the water line, steel slats, a yoga-mat-thin pad thrown on top. We had to navigate kilometres of twisting hallways to find our tiny room: minus 34379, or some such number… It was terrifying,uncomfortable and claustrophobic. The loo was at the end of the passage.
The ship had been built in the Gdansk shipyards in 1982. Right in the middle of the protests by the Solidarity movement which eventually brought down the communist government. This did not make me feel better.
John can be a very wise man. He realized the only way to calm his quasi-hysterical wife was to get her a drink. The only alcoholic option was pink, Russian sparkling wine. You had to buy it by the bottle. I drank every drop. By some miracle I did not get sick. I did get pregnant. Ten months later (every woman knows 9 months is fairytale) Hunter was born.
Jump ahead to May 2016. Hunter decides to add Russia to the list of countries he is going to tick off his list. Getting a Russian visa is mildly challenging and we didn’t have enough time. The visa-free ferry boat was our only option. Ugh.
There was no way I could go via the cheapest cabin again. Setting a dangerous precedent of not sticking to Hunter’s budget, I supplement the fare, booking a cabin with a window. And a toilet. We brought a picnic, played cards and watched the sunrise as we pulled into the harbour of possibly the most beautiful city in the world. An amazing way to spend the second night of our adventure.