27.05.2016 - 27.06.2016
We headed out looking for a local meal and spied a restaurant ahead. As we walked toward it I noticed that there was a stairway going under a building which had some indications of food. We got closer to the restaurant and decided that it looked touristy and expensive which wasn't what we were after. We spun a u turn and headed back to the hole in the road. We walked down into it the main room which contained a liquor shop. We walked through to the room on the right and found cabinets of salami, etc. We were about to grab a bag of potato chips as well as a bottle of coke when I decided to check out the room to the left. It turned out to be a small local eating joint so we grabbed a seat and perused the menu. I noticed that everyone else in the room seemed to have a small glass of Cognac with their lunch and in some cases more then one glass, I ordered a red caviar sandwich and Borscht (beetroot and meat soup) and Louise got a summer sausage sandwich and Borscht. Wanting to try a true local experience and with everyone else drinking Cognac we really had to get one as well.
We headed back out onto the street and wandered down to check out Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood which was very cute. We then went to the Hermitage and the Winter Palaces which were incredible/amazing! We passed many paintings and I couldn't believe there were so many topless portraits!!! All the rooms were so elaborately decorated. We haven't seen such beautiful rooms in quite some time. The pictures can do the talking, but don't quite do it justice.
Well, the pictures can do most of the talking, however there is one item that begs explanation. We came across this which has got to be the coolest clock ever. There is a small dragon fly on top of the mushroom that moves every second. Every hour on the hour the Peacock spreads its tail feathers bowing like a real peacock and turns 10 degrees before returning to its original spot. Then as it's feathers are returning the rooster crows and well the owl does other things... It's probably easier if you watch it on youtube.
After several hours feasting on this eye candy we hit the street and stumbled across an open air operatic ballet recital which we watched for a while. We then headed off in search of other items of interest and followed a wedding party to the Bronze horseman. We also headed back to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and watched as three people who had been offering cuddles with raccoons and a little monkey suddenly showed a lot of interest in a street vendors goods whilst stuffing one of the raccoon's into a portable cage. We continued watching and realised that the moment the wailing siren of the approaching police car went past they swiftly moved to the back of the vendors stand and then to the other side peeking around the corner to ensure the police weren't stopping to look for them. This was the main reason we came back to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and when we saw that we decided not to hold the monkey as you don't know what these creatures could be carrying considering it clearly wasn't endorsed. We wandered down Nevsky prospect watching the street performers/buskers before grabbing a beer/wine and chicken wings for dinner.
St Petersburg has a really cruisy and fun feel to it which reminds me a lot of the Gold Coast. One yuck thing that we found in both Moscow and St Petersburg, thankfully less in St Petersburg, is the occasional strong waft of something like stagnant sewer with a dash of rotting corpse thrown in for good measure, but we could never figure out where it came from. We can only think that it come from underground vents or something as it happened on all our walks around the city and NO, it wasn't us!!!