The day after opening our final show, we had an overnight in St. Petersburg. I’d never been to Russia, so I was brimming with excitement. I got off the ship with two musicians and my dance captain, ready to explore.
The traffic between the cruise port and downtown was terrible, so by the time we got off the shuttle, we were all starving. We found a restaurant about two blocks from the Church on Spilled Blood with English translations on the menu and a beautiful outside patio. I enjoyed some sangria, beef stroganoff, and bread with some of the tastiest butter I’ve ever tried.
After eating, we went to see the church. It was the only thing I felt I had to do in St. Petersburg. It was gorgeous! The details were astounding, and the colors were so vibrant. I was most impressed by how gold the gold paint still is. We weren’t able to go inside, but we circled the exterior so we could take it all in.
When we finished at the church, we came across a small jazz club. The musicians in the group, unsurprisingly, insisted on going in. We stayed for a couple songs, and then hit the road again.
We ran into some other friends from the ship, and joined them at a Viking bar nearby. The boys weren’t impressed by the beer options, so we migrated to an Irish pub. I ended up trying a flight of Belgian beers, although I felt silly with Belgian booze in an Irish bar in Russia.
More friends showed up at the bar right before we left, and by the time we all made it to shuttle stop, the bus was already full! The next bus wasn’t coming for 2 hours, because the bridge between downtown and the port was up, so we had to find another spot to kill time.
We ended up at another bar near the shuttle stop where I witnessed a bar fight for the first time. I wish I’d been able to understand what was being said! I think the customer was angry about being cut off, and decided the best course of action was to fling a bottle across the bar. And a coffee cup. And a glass. The staff was remarkably calm until security came in. They treated us to discounted drinks since we were patient while this episode was happening!
All in all, my night in Russia was a lot of fun. I hope to eventually go back and spend a week really seeing the sights!