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…..