Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last day in Russia

Our greeting to the museum.
The last day was a free day. We were let loose upon the city, and St. Petersburg did not know what hit it. First, many of us went to the Museum of Curiosity, aka Kunstkamera. For the most part, it was like a scaled down Museum of Natural History. Bu then here were dead babies in jars. It was gross and I tried to avoid looking. I walked through that room as quickly as possible. The rest was interesting, though, and less disturbing.

After the museum our group split. Some went to more museums and some went shopping. I was in the shopping crew.
I was cultured out, and I needed to buy vodka. I was not the only one with this need, so we went to fill it. And we also went to the fancy market and the big mall and the fancy mall and the regular market. Basically we went everywhere. 
Waiting for the trolley so we can shop till we drop.

But first we ate lunch at Carl Juniors. Only the finest on our last day. But I must say, the waffle fries were yummy. And then the adventure began.

We went to the fancy market for one last hurrah. I bought some macaroons, mustard for Dad, vodka because, duh, it's Russia, and hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was AMAZING. It was really little, but it was so thick I could barely finish it. Don't worry, I did end up finishing it. On our way out, the security sensor went off, and of course it was because of me. I was brought back to the check out counter and my bag was looked through and everything was de-sensitized again, and after a while of me standing awkwardly and wanting to just drink my hot chocolate, I was set free.

After the fancy market we went to the big mall and got more vodka, and then to the fancy mall for some amber jewels. Really big ones that would make someone sink to the bottom of the ocean if they wore them. It was then that I looked at my receipt from the fancy market and saw that they had charged me for 3 hot chocolates instead of 1. Oops. Luckily, we were close, so we went back.

Now, if you will recall, I had set the security sensors off while exiting the market earlier. So I was a bit nervous about asking for a refund. Sure enough, I as headed back in and the guy at the door gave me a weird look. I went to the check out counter and explained why I was back, and could I please have my 350 rubles back?
Utter confusion.
I was charged extra? How many hot chocolates? How many macaroons? You got the macaroons. Yes, but I didn't get 3 hot chocolates. And on and on. Finally everyone understood what I was asking, but then there was the issue that I had paid with plastic. At the point the manager came over (or at least I think it was the manager. She looked official), banks were called, and I was informed that I could either a) wait a long time for the money to get back in my account or b) take more merchandise that is worth 350 rubles. At this point, I could have used another hot chocolate and mixed some of that vodka I got in it, so I just went with the merchandise to save time.
I asked for more macaroons, so they gave me a cute little box of assorted flavors.
The cute little box of assorted flavors.
I was charged 350 extra rubles. It was not until later that I found out this cute little box of macaroons normally cost 600 rubles. 
It was a bit stressful, but everyone was nice and I walked away with (almost) half price yummy delicious macaroons. 

So, after that adventure we went to dinner. Our last dinner together! So sad! We went to a restaurant that served traditional Russian food. It was very colorful inside. 

The Restaurant

All restaurants should have flying
people in the entryway.

The decor. 
Salad. Everything has sour cream
on it in Russia
My meal. Potatoes. 

Everyone enjoying dessert
The food was pretty good. Except for the fact that the vegetarian meal was potatoes. Nothing else. Just potatoes. Everyone else had duck and potatoes, so basically they just didn't put the duck on the vegetarian plates.
Although I think there may have been a mushroom mixed in somewhere.

The dessert was delicious and filling, though. And I'll be honest, I was still kind of full from that hot chocolate.
 I think it was some sort of apple filled sponge cake.
While at dinner we presented our professors, Trudi, Yelena and Lily, with cards and showered them with gratitude. After that was all done, we went on a boat ride around the city. Oh yeah.
It was fun seeing the city from the river (NOT canals, as Yelena pointed out). We spent so much time walking by the Neva, and now were were floating upon its polluted waters. Lynn bought wine, I shared my assorted macaroons, and we had a grand time.
On the boat

Peter and Paul

Going under on of the bridges.
It was a little smelly under there.

Some people playing their guitars.
If you throw a coin and it lands on
this little monument, it means something
good. I don't remember what, though.


After the boat ride we walked back to the hotel to finish packing and get some sleep before our long flights.

 But first, we stopped for one last ice cream.

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