This morning I met a number of the tour riders at breakfast: Rob a retired accountant, and Jenny a Doctor, both from Australia, John a retired professor from Canada, Michel from Montreal – Michel has done two of these rides already including the tour d’Afrique (the tour that originally piqued my interest in all of this), Brett from Australia, and three ladies in their 60s who have done 3 rides before – Daphne, Shirley and Wally. They look like they will be a lot of fun. Wally’s bike did not arrive with her but thankfully it arrived a day later. The riders are friendly and seem a down-to-earth bunch, my fears of being surrounded by gazelle-like athletes clad in Lycra that will be too fast for me are unfounded.
I am off to find the boat to Peterhoff and then plan on to returning to the Hermitage this afternoon. There is an amazing clock there I want to take a photo of, it was a gift to Catherine the Great (from one of her 22 lovers). It is the size of a phone box but longer. It is gold and has a peacock, an owl, a monkey and birds. When it strikes the hour the peacocks tail opens, the owl blinks and the monkey waves its hand – hard to explain but I think it is fantastic.