Wanderlust – Russia: Day 8 of 10

My husband is like a kid whenever he sees a zoo or aquarium. So obviously we had to go to the Planet Neptune Oceanarium as soon as he saw that it is close to our hotel. I must say that they truly have lots of weird and wonderful fish species. It was just a bit difficult to find the place. When walking around in Russia, make sure to have both an English and Russian version of a map with you..

Thereafter, on our way to the closest metro station, we had to walk through a Christmas market. It was so nice and cheerful!

We then took the metro to the station closest to Peter and Paul Fortress. This is considered to be the place where St. Petersburg was started. In the middle of the fortress is the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul.

Walking back to the metro was really extremely cold. That was when we started dreaming of South Africa’s warm and sunny weather. It feels unreal that we’ll be walking around in shorts next week. It started snowing heavily while we were walking. We tried capturing it on photos but it is difficult – flash photography worked the best but does not really do it justice.

We had dinner at a very nice pub called Shamrock Irish Bar. After the cold, they provided the best comfort food that we could think of: meatloaf and cottage pie with a Guinness and some cider on the side.
We then did something that made me realise that dreams do come true: we watched The Nutcracker ballet in the Mariinsky Theatre. It is the same theatre where it premiered in 1892. The theatre is very beautiful and incomparable.

Me being me, I enjoyed the music the most and paid a lot of attention to the orchestra. I was impressed by the fact that it had 4 french horn players!

I enjoyed the ballet very much. It was most definitely worth it to attend. My husband managed to sneak a few photos of the dancers after it ended. These were the main characters.


Wanderlust – Russia, Day 5 of 10

I am so tired tonight because we walked very far. I think I am therefore going to write less and post more photos.

The Red Square was closed today due to a mourning day in Russia. A tragedy happened during the weekend – our thoughts and prayers are with all the families. (Thanks Mom for letting us know – otherwise we would not have known because we don’t have access to English news channels). All visible flags were hanging half-mast today.

Due to the closure we had to walk all the way around the outside of the Red Square. We saw the following just outside the Kremlin walls:

All around the edges of the Red Square there was a very very big police presence. I was very scared. It’s not like we did anything wrong but I am very intimidated by a foreign country’s police force. First of all you don’t know all the local laws and how they are applied and then also you have the big hurdle of not being able to explain yourself or your behaviour in their native tongue. 

The paths that we wanted to take were blocked everywhere by the police. So we kind of got lost. Okay, not kind of – we walked about 7km extra to our destination (up and down the same road trying to find a way).. And all along that 7km we saw police watching us. Really terrifying stuff. Obviously my imagination went overboard as well.. I think I watch too many movies.

It was really cold today. According to the hotel the maximum was -1 and the minimum -2 (degrees Celcius). It felt way colder. Our 7km journey included a very long stretch next to a river. We were freezing by the time that we reached our destination, but we found a very small (but to us extra big) safe haven who saved our lives with coffee and tea.

Our destination was the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Afterwards we went for a joyride on the metro to see more of the beautiful stations. Apparently they had bomb threats in 3 stations but we did not see anything (thanks again Mom!). My sister-in-law did some research and found out that the following stations are the most spectacular (in any order):

  • Ploschad Revolyutsii (Площадь Революции)
  • Kurskaya (Курская)
  • Komsomolskaya (Комсомольской)
  • Novoslobodskaya (Новослободская)
  • Mayakovskaya (Маяковская)

After a very long day, we finished of with a shot of Vodka – when in Rome,…  😉