The first day we had booked a guide for The Hermitage. It was within walking distance from the hotel, so we set off on foot. The cost of the guide paid for itself when they negotiated our way through all of the queues and straight into the museum before it was actually open. I think they used dad’s walking stick as an excuse. The only down side was I didn’t like being rude, and cutting past that many people was a bit award, they had been waiting a long time to get in.
One thing I really do love in Europe are the trains. They are such a more civilised way of travelling than aeroplanes. No giant queues, no need to take off your belt and shoes (although I am good at dressing in stuff that never sets off the metal detectors), and there is so much more leg room. Not that I need lots of leg room, but there is still much more of it.