Четверг (Thursday).

Today, I went for a very long walk along the River and happened upon the Winter Palace – home of the Hermitage.  I did not go inside today – I think I will have plenty of time for that in the future and I want to spend an entire day there when I do go – but it was quite an incredible sight!  The temperatures outside were very cold – about -16 degrees Celsius, which is approximately 0 – 1 degree Fahrenheit.  I took a few photos and tried to absorb what I could as I continued to allow my toes to freeze 🙂  You will notice one photo that displays a few icicles hanging from one building….. I was speaking with my hostess’ daughter and she was telling me not to walk too close to the edges of buildings because a small boy was recently killed by falling icicles – how terrible!  I’ve been looking above my head regularly!

I also went to the grocery store again today, which is a very difficult thing to do, believe it or not.  You see, most of the super markets here require that you ask for each individual item “deli-style”.  Being that I can only speak certain words and phrases and I have trouble understanding when spoken to, I try to avoid these stores and go to ones where I can choose what I would like.  So, that is what I did and yet I did not understand that every person must weigh their own fruits and vegetables and put a price sticker on the items themselves.  So when I was checking out, the woman at the register pushed all my fruits and veggies to the back of the belt and told me to go and weigh them – I had no idea what she was saying and just kept looking at her, very confused (Rosetta Stone failed to teach me this aspect of the Russian culture and grocery shopping, I suppose 🙂  Fortunately, there was a woman behind me who happened to be from the US and she came to my rescue, explaining that I needed to weigh my produce and put a price tag on it – aha!  Now I know what to do and one of these day I will muster up the courage to walk into a smaller market and tell the clerks exactly what and how much I want!  But for now, it is only day two…..

The Peter and Paul Fortress, in the distance.

Nevskiy Prospekt.

Beware of driving off bridges and falling Icicles!

The Winter Palace and the ugly frozen car out front.

Nevskiy Prospekt.

Nevskiy Prospekt.

Nevskiy Prospekt.

day number one.

Today was my first full day in St. Petersburg and I confess, I am feeling a little bit lost in translation!  I walked around the city a bit with another American (who’s proficiency in Russian is very fluent) and I took just a few photos to post – it was very cold.  Tomorrow I will go out again and try to find my way around a bit more and go grocery shopping so I can cook.  For now, it is time for bed!

Leaving for Russia today…..

So, today I begin my adventure to St. Petersburg and what a day it has been already!  I managed to finish packing my very large bag yesterday and I was feeling all relaxed this morning, until I found out about the bombing at the Moscow airport.  I am flying into Moscow tomorrow and connecting to St. Petersburg from there and this whole event has left me feeling a little uneasy. Fortunately, my flight into Moscow arrives at a different airport and their security will likely be very heightened as I go through customs.  I still can’t help thinking about the poor victims and I pray that there are no more.

Once I arrive in St. Petersburg, I will be sure to send word to all my family and friends who will want to tune into my posts.  Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement – it could not have made it this far without you!