I slept really heavily in my new bed, and spent the Saturday morning unpacking. Then I got dressed and ventured out, defiantly wearing my high-heeled suede boots. Everywhere on the internet advises tourist not to wear heels in the ice, that only Russian women can do that, but I thought that was stupid so I did it (not a slip – yeah bitchezz!!). I walked round the corner to find the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, which was obviously jaw-dropping. Weirdly though, I was more entranced by the snow-covered gardens next to it. It was that perfect sticky snow, which is glued to all the branches even the teeny-tinest ones.
I wandered round it for about 20 minutes, then the cold started to creep in a bit despite my 4 or 5 layers (it was -10 and I hadn’t acclimatised yet) so I started back. I stopped off at a tiny Russian supermarket and it was wayy better than I expected!! (although my expectations were extremely low after the Russian camp food in 2015…) I stocked up on basics, as well as a spontaneous buy of buckwheat spaghetti (YUM)! It’s my new favourite. Because of my crap Russian, I had several fail moments during the checkout process but tried to keep my cool (even when I spent 5 minutes trying to open the tiny zip of my purse which was slowly but surely tearing my 500 ruble note*).
*luckily I spent it without the lady noticing
That night I went to an awesome pelmeni restaurant with a friend also on exchange. Pelmeni is a Russian specialty of peppery meat dumplings with sour cream – mmmmm so good!! The next day I met with yet another exchange pal and we gave the Hermitage a go. It’s so huge!! We got completely lost and never wandered into the same room twice. Apparently if you spend 10 minutes looking at every work of art they have, it would take longer than the average human lifetime to see everything.