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St. Peterburg, Russia

 
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bluedog



Joined: 03 Aug 2005
Posts: 135
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:18 pm    Post subject: St. Peterburg, Russia Reply with quote

My visa has been sorted out, the meeting planned, the hotel booked. Now the fun part - my 3 free days! I leave in 10 days, so we are frantically reviewing tour books, etc.

Outside of the ballet, does anyone have any advice on food, touring or shopping in St. Petersburg?

I would love to hear from anyone who has been!
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Bluedog, you can't possibly be serious! What has St. Petersburg to offer outside ballet!
Have a most wonderful time and beware of pickpockets!

No more war, more Hermitage treasures!
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bluedog



Joined: 03 Aug 2005
Posts: 135
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Simona. We will of course, visit the Hermitage, and multiple palaces. Our meeting planner has arranged a canal tour and dinner at the "last palace". I will have this luxury twice, as we have a meeting for Russian physicians and then a repeat for Bulgaria, Ukraine and Romania. (there are apparantly no hotels in all of St. P that can accomodate a 220 person meeting).

Do you have any secret or out of the way places to eat or shop? I find the restaurant listings to be the worst part of tour books.

When traveling for business, I only have a few extra days, so I must be selective with my time. With limited time, what is your opinion of "must see" attractions?

Thank you in advance, you seem to be quite a seasoned travler!
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Bluedog,
I am a seasoned traveller, but strangely enough, I haven't been in St. Petersburg. So I can't help you more than your books. I just know that there are many things to see besides the Ballet, that's why I mentioned the Hermitage. There are the palaces, the beautiful streets, but you know that. As for food, good russian food is very good, if you can find a local restaurant with authentic russian food. Maybe a truthful hotel personel could help you. But really, beware of unregistered Taxis ( my husband, a journalist , has been several times in Rusiia and St.P. and told me to warn you), false guides and street robbers.
Are you a physicist? Or a MD ( Physician?) . I understand you'll meet ex-compatriotes of mine, Romanians. I could help with translation ( I was a professional translator, once upon a time).
I'm sure you'll love the city, I dream to go there, and sure I will.
I'm waiting for your stories about this wonderful city
Have a safe trip,
Simona

No more war, more Pirozky, Borsht, Kiev cotlet, and of course, black caviar and vodka!!
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bluedog



Joined: 03 Aug 2005
Posts: 135
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the warning Simona.

I am a biologist by degree, but I am now a clinical operations manager in the biotech industry, working on a global clinical trial for breast cancer, and this is the study kick-off for eastern europe. We did western europe in Lisbon last month. US will be in Scottsdale, AZ next month, not nearly as exotic!

Can you tell me a greeting in Romanian?

I will be sure to report back.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello ,
First of all, good luck with the ckunical trial, it's important for us, women.
Maybe some words of romanian will help.
Buna Ziua ( zee-u-a)- hello, good day
Buna dimineatza - good morning
Buna seara ( se-a -ra) - good evening
Pofta buna - Bon Appetit
La revedere - Goodbye

No more war, more romanian words?
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Monica



Joined: 13 Oct 2005
Posts: 90
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't wait to hear more after your trip, bluedog! I've been to Moscow and many of the surrounding 'Golden Ring' cities, but we did not get to St. Petersburg. The palaces and churches should make for nice pics, even if they're not all open to the public. The only main site I can think of is the Hermitage Museum. I hope you have a great time and that your work is as fulfilling as it sounds!
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bluedog



Joined: 03 Aug 2005
Posts: 135
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:11 pm    Post subject: Just flew in from Russia and boy, are my arms tired! Reply with quote

My trip was fantastic. What an unbelievably enlightening experience. You know that as an American, you live a sheltered, privleged life, but until you witness these things, it isn't real.

Life in St. Petersburg today is not much different than most of Europe, but when you talk to people about life before and after Soviet regime, it is remarkable what they have to tell you. Just a decade later, they speak freely, but historically, as we do of the Civil war, like it was ancient history.

Regarding the city, it is so beautiful, with rich culture and dynamic history. As you tour your 9th palace and 7th cathedral, you realize why there was a revolution! The love of arts is astounding. Each theatre is simultaneously running 5-10 major productions. To see a ballet at the Mariinsky, where the Tsars sat over 2 centuries ago, is indescribable.

That said, this is a food forum, so I will tell you about the food: all in all, it was very good. I needn't tell you of the joys of beluga caviar, or cold, smooth vodka, but in addition, some lovely cuts of veal and lamb, and more variations of mushrooms than you can imagine. Outdone only by the number of cranberry themed foods. Fish serves a prominent role, and being from the northwest, I can give an educated opinion that the salmon was wonderful. i could pass on the whitefish terrines, but had some excellent sturgeon, in fillets, and appetizer pastries. Restaurants are reserved for special occasions, so they were rarely full, but we had many good meals and our hosts were always charming. Of note, Irish pubs are currently popular in St. P, so a stop there was mandetory.

PS the borsht and piroshky were, as expected great comfort foods, too.

And Simona, the Romanians were just delightful! I have met some new friends I expect to keep in touch with.
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Monica



Joined: 13 Oct 2005
Posts: 90
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your trip sounds absolutely lovely. So much to do and see, and the difference in culture is something that has to be experienced to be believed. We didn't get a lot of people to talk about the past. It seemed, understandably, that to many of them it was still too painful. We saw a ballet at the Bolshoi, and it was such a wonderful, historically rich evening. Eh, not a good phrase, but you get my drift.

I was less adventurous with food at the time when I went to Russia than I am today. Actually packed a suitcase of food like tinned chicken breast, granola bars, etc., because I might not have as many opportunities to eat or wouldn't like the offerings! I am not a fan of much seafood, so that made things difficult. Baked breakfasts that I expected to be sweet weree instead savory, and vice versa. I never knew what to expect when I bit into something. My favorites were a boozy cheesecake with raisins that a woman artist we visited had baked, and salads or potato dishes, and beef stews with mushrooms.

Welcome back!
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beluga caviar and cold vodka, wow!!!!
I have many occasion to drink good vodka, but beluga caviar, it's not staple food here around ( nor anywhere else...)
Still, I remember two times in my life when I ate Beluga.
The first time was when I was about 14-15 years old. A cousin of my mother ( she was born in Odessa), came to Israel and caviar was more or less the only thing they were allowed to take with them. So they brought about 5 kg, sold some and invited the family, me and my parents included to have some . I never ate caviar before, there was plenty of it on the table and I ate many many spoonful of the precious beluga before anyone noticed ( I was a healthy eater since my first day in this world) . And then, I got sick, and you can guess what happened. But I remembered the taste and waited for a second chance. It came in Paris, while I was a student living in a chambre de bonne of a very wealthy family on rue de Grenelle (6th). A relative came to visit them from Georgia, and there it was, my dear beluga , once again. This time I enjoyed it with vodka and blinis. Heaven.
I'm still waiting for the next time, maybe in St. Petersburg.
Dear Bluedog, I'm really happy you enjoyed your trip, and if you'll visit Romania, I'll teach you more words, maybe food related. Romanian food, more influenced by the Balkans, is delicious.

No more war, more beluga caviar, good vodka and peace!!!
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