Photos will be posted tomorrow. Be patient okay? I’m lucky I even have a connection here people!
Today was museum day. That needs an exclamation point. Museum Day!! Our hotel is within walking distance of The Hermitage so of course we set out early to pay it a visit. We grabbed a quick breakfast in the hotel which consisted of a hard boiled egg, bread and cheese, fruit juice and tea. Then we hoofed it to the central square. It’s only about a 15-minute walk. Good exercise!
The Hermitage is big. Beyond big. Huge. Massive. We could only view the 2nd and 3rd floors which consist of Italian, Dutch, French, Spanish and English painters. And even that was done at a brisk pace. You could easily spend 8 hours per floor if you want to take the headphones and take it all in thoroughly. I chose to go to my favorites like Renoir, Matisse, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet, Pisarro, Brueggel and a few others. Whew…amazing. I took so many photos I feel like I could give a pretty thorough tour.
Jack likes Cezanne and Matisse, especially the cutout paper works. I guess he learned about Matisse in art class. He was surprised that I knew who he was. I think that Jack thought he had just learned something completely new.
Jack: Was Henri Matisse alive when you were little?
Me: No, we studied him in school, just like you.
Jack: But how did you know about him if he wasn’t born yet?
Me: He was already dead sweetie.
Jack: Then how did he keep on painting?
We’re currently in the hotel getting ready to pack up for that train back to Moscow at 1:40 a.m. We never stop moving!! I’ll say this… St. Petersburg is unreal. Every street has a view to die for. The sun actually peeked out for a bit today and people squinted up helplessly without any sunglasses on hand to pull out. Poor things. It’s been cool out but not very freezing cold like I expected. No rain at all. Woo hoo! Been lugging that damn umbrella for nothing. My purse weighs a holy ton, what with the water bottle, iPad, passport wallet, pile of Russian bills and coins, mini hair brush and hairspray (windy!), “batty” Jack’s stuffed animal, Russian phrase book, a few lipsticks and chap sticks, (windy!!), camera, damn…maps, tissues, napkins (sal fyetkas). And some other things. Freak, it’s heavy.
So, the other day as we entered the Kremlin, we met a couple from…somewhere…they spoke English and we bonded and took photos of each other. Then today, a 9-hour train ride later, in the Hermitage, in a random tiny room in the Dutch wing (remember, this museum is HUUUUGE), we bump into them again. “Heeeeeyyyyyyyy!” Point, wave, laugh. How random!
9:58 p.m. Yawn. This guy on TV looks like a Russian Liam Nieson.
Some things became apparent when we arrived in St. Petersburg yesterday. Though Moscow is a very big bustling city, and everyone is dressed very stylishly (enough to make me feel like a slob even though I tried to look okay), and the cafes are nice, and it feels like NYC… well, St. Petersburg just feels … younger somehow. There is as much history here, but everything has a more upscale feel. St. Petersburg has cafes, but they are every 10 steps or so. We’ve eaten so much in the day and a half that we’ve been here, that it feels gluttonous. My brother and I lost serious weight in the last week in Moscow, and it’s not because they don’t eat. They do! We did! I’m not sure what it is exactly. We walked a lot more, ate less frequently, took in more sights and therefore had our days crammed with history and tours. Maybe that’s it.
In St. Petersburg, it feels a bit like Moscow on steroids. Everything is just a bit shinier, bigger and more plentiful. It’s sort of more metrosexual and there are iPads EVERYwhere.
We’ve eaten in 3 restaurants so far, and each time we’ve claimed that THIS place is our favorite. From yesterday’s meal at the Indian style restaurant, which I LOVEd by the way, to the early afternoon lunch we had today at a cafe called ZOOM…which was delicious, even though they were confused with our Russian/English crap talk and insisted that pasta carbonara was indeed the pasta with chicken, le sigh, all the way to our dinner tonight at a sushi restaurant, which by the way had the BEST waiter on the planet…we tipped that boy well, damn, we are eating well! Even the lights are brighter here.
We took our boat cruise last night (see blurry photo at top!)…everyone fell asleep but moi, because I was hopped up on a month’s worth of caffeine. We saw the seven famous draw bridges and had cheesy saxophone music played for us while we sipped beer and couldn’t possibly order food beccause a) it was 1:30 a.m. b) we had just eaten the equivalent of 2 full meals each for dinner, and c) we realized we were out of cash. And not just rubles. American cash. Well not completely out. But at that “omg we’re going to be stuck here forever because we won’t have enough money to pay the cab driver to the airport” kind of panic. So we found the “bankomat” or “ATM” and figured out how to rack up serious fees in America. Can’t wait to come home to those statements! Actually I heard it’s not that bad. But we’ll see.
