The Hermitage in the snow, taken yesterday while trying to keep dry.
Note: EuroCheapo editor Tom Meyers is traveling this week in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Greetings from St. Petersburg! The city is snowy, slushy, and slippery, and every step outside requires attention.
I flew in from Paris on Saturday afternoon and my friend Carl, who lives in St. Petersburg, picked me up at the airport and whisked me off to the grocery store.
Check out the caviar selection:
Sunday we explored the city, holding onto each other to avoid landing on our backs.
Carl introduced me to the St. Petersburg Metro. Interestingly, you must enter through the “enter” doors at street-level (and avoid the exit doors, as I found out when I took the Metro by myself). They’re the doors everyone’s walking into, like so:
You then put your token into the turnstile and go down a very, very, very long escalator at a swift speed. The St. Petersburg platforms are some of the deepest in the world. (I timed one escalator ride yesterday–I was cruising up it for 3.5 minutes. This may not seem like a long ride, but it is.)
St. Petersburg during January doesn’t get much sun. During the days that I’ve been here so far, it gets kind of brighter around 10 AM and stays sort of bright through about 5 PM. But we’re not talking about radiant sun. We’re talking about cloudy, whitish skies, usually with some precipitation falling.
This doesn’t stop anyone from walking around, shopping, or selling their wares. Here’s a cluster of art merchants selling their canvasses along the Nevskiy Prospekt, the city’s main boulevard.
It all makes you want to drink a lot of coffee. The city has some American-ish style coffee chains (and St. Petersburg is about to get its first Starbucks). The coffee house I like is called, well, “Coffee House.” (That’s what the sign says in Cyrillic.)
And who says Russians aren’t friendly? When I enjoyed a coffee break at this coffee house yesterday, my waitress was full of smiles and charm. I don’t speak Russian, but everyone I’ve come into contact with has been helpful and we’ve managed to make ourselves understood.
My waitress helped me pick out a chocolate éclair, and when she brought it to the table had decorated it with a little surprise:
That was a first! And so I smiled, this time in front of the Church on Spilled Blood, modeled after St. Basil’s in Moscow:
And that’s my report. Now I’m going to walk to the Hermitage, where I hope to spend most of the day.
More photos soon! Until then, well… smile!