Wednesday, June 8, 2011

St Petersburg lost and found: June 8 2011

This morning we met with our friends Inna and young Dasha and proceeded to the Central Railway Museum of St Petersburg. It consists mostly of models, some dating back to the late 19th century. It seems like the museum hasn't changed much in the ~150 years of its existence: Olga remarked "they started making the museum almost before they made the railroads"

Probably the most interesting things are the dioramas you see upon entering the grand staircase - they are built with such interesting forced perspective. It would've been nice if any of the thousands of models trains moved or did anything interactive - but it was neat to see anyway.

The museum is part of the Railway Transport Technological Institute, which is attached to surprisingly nice grounds complete with sunbathers, kids riding bikes, people playing games... future railway construction engineers sure know how to have a good time. Dasha accidentally dropped her ball into the pond - somehow it rolled out of her bag, down a hill, and straight into the water. We hung out for half an hour as it meandered back and forth through the pond, until eventually it turned up on the other side so we could retrieve it.

Soviet-era English language textbook
it's surprisingly progressive - see #7

Stopped by a Soviet-style cafe for eclairs, strudel, moloko cocktail (Soviet milkshake), a nasty Soviet-style instant cappuccino, and some English language practice... The textbook she's using is from 1991, which Olga says means it hadn't been updated since 1891.  Among other things, kids have been taught to use the word "trousers".

Dasha, Natasha, and Inna
play with balloons

Dasha says it was her fate to lose something in the water today, and she must be right, because we were walking along the river and her hat blew right in. Luckily the tourboat operators obliged, so she'll have to find something else to leave in the river.

We roamed around the Sennaya Ploshchad area of the city for a few hours and found a yard where hippies jammed with a Hang (inside-out steel drum) bongos, and mouth-blown Harmonium while we rode the see-saw.

Med (honey beer) and Kvas soup
In the evening, as our group grew in size, we ended up at Teremok Russian fast food restaurant. Among other things, I tried the Kvas Soup - kvas is a nonalcoholic fermented bread-base drink that tastes like a sour carbonated cider - they