I remember crossing the border in the middle of the night at Narva. The border post felt like out of a cold war novel: Barbed wire, dogs, sub machine guns and guards, uniformed in heavy coats, with frozen faces. We followed the only road, drove a couple of extra miles by avoiding the potholes. Then the road widened, added a few lanes and was whole again. In front of us floated St. Petersburg between a vast sky and the sea.