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Sunday, July 1, 2012 | Sankt Petersburg's city life

Our overnight pitch was exceptionally quiet. As we have a little time to spare before my first appointment at Baltika tomorrow, we decide to do a little sightseeing. We set off for the city centre. Here, right by the Admiralty, is something I never thought I would see these days, free parking. It couldn’t be more central.

From there we start out on foot, to get our first impressions of the place. The buildings are impressive and on Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Palace Square) it is impossible not to be utterly overwhelmed at the sheer splendour of it all. I click away constantly with my camera, beside myself with amazement and wonder. Equally beautiful is the Neva River which, with its many tributaries, flows through the city. For some reason it all brings to mind Ljubljana on the Go to Brau Beviale 2011 tour last year, although of course St Petersburg is considerably bigger!

By now we are all feeling rather hungry, and after some time spent looking for a suitable restaurant with outside seating, no easy task considering the hot summer temperatures and the hordes of shoppers crowding the streets, we finally discover a trendy Thai establishment offering tasty food and, very helpfully, a Russian-English menu. With vivid impressions still imprinted on our minds, we make our way towards Baltika, since we think it sensible to be nearby so we will not be under any undue pressure in the morning. It is 9 in the evening when we arrive in the vicinity of Baltika and begin looking for a parking space. It is already clear that even viewed from the outside, the brewery premises are huge, absolutely massive in fact. I have a picture in my head of electric scooters whizzing from one side of the site to the other, because on foot it would be well-nigh impossible for staff to get around. After grabbing a snack at a nearby stall (Rolf is not too keen on the chips, but I am) we are still working until after midnight.