14-May-2016 -- What a special confluence and incredible circumstances of visiting it!
Why do I consider this confluence to be special? First, its location 300 m from the shoreline in the water. Nevertheless, the knee-deep water allows a visit by simply taking off the shoes and walking in shorts to the exact location. Secondly, the vicinity of St. Petersburg and public transportation makes this point attractive. Thirdly, this point is what I call “hyper-confluence”, one of those rare species where both, latitude and longitude are divisible by 10. There are only 17 * 36 + 2 = 614 hyper-confluences on Earth, and about 200 of them are located on land! This is my sixth hyper-confluence: I had visited 30°N 90°W, 60°N 10°E, 40°N 0°EW, 40°N 110°E and 50°N 10°E.
And what makes this visit so incredible? Well, we had planned to visit St. Petersburg for our 20th anniversary. This time the planning included a complicated visa process, booking of a very nice hotel, theatre, flights, and I also had read a guide book of St. Petersburg already. We had been planning this trip for years and were really looking forward to visiting Europe’s third largest city.
Due to a thunderstorm, we arrived with a delay of 2 hours at the airport of St. Petersburg around 11 PM. For queueing at the passport control we chose the shortest, but unfortunately the slowest line, such that we ended up as the very last two passengers to be controlled that evening. First, Elionora went for the control. Shortly after, another booth was available for my passport control. After I had made it through, Elionora did not show off at the other side. After waiting a while I went back to see if she still was at the passport control. But I couldn’t see her there as well. So I assumed that she had already proceeded outside, which seemed to be a bit unusual for me, since we normally wait for each other without proceeding. Outside, I couldn’t find her as well. Now I got confused. Finally, she SMSed me that the control wouldn’t let her enter Russia due to her “broken” passport. She would have to take the first flight at 6 AM next morning back to Zurich via Frankfurt. Neither pleading nor offering payment helped. The Russian border police didn’t accept that the main page of Elionora’s passport was not fixed in its middle part. By putting their fingers through, they showed her that this was unacceptable. Interestingly, two weeks earlier the Russian embassy had put a valid Russian visa in this “broken” passport.
We both spent an ugly night at the airport, trying to reverse this decision. The problem was that I was not allowed to go back inside and she was not allowed to go outside. At 3:30 AM the Lufthansa ticket counter opened. I had to buy a return flight. For me it was not an option to spend 4 days alone in St. Petersburg (remember it was our 20th anniversary). So I obtained an expensive return flight directly to Zurich at 2 PM the same day.
Meanwhile it was 5 AM – so I had 9 hours to spend in St. Petersburg. I tried to make the best out of my situation: I took a taxi directly to the beach at Lisiy Nos where this confluence is located. After a 40-minutes’ drive, we arrived at the lonely beach. The taxi driver asked me three times if this was really the correct location that he was going to drop me off. I paid him and found myself at a beautiful, absolutely empty beach. I wasn’t properly equipped for the following adventure with my rolling suitcase, fine clothing (and anyways most of them belonged to Elionora). On the other hand, my GPS device had already left Russia in Elionora’s suitcase. But I was able to navigate to the confluence with my smart phone. With 5° C, the water was quite cold for wading 300 m into it. But it was never deeper than knee-deep. But I reached the confluence point smoothly and began to enjoy my adventure.
I walked back two kilometres to the train station Lisiy Nos and took a train into the city center where I made a rush-visit of the historic central part, taking 200 pictures. At 1 PM I returned to the airport and flew back to Zurich. Interestingly, I was able to prepare dinner at home for both of us before picking up Elionora at Zurich Airport. She was arriving later than me due to a 10 hour stopover in Frankfurt.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 350 m
- Distance to a track: 350 m
- Distance of rolling case parking: 350 m
- Time to reach the CP from the beach: 10 minutes
- Time at the CP: 6:36 AM
- Measured height: 5 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 3 m
- Topography: water (300 m from the beach)
- Vegetation: algae
- Weather: sunny, 14° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Broken Passport Confluence
The story continues at 32°N 8°W.