We took a bus tour around the city today and I really enjoyed it! The pre-recorded tape had lots of interesting tidbits about the city. Did you know that St. Petersburg has on average only 35 sunny days per year? Me either! It’s been cloudy both days so far. Kinda makes sense now. And Russians don’t wear sunglasses when it’s “off season”. So in Moscow, even when the sun is blinding, no one wears them. Hmmm…
I’m going to post only one or two photos, but please go back and visit my earlier posts because I photo’ed those biotches up! It’s about (yikes!) 1:13 a.m. here. I had NO caffeine today people, but it’s working its way out of my system. Tomorrow we visit the Hermitage museum. We were in the square today, and the museum was right in front of us, and how stupid are we…we don’t realize it, so we’re like “yeah, tomorrow we’ll have to figure out how to get to the Hermitage museum…it’s totally on the other side of the city I bet. We’ll have to take the subway…Heyyy what’s this cool green building here? Let’s get some pictures…” Duhhh!
I was able to talk to Jack at 12 a.m. Yayy! He seemed a lot happier and so did I. Only 4 more days until I get home.
Jack: Hi Mom, I went up to “great day” today.
me: Wow! That’s great! I’m proud of you. What have you been doing?
Jack: Dad’s on a call and hold on I have to get the cereal box. (he runs to the kitchen and comes back munching)
me: (straining to see through the skype window) Uh Jack? I think that’s the cereal that I was throwing out to the birds. It’s stale.
Jack: Eh, it’s okay. (munch munch)
me: Have you been taking good care of the kitties? Food, water and litter I mean?
Jack: Uhh…I’m not so sure about the water.
me: Hmmm, maybe go change it after we hang up.
Jack: Eh, it’s fine.
me: What do you want to do when I come home?
Jack: Go to the movies!!!
me: That’s a good plan!
Jack: And we can sleep in the hallway with sleeping bags.
Could it be… I’m current???
We arrived on the night train, well, this afternoon…but that’s what its called. Our hotel is right in the center of town…very nice actually! We spent the afternoon walking in the local market, and we were the only tourists, or so it seemed. We saw apples and grapefruits for less than 10 cents each… Tons of shoes and sneakers for $9, this is American of course. I bought Jack some cool gifts for less than $3 but I don’t want to write about them because I want to surprise him. 🙂
Right now were in an Indian-type cafe waiting to eat. The menus are great because they show pictures of everything even if its not even exactly what you will get haha. We booked a boat excursion for, get this, 12:30am. LOL! So you drink caffeine all day, stay up all night and then sleep all morning. Wait, am I complaining?? The cruise lasts until 2:45am and takes us to the seven famous draw bridges in the city. The reason the cruise leaves so late is because that is the only time they raise the draw bridges. Apparently it’s the shizzet!! Okay I’m having piña coladas in the Indian restaurant in the Russian city. Hmmm. Will continue later!
Ok it’s later. Omg we ate sooooooooo much. Usually I don’t eat very much but everything was so good I had to try it. Chicken, potatoes and tomatoes in an amazing sauce came in a skillet. Pasta with Parmesan and julienned veggies…yum. Chicken Kiev. Even yummier. Blinchki with chocolate. Awesome bread and two (dva) pina coladas. Cant move. This restaurant is called Kalikiya something something galoost. We can read Russian! Oh yeah! Ok, back to the hotel and then the boat. I swear we never stop moving. I’m realizing now that unless jack is at home on skype now, I probably wont see him until tomorrow. 😦
Yesterday we visited the Armory museum in Moscow, in the Kremlin, which houses some amazing collections of armor and costumes, jewelry, carriages and tons of gold and silver from the 16th and 17th century. We weren’t allowed to take many photos, well none actually, but I stole a few hee hee.
Security was tripled and they really don’t give Americans a hard time here. We’ve been very lucky. Everyone is helpful and tries to speak English even if they have no business doing so.
We saw our first car accident last night walking back to the metro from dinner. Screech! Bang … right into a light pole. The Russian got out and yelled at the pole! LOL!
Whenever we walk we have to watch our step because there are steps up and down where you wouldn’t expect them like between doorways and in the middle of the sidewalk. We keep saying UGH!!! And then we go cartwheeling down the street for awhile.
I’ll have to post photos when I get back because I’m having a hard time juggling the charging schedule with our electronics.
Last night we took a night train (I’ll wait while you sing Guns n Roses…go ahead…) from Moscow to St. Petersburg. I slept like a baby for about nine hours. Got up around 11am. ahhhh. Right now were in the hotel in the center of town and Despicable Me is on in russian. Cookie Robots is a difficult phrase to translate apparently. So we will take a boat tour on the river Neva. Cool! Haraschol!! And now we will take a quick tour by foot. I’m even speaking English like a foreigner, no?
I did get to skype with Jack for a few minutes at 7:30 his time. he is very excited for Russian presents and we got him some bad ass stuff! Swears also don’t translate well so we just yell DOG, Sabaka, a lot. Sighhhh. Shitsky.