When you think about it, Russian food is sort of nasty. Nasty can be good. It can also be very bad- and not in a good way.
Since I was in St Petersburg, I was going to take my chances and hope for the best...
Chaika is a new restaurant in St Petersburg designed to evoke retro 70s Soviet nostalgia. The food on the menu is pretty traditional, bit of Soviet peasant cuisine, loads of kartoshka, pirojki and rye bread. Songs from silver screen Russian classics blare loudly whilst films run on the projector above the bar. We ordered most things from the menu to share. The best was probably the sausages, stuffed eggplant and the chocolate eclairs with creme patisserie (the Great British Bake-off means I can differentiate between different kinds).
After dinner it was snowing cats and dogs. A Russian granny took a shine to my dad and asked him to escort her to the metro,'god forbid I should slip'- yes, that old chestnut.
We then popped into 'Dom Knig' St Petersburg's most famous bookshop on Nevsky Prospekt where dad browsed the aisles and I sat in the cafe with the most delicious milky cocoa drink.
The Winter Palace and the Hermitage State Museum
Back home I'm leave-it-don't-take-it when it comes to museums and exhibitions. But since on holiday my time doesn't get sucked down into a black hole of procrastination I'll happily spend an afternoon trudging around admiring the art.
The Hermitage was built by Catherine the Great and is one of the world's largest and oldest museums. We were shown around by a guide spending nearly five hours on the Italian renaissance, Italian and Spanish fine art, The Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque.
Funny thing about the Hermitage is that the interiors are so opulent that it was only when I looked back at my photos that I realised I'd taken more photos of the bling than the art. Nevertheless, looking at the work of the old masters was definitely one of the highlights of my trip and an absolute must-do for any visitor to the city.
Leonardo da Vinci