Russia was a little strange. The only way to get onto Russian soil was to join an organised tour since they included a limited visa for entry into Russia for the period of the tour.
We were warned that if you ditched the tour and went exploring on your own then the police are sent to find you.
Max and I did a canal cruise.
It was pretty. There was folk music.
The guide tried to convince us that all the buildings were brightly painted in happy colours. That might have been true for a handful of historic buildings, but there were an awful lot of identical concrete monstrosities too.
Russian history is kinda weird. It seems like there’s a tyrant in power for a while, then he’s killed and everyone tries to destroy everything he stood for. Then it happens again, and again. Of course, now the tyrant is “elected”and haa his face on t-shirts pretending to be an action hero.