Week 2 in Frozen Paradise

With another week in St. Petersburg over, I’ve explored new sights and uncovered some hidden gems you won’t find in your travel guides.

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Let’s start off with the Hermitage Museum. Not exactly an original sight to see, but if you haven’t been to the Hermitage on your visit to St. Petersburg, well, you’re kind of a disgrace to humanity. It is a magnificent spectacle of architecture and considered one of the largest art museums in the world with over 3 million works of art. Whether a lover of art or not, you will find something of interest and beauty. That I assure you.

Personally, I spent the majority of my trip in the Winter Palace. Thus, I don’t have any paintings to show you. But don’t worry. As a student of St. Petersburg State University, I get free admission, so I’ll make sure to go back.

Normal touristy stuff aside, the travelers among us know what’s most important: food. Two restaurants in particular stuck out:

1. Gosti (Гости)

With a name meaning “guests,” you can bet that hospitality is the main concern. Yes, the food was scrumptious. Cheap too. If you’re on a budget like me, you can get a business lunch (three course meal with limited selection for a lower price). Mine was roughly $5.

Although both my stomach and wallet were pleased, it was the interior that made me feel at home. Looks just like Grandma’s house, doesn’t it? Just a fair warning, though. If you sit at one of the couches, beware of the urge to fall asleep. Once you sit down, it’s hard to get back up.

By the way, if you couldn’t get enough of Gosti’s sweets, take a trip downstairs. They have their own bakery.

2. Ukrop (Укроп)

Now, I’m not a huge fan of vegetables. Just ask my parents. I barely looked at a carrot until the last year or two. So I hope you’re impressed that I’m recommending a vegetarian restaurant to you.

Ukrop, Russian for “dill” (yeah, not as telling as guests), is a slice of Petersburg’s thriving hipster culture. It’s food was original and expressive, and its design gave off a fresh, modern vibe. Ukrop is clean, but comfortable, hearty, but healthy. And yes, that is a swing.

Week 1

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