Partially so *I* can remember, here’s what I (and my dad, when he was here) have been doing:
Wed April 22: arrived. after border scare, checked in to hotel and dinner at the hotel restaurant. the “entertainment” included “traditional Russian dancing” and some poor dude dressed up like a bear.
Thursday: changed money, bought some food, wandered around Hermitage area to get our bearings.
Friday: First of two-day pass to Hermitage. Spent it in the main building(s). Could barely walk by the end of the day.
Saturday 4/25: Second day. Went to Menshikov Palace (on Vasilevsky Island section of St. Pete), then Winter Palace of Peter I (now mostly a theater, and very disappointing). Dad went back to hotel and I went back to main Hermitage to see the rooms of Picasso, Matisse et al.
Sunday: went on a day excursion out of the city, to Peterhof, site of Peter the Great’s Grand Palace (summer palace) and the much-admired fountain-filled gardens. The fountains, however, were not yet on.
Monday: tried to go to Peter & Paul Fortress, but the nearby Metro station was closed and dad was too tired to walk there. In hindsight, this plan was rather foolish, given our action-packed schedule up to this point.
Monday evening: Our “vodka and caviar night.” We went to Matrosskaya Tishina, supposedly the best seafood place in St. Pete. The caviar-for-two was tasty, but no black caviar (which is now banned, I think). We also had the tasting menu, which had some highlights but wasn’t particularly great. But a lovely evening.
Tuesday: some souvenir shopping in the morning, then I read in the hotel bar while dad rested and packed his bag.
Wed @ 3:30 am: wake up to see dad off to airport. then take a nap and pack up myself to check out and move to Cuba Hostel for cheaper, more-my-style last few days in St. Pete.
Wed evening: went to see (Kirov?) ballet company perform Swan Lake at Mariinsky Theater. I was far, far more touched and amazed by the performance than I thought I would be.
Thursday: whole day at the Russian Museum. The 300 roubles I paid for the English audioguide was well worth it. I learned a ton about Russian art and history. Between the ballet and the day perusing the paintings, I am thoroughly inspired.
Friday: Peter & Paul Fortress (take 2) and the museum of Political History.
Saturday: Dostoyevsky Museum and other bits
Sunday: leave St. Pete and head south twards Moscow, possibly for Novgorod or else Suzdal.
…spend a week or so
May 11: meet Esther is Moscow for tour of Star City. yay!
May 12: hang with Esther
May 13 or 14 or…?: get on Trans-Siberian. or else I might take a quick trip down to Caucuses, cuz I want to see the Caspian and Black Seas.
About to run out of power (I’m in a pub with free wifi). Stay tuned to Flickr for more pics!