Five years ago we attempted to go to St Petersburg but fate told us otherwise. A problem with a visa to return to Europe caused us to detour from our visa-free cruise from Helsinki and go instead to the Christmas capital of the world – or maybe just Finland – to the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi. That turned out to be a memorable trip that I can still recollect almost to the minute but it also meant that Russia was probably not going to be checked off from my then considerable list for quite a while or perhaps never. Five years later my list is a little bit more manageable plus I’m now again given another chance to see what is supposedly Russia’s most beautiful city, and a place that was farthest from my mind when I first started venturing out into the world. We are again on a visa-free cruise from Helsinki and made sure return visas are in hand, all documents printed and present, and received as much advice from as many reliable folk as possible. There’s a bit of trepidation on my part frankly what with all the craziness happening everywhere right now and all the impressions I’ve been given about that part of the world. Here’s hoping my American passport won’t give me any untoward attention and that Russia proves to be more accepting than what I’ve come to suspect.