Friday, October 22, 2010

st. petersburg, russia

Oct 20th -- I walked today.  I mean, we walk a TON everywhere, but today, I walked by myself. Kat was sleeping to make up for lost rest from the overnight train, but I slept like the dead, so I was antsy to get out. We arrived in St. Petersburg at 5 am, and got to the hotel at 7 am. We are staying on Liteiny Pr. The hotel itself is beautiful. It's a family run guesthouse, and there is a little kitchen for me to store my yogurts, and a place to have tea/coffee 24 hours a day. In addition, all the fun shops and restaurants are close by, so I can be by myself quite a bit during the day, wandering aimlessly, looking at everything.
 St Isaac's Cathedral, St Petersburg
Oct 22 -- A few years back [like 10 years back], Kat and I were in the Notre Dame in Paris. I found my patron saint, and asked Kat to take a pic of me with her. Back then, we had film cameras, and didn't realize what the pic was until I got home. She had cut off the head of my saint!!! Now, its tradition. Every time we see a saint, we take a pic with the whole body with the head, and one without! 
 St Isaac's Cathedral is close to the Hermitage, so we went searching for it today as well. The gold dome is quite distinguishable, so we found it quite easily. We saw the inside of the cathedral...which is now a museum. It is the most stunning structure. I have been to the Vatican, seen St Peter's Basilica, and many other cathedrals that take my breath away. Nonetheless, it still amazes me, how people can make something like this during times where so many amenities were unavailable. I walked around the place with my neck craned backwards for about an hour. The pews and such are no longer in the cathedral. It's just open space with plenty of room for you to walk around without bumping into anything while you look all the way up at the dove in the ceiling porthole.


 The weather is really cold, but sunny today...until it started to snow of course. We walked all the way down Nevskiy Prospect, the main road in St Petersburg. Tons of shops line the street around it, and it is so tempting to shop!!! 

Caviar is delicious is Russia. Caviar and vodka are what they are known for, so we ordered a caviar dish in a small underground brewery by the theatre. Salty, delectable, and perfect to pair with a wonderful ballet at the Hermitage theater.
This sushi place is part of a chain, and since we loved it so much last time we had it in Moscow, why not have it again in St Petersburg?! Kat had the Siberian beer, and I chose the perfect mojito with crushed ice.
I've had a lot of trouble ordering food in Russia. We don't eat bad though...oh no! We eat VERY well. hahha..but we have a lot of trouble communicating for food. We are forced to look for places that have English menus because the Russians everywhere else do not speak any English, and I cannot read Cyrillic at all. Sometimes pointing at pictures work [always works in Asia] but here, it just seems to be more difficult to get the point across. There are no street vendors, so I found nearby grocery stores to buy necessary items for breakfast.  However, now that we are in St. Petersburg, there are a lot more options. Lonely Planet and Let's Go have given me quite a few suggestions to choose from, and I'm excited to try them! Zoom Cafe is a must do for young foreigners, so I'll look for that in the morning! For lunch or dinner, we splurge on either Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. So far, every single meal has been amazing. We had sushi twice already at this popular chain in Russia, and I had the most delicious salmon in both the Italian and Spanish restaurants. ohh, and you can't forget the mojitos!!!! Tons of mint, rum, and crushed ice!!!!
california maki and philadelphia russia *_*

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