It’s late here in St. Petersburg, and we’ve just finished our second full day. We arrived on Tuesday at our hotel around 4pm, so we just wandered around the city after unpacking to get our bearings. My crazy itinerary (see this post on planning) has a number of restaurants picked out from various sources (Trippy, Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, etc.), and I had Fartuk lined up for dinner that night. We wandered the streets aimlessly looking for a Fartuk sign, only to eventually turn on Data Roaming on my phone in order to see the actual street address. It turns out all restaurants are written in Cyrillic (like St. Petersburg is in the blog post title)… cue lots of confusion in trying to find the Latin-names. Sasha speaks passable Serbian and his parents both read and write in Cyrillic, but unfortunately he doesn’t. So far, we have played lots of charade with people at stores and in restaurants. There is not a lot of English spoken here, which is exciting but confusing all at the same time. I love the thrill of this though (except probably in high stress situations, which we hope to avoid!).
Anyways, our meal at Fartuk was one of the best we’ve both ever eaten, and the atmosphere was perfect too (seriously considering scratching future plans to go back). Come to find that a ton of restaurants here in St. Petersburg are très trendy – the Russians know what they’re doing on the food scene. I’m going to do a detailed St. Petersburg travel guide when I get home, but to rattle off a few of the things we’ve enjoyed so far:
- Visiting the Hermitage Museum, which is one of the largest in the world and is totally gorgeous and seriously could take all day to wander around. We caved and got English audio guides, which were really helpful. Our favorite sighting was Da Vinci’s Madonna and Child. We wandered through Palace Square before entering (as well as looped around St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which was swamped with tourists).
- Strolling through the city’s many parks, including Alexander Park and Mikhailovsky Gardens. Isla needs to get out and stretch her legs after riding around (and napping) in the stroller for a lot of the site-seeing.
- Going to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, which was one of the most gorgeous sites I’ve ever seen. The inside was covered in detailed mosaics, and we spent ages just looking at all of the intricate scenes inside.
- Taking a cruise through the many canals of the city (called “Venice of the North”) – passing the Mariinsky Theater, among many other iconic sites.
- Popping into the Faberge Museum – we’re trying to decide on an egg for Isla (probably a teensy tiny one!) – the music ones remind me so much of Anastasia.
- Eating delicious meals and drinking coffee/homemade lemonade (something every restaurant has!) at Azia, Fartuk, Zoom Cafe (another favorite), White Night Istanbul, Park Dzhuzeppe, Coffee Bar Bonch, and Coffee Shop.
Fancy a glass of … umm, bubbly? Any guess how to pronounce that? Outside the world’s fanciest candy store, Eliseyev Emporium
Cyrillic Scrabble at Fartuk (see the menu to understand why I couldn’t find it) Little miss mischief is keeping us on our toes In front of the impressive St. Isaac’s Cathedral (which took 40 years to build!) The water view of The Hermitage Museum (and Winter Palace) In Palace Square Isn’t it Candy Land-like? Gorgeous mosaic ceiling inside the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Swing time at Mikhailovsky Gardens Buying the most delicious fruit from a street vendor outside our hotel