Did I mention that we were doing a Baltic Cruise?
Well on the 8th of September we arrived in St Petersburg and if anything was going to happen around radiation detection then it would be here.
We had a number of excursions booked while we were here, the first at 7am in the morning.
St Petersburg was also the only place on the cruise where we would have to go through an immigration process.
We disembarked early in the morning along with many others and queued to go through immigration.
Our passports and entry cards were checked and stamped by unsmiling immigration officials.
We then approached an area where the x-ray machines and personnel scanners were. I also noted there was some metal boxes either side of the door we were about to go through.
We went through as a small group and sure enough an alarm started to sound.
People looked at each other, Barbara and I looked at each other, we both guessed what had set this alarm off and it was probably me!
Security staff in uniform came over and made us pass through the door in single file so they could identify the perpetrator or person setting off the alarm.
Soon I was isolated and taken to one side. Initially I was with one guard in uniform who was young looking and of low rank, he was soon joined by someone older who looked of higher rank, more badges and emblems on the shoulders. And finally a third person turned up who could have been a general!
They all spoke to me in their best Russian.
We were then joined by more staff in civilian clothing, think KGB or their modern equivalent.
But now things could progress as a little English was introduced into the conversation.
Fortunately I had a letter from The London Clinic explaining about the treatment and the radiation I had recieved which I produced and was promptly read by everyone.
My letter was then taken away to be photocopied.
The mood was lifting and becoming less tense, the people in uniform went away to do other things.
My paper work was returned and I was asked to complete a form. The form was of course in Russian!
Our young KGB assistant helped me complete the form and I had to trust that I was not confessing to some crime or spying🕵️♂️!
Paperwork done we were allowed to proceed on our excusion to Catherines Palace.
Of course on return to the ship we had to go through immigration again and yes I set the alarm off once more.
There was a response from the security staff but once they recognised me they waved me through.
We had a few excursions that day and each time had to go through the immigration process. It did get more relaxed and soon we were being met with smiles and being waved through. I think once they knew what was going on they were happy to see us visiting their city.
We had hired a private car for our second trip and went to see the Cruiser Aurora.
The Artillery Museum with all it’s Tanks and Armoured Vehicles.
The Peter and Paul Fort.
And Church of the Spilled Blood.
And then a night river cruise.
The following day was another early start as we were going to Peterhof or the Palace of Peter The Great.
St Petersburg was a great place to visit and we had only scratched the surface.
It was a tiring couple of days for me but well worth it.
I would highly recommend it, radiation alarms and all!