Tuesday, August 2
Nab Makarova, St Petersburg, 11:15
The breakfast was fine. We discovered that it is usual to have several glasses of sparkling wine as part of breakfast. We first came across this in Warsaw, and thought it pleasantly odd, but both the boat and the hotel here have also offered this and most of the Russian guests seem to find it completely normal. We are adapting rapidly.
We asked about getting a bus to Nevsky Prospekt and were told to walk to the main road by the river and wait for the 191. We are waiting for it and I am watching a number 1 trolley bus approaching. St Petersburg seems to have a mixture of gasoline buses and electric trolley buses. We will get one on the way home and it will make a low humming sound all the time.
Yesterday we noticed that many people not only had umbrellas but also plastic raincoats. I read that it rains most of the time here, and so our first task will be to locate some bright green raincoats, which we will.
We will take the bus right down to the main Moskovsky railway station where we will wander around and finally end up round the corner in Galleria Mall in Ligovsky Prospekt. I will find this amazing because it seems to only contain Western stores from H&M and Marks & Spencer to Mothercare and TGI Friday. All the signage is in Western alphabet, even the signs advertising sales. This is completely the opposite of everywhere else. Even the St Petersburg branch of Stockmann has all its signs in Russian.
In the evening we will eat at Begenius Restaurant, just round the corner from the hotel. It will be surprisingly cheap and the food will be excellent. I will have borsht followed by stroganoff, with a local beer.