21 February 2009

Enjoying Life in St. Petersburg

Today was an unusually sunny clear day, little wind, and -5 C. We got up a little after 8, had a breakfast of oatmeal, toast with Finnish cheese, and a few cups of English Breakfast tea. Today we were off to town! We knew that in many places it`s a sheet of ice, so I wore my heavy batinky... boots... to better navigate the slippery sections.

My wife is the Russian Conversation Group coordinator and native speaker for the International Womans Club. She is ideal for this activity as she struggled to learn English in America and has helped me fight the good fight to learn Russian. We went to the Center together as I was headed to the English literature library for the first time since last spring, while she was meeting her group.

From the metro we walked on Nevsky Prospect to the Fontanka river, where the horse statues mark the Anichkov Bridge. I spent the next few hours happily looking at books and selected five. I forgot that once a year they require members to produce their passport to verify permanent residence. That`s when knowing some Russian really helped! They deferred the requirement until I return the books. Ah, flexibility!

Around 2 we met at Cafe Teremok, known for its traditional Russian food. We ordered bline, very thin plate size items, with a filling of your choice. Mine had a white sauce, parsley, and thin sliced chicken. It was so delicious I ordered a second!

I neither saw nor heard tourists on Nevsky today nor saw any English tour signs. It seems that there are few travellers visiting the city. Still, I found being part of the crowd invigorating!

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