June 4:  St. Petersburg to Novgorod

In somewhat of an upset, Matt got the Boob Shirt for distributing the erroneous Get Lost sheet that sent John to the wrong hotel.

I was hung over this morning.  I averaged 5 hours of sleep the last 3 nights and was still getting used to that.

We had a bit of free time in town before leaving for Novgorod, but I didn't have anything left to do.  And now I don't remember what I did.


On arrival in Novgorod we met our guide Kate, daughter of Irina, who had the day off.  Kate took us to the kremlin and a few other drive-by sights.

St. Sofia Cathedral in the kremlin.  It's the oldest cathedral in Russia, built in 1045-1050, and was bombed by the Nazis.

At our hotel we hung out at the bar for a while and played the finger game for the first time.  All players gather in a circle and each puts a finger on the rim of a glass (see Figure 1, next page).  One player shouts out a number, and at the same time every player quickly lifts the finger or keeps it on the glass.  If the number of fingers remaining on the glass equals the number the player called out, that player is out.  Play continues clockwise and the last player remaining is the loser, and has to both down a shot and buy the shot for the next game.  Things get pretty tense when there are two players left and each has to play mind games with the other and come up with a 0, 1 or 2 call.  I quickly figured out how to use simple probabilities to maximize my survival--e.g., if there are 7 players, the most likely outcome is that 3 of the other 6 players will leave their fingers on, so it's stupid to call out 0 or 7.  You have to know these things when you're a king, you know.

Later at the bar we met two Scottish hotties, Erin and Hannah.  I forget what there were there for but they were with a group spending 5 days in Novgorod.  After chatting them up a while I asked their ages, and kept a straight face when they said 14 and 17!  Lolitas!  Their combined age was 4 years less than mine!  Holy crap.  Hannah was hot, though, so I kept up the offense.  I had my arm around her all night, and I understand that photos were taken (by Broges and others), so please forward them so I can observe my cradle-robbing techniques and improve upon them.  Unfortunately I couldn't get past a nose-touch with her, even though her friend Duncan, which is a good name for a horse, kept predicting "vous allez coucher avec lui".  I think it's because her chaperon was around.  Dammit!  Sam outdid me and slapped the make on hot and busty Erin, and later claimed he didn't know she was 14, even though all of us were discussing their ages.  For the record, Sam, you would have been OK.