Wednesday, May 9, 2007

St Petersburg, Day 2

Ok, i bought some additional time on the computer. Where was i?
Ah yes, we were tired and cranky.
I am pleased to say that a good night's sleep had restored us to our good humors and me to my agonizingly verbose self.
This morning we slept in until 9 and then had breakfast at the hostel.
Today is 9 May, which is "Victory Day" in Russia (the day they celebrate their victory over the Nazis and all soldiers lost in war). It is kind of like their fourth of July. There was a huge parade today, which somehow we missed, but the streets are thick with Russians waving flags and sporting ribbons and drinking in celebration.
Due to the holiday, all of the museums and attractions are closed. Churches, shops and restaurants are open. I had planned that we would spend the day walking and exploring parks and the river. We gave it a shot, but it was bitterly cold, raining and windy. After about an hour or so, we were frozen, so we holed up at a little cafe and sat there for a couple hours, enjoying coffee and lunch (I had pancakes with mushrooms & Betty Lou had mushroom soup and pancakes with beef).
We then felt ready to take on the day and i led us on a walking tour that took us to the magnificent Cathedral of our Lady of Kazan and St. Nicholas' Cathedral. We also walked to Sennaya Ploshchad; it is not much to see today, but back in the day it was a favorite haunt of Dostoevsky and is where he got much of the inspiration for the characters in "Crime and Punishment". We walked past the colossal Mariinsky Theatre and Yusupov's Palace, which is notable not only for its beauty, but for the fact that it is where Rasputin was killed.

Just down the street is the most fabulous restaurant/bar called "The Idiot" (after the novel). It is just below street level and is comprised of several small rooms decorated with antique typewriters and furniture, comfy leather sofas and dining tables. It is super cozy - exactly the kind of place one would want to spend several hours engaging in pretentious political or philosophical conversation or working on one's next novel. Each patron is given a complimentary shot of vodka. We spent some time there. I had vodka and a cigar and Betty Lou enjoyed a non-alcoholic cocktail called "A Little Tenderness". There we met and chatted with three Canadian students touring with their university symphony.
cigars & vodka at The Idiot

After that, a walk home, with a detour here, to the Internet cafe.
Tomorrow we plan to tackle the Hermitage.
Ok, i think i have brought everyone up to speed.
Good night.
Until next time,
drn & bln

No comments: