St. Petersburg – Russia (Days 23 – 26)
Day 23 (8/23/2010):
We went to Pushkin today, the location of where Catherine the Great had her Palace. Getting there was a mission; we had to take 2 subways, and then find the right bus that would take us there. Of course, as usual, somehow, we got there.
Catherine the Great created Catherine’s Palace and the park. There are many strange things in her garden. Unfortunately, we had to pay to get into the park and then pay again into her palace. Catherine was indeed a very expensive woman to hang out with.
Rule #608: I think I already said this, but being a foreigner and having to pay a higher admission sucks dick
We went to the Gloss Café because we heard there was going to be a sushi buffet for 200 rubles through the St. Petersburg Times. What a lie! Although, we were so hungry we still ate there. The funny part about the Gloss Café is that it is situated right inside of a square; it was as if they made it as a part-time exhibition. The actual kitchen was at the center and the roof of the place and the food was sent down via an elevator that one could see.
When we got home, our host made us pelmenies! They are very similar to dumplings but instead of using soy sauce, one would use Russian sour cream, dill, and mayo. I opted out from using the mayo, but it was still very good.
I ended the night falling asleep as I saw Wagner watching YouTube for watch reviews…
Day 24 (8/24/2010):
In the morning, our lovely host made crepes for us. It included a bit of sugar and orange liqueur. I also added sweet cheese infused with prunes. Heavenly…
Of course, our goal (at least mine) is to try to work out in every big city, so we did so today in St. Petersburg. Check that one-off…
Went to the Pelmeny Bar again and this time I got pelemenies and borscht….will put up picture.
The Hermitage…wow, it’s the Hermitage. First of all, before you even go there, before you even come to St. Petersburg. Buy the tickets or else you’ll spend a lot of time waiting on-line. Even if you buy those tickets, you can still spend the whole day going through the museum. That’s all I’m going to say about the Hermitage. GO TO IT!
The overnight train to Moscow was definitely one of the more interesting experiences of our trip. When we showed our tickets to the conductor, the first thing he did was ask us if we wanted to take his private sleeping quarters in the train for an extra 1000 rubles (~$33) each. After being lost in translation, we amicably declined and went to our sleeping quarters. The only way to explain the trip is by showing you a video.
Day 25 (8/25/2010):
The Moscow metro is one of the most amazing metro systems that I have ever been. Similar to St. Petersburg, each station has its own type of art and none of it has been disturbed my graffiti. (At least, all the stations I have been to).
We stopped by at Glabis, which is a cafeteria style restaurant. Again, you go up and choose what you want to eat and pay for it. This place was interesting though, it had 3 floors of seating place in a winter style garden house. Our fat American asses went for 2 rounds of eating.
Random conversation of the day:
As Hiroki is walking through security of Lenin’s Mausoleum. The metal detectors beep.
Guard: Do you speak English?
Guard: Do you have anything metal?
Guard: Are you sure? You are not carrying a gun?
Guard: Ok, fine, have a nice day.
Lenin’s mausoleum was one of the eeriest experiences I have ever had. The guards at the mausoleum are very strict and it felt like walking through the evil empire. If anyone talked too loud, they would get a quick shhh. Wagner had his hands in his pockets and one of the guards went up to him and tapped his arm to signal him to take it out. Photos are not allowed and it is near impossible to take a picture of the body of Lenin. The body of Lenin itself was creepy. It looked like a wax figure with a weird grin.
Random comment of the day:
As Wagner sniffs himself, he turns around and asks, ‘Why do I smell so much?’
After checking out the world’s worst place aka a shopping mall, GUM, we immediately went to look for something to eat. We went to another cafeteria style restaurant. While Wagner went for the safe chicken skewers and buckwheat, I went for the cabbage salad, the salmon soup, and the meat pelmenies. At one point as I was eating one of the pelmenies, I spat out a piece of glass…yummy.