Volgograd May 9th Victory day.
9 May 2011
I woke reasonably early with some excitement with the wonder of today’s events. It was a little bit of a shame that the weather was a little wet, cold and cloudy – especially as it had been such a gorgeous day yesterday. We went into the street straight after breakfast. Crowds were beginning to gather and the soldiers were getting together in their battalions. After a while and as Simon and Susie had a room overlooking the square we made our way upstairs to see the parade from above as we saw what turned out to be the dress rehearsal on Friday evening.
It was an incredible sight to see, despite the rain. It all started at 10:00 am – by which time the crowds must have been 15 deep. So we were quite lucky we had the room as we may not have been able to see much on the ground. The parade lasted around 2 to 3 hours in the square. Just the sight of all the troops in their dress uniforms on the most symbolic day of the year gave me an incredible feeling.
Around 3pm Ilya returned to be our city guide once again. He took us on a Volga River boat trip. We did get a little shock as the Russians do like their music and they do like it loud. So the boat trip lasted just over an hour – loud music and some interesting dancing by the other travellers – still we did get some interesting views of the city and had fun.
After the boat trip we met with Sofia as by now it was early evening and we headed for dinner. We were joined by a Norwegian journalist that Sofia was translating for. After dinner, around 10:00pm we walked to the river to see a firework display. There was a fantastic atmosphere – a fantastic end to a fantastic day.