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Friday, September 14, 2012

Russia - St. Petersburg 7.4

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  • Russian Museum
  • Tinkoff Restaurant
  • Red Arrow Midnight Train from St. Petersburg to Moscow

It came to my favorite part of the trip, when we had crossed off most of the items on our itinerary, familiar with our surroundings, and felt relaxed.  It was our last day in St. Petersburg, and the only place on our agenda was the Russian Museum. 

We slept in until 11 AM, checked out of the W at 1 PM, and left our luggage in the hotel.  The hotel concierge helped us to book the taxi for tonight and even coordinated with our hotel in Moscow for next morning's pick-up.  They were so helpful!

We walked back to Nevskiy Prospekt, and went to a random cafe for some bagels & wraps before heading to the Russian Museum.  We started with Benois Wing first since it housed the 20 Century Russian arts.  Although I did not know much about Russian art prior to this trip, I truly enjoyed the exhibitions in the Russian Museum. 

After we left the Russian Museum, we took one last chance to take more pictures of the Church of the spoiled blood, wondered around different canals, and simply enjoyed the city.  

We wanted to try a Siberian restaurant listed in Frommer's guidebook, "Black Cat, White Cat" for dinner.  It turned out to be a frustrating search.  First, it was hard to find the addresses in St. Petersburg to begin with.  After asking many people on the street, we "probably" had found the correct address, but there was no restaurant in sight.  Even now, I can't tell you whether we did not find the address, or the restaurant was closed.  By the time we gave up, we were tired, annoyed, and hungry.  We randomly picked another highly recommended restaurant from Frommer's guidebook, Tinkoff.  It was probably the WORST dinning experience we had in Russia.  The restaurant looked like a combination of a bar/nightclub with dim lights and cold bland decor.  I wanted to walk out as soon I stepped inside the restaurant, but I was too tired to look for another restaurant.  The simple German sausages we ordered took more than one hour to come.  We could not wait to finish the dinner and leave. 

After we finished the dinner, we still had sometime left before our midnight train to Moscow.  We went back to Gosti restaurant to get some dessert and tea.  This had never happened to us in our previous trip that we actually went back to the same restaurant three times!  We told our regular waiter that we were leaving to Moscow.   Our waiter quickly said, "Give it four hours, you would not like it." in a no none-sense manner that we had already gotten used to by now.  We laughed.  Like it or not, we were ready to find out. 

When we were planning for our Russian trip, we deliberately skipped the flight from St. Petersburg to Moscow so we can experience the midnight train with sleeping compartments.  However, booking the tickets from the Russian Railway Website turned out to be incredibly challenging for someone who could not read Russian.  Fearing that we would book the wrong tickets and wake up somewhere in Siberia, we ended up biting the bullet and booked the higher price tickets through a travel agency in Germany.   

By 11 PM, we returned to the W hotel to collect our luggage.  Shortly after, we took the prearranged taxi to the Moskowasky Train station.  The Red Arrow Train from St. Petersburg departed at 23:55 PM and arrived in Moscow the next morning at 7:55 AM.  It was only 11:30 when we arrived at the train station.  All the signs in the train station were written in Russian, and H was getting anxious trying to find the platform.  Thankfully, it was pretty simple and we found our train quickly.

Our compartment was clean and did not feel claustrophobic.  There was a TV and electronic outlets in the compartment.  Bottles of water, clean towels, bed sheets, blankets, and pillows were provided.  We were a bit concerned about the safety on the train, but the luggage was stored under our beds, and we were able to lock our compartment.  We were excited.  It felt nostalgic and romantic to be traveling the old fashioned way.  


NEXT: Russia - Moscow 7.5

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