Our plan was to spend the day visiting museums. It turns out that they are all closed on Mondays. So we set out to walk around and see what we could find.
We came to a small park filled with military equipment - tanks and a truck and a rocket.
Then we walked to a Russian Orthodox Church.
Inside there was an icon of the Romanov family.
We walked to the Trubetskoy Decembrist Mansion, expecting it to be closed (as advised by the internet), but it was open! The husband had been exiled to Siberia for an unsuccessful coup against the government in 1825. His wife volunteered to go as well, and to live under prisoner conditions and rules. Eventually he was sent to “easier” work where he lived manacled for over a year. Then he was released, and went on to lead a life of leadership and high esteem in the community.
When we came out, it had started raining.
We went to a Jewish synagogue, where we were the only visitors. It was quite grand. The student rabbi told us there were 1 million Jews in Russia. Don’t know if what he said was correct or not, as he then told us (in his heavy Russian accent and broken English) that he was Australian.
It was raining harder by now, so we sought refuge in a shopping mall. Upstairs we found a fabulous place to have lunch called “appetite”. It was like an old fashioned cafeteria. You took a tray, moved along the food, putting on your tray what you wanted to eat. There were ladies serving the hot food. They were very happy and helpful. The food was very cheap and totally Russian. In fact, at the front door there was a sign saying no chips, hamburgers, and soft drinks. I had borscht, raw fish and pickled onion salad, and a potato-filled Pirozhki. Gordon had apple juice, coffee, mashed potato and goulash, a bowl of coleslaw, a sweet bun with sour cream (G thought it was bubble and squeak) and a delicious slice of cake.
We continued walking to the fresh produce markets, where I bought a large tumbler of forest strawberries for 60 roubles.
We then walked along a pedestrian only street to Carl Marx, then back to our homestay. We had 30 minutes till we were picked up by Serge, who arrived at exactly the minute he said he would. The train left at exactly the set time of 5.18pm.
We have bought out the whole cabin, i.e. We have paid for 4 beds. There are 4 other Aussies on our carriage. And a lot of young children, so we may not have much sleep.
Still light after 10pm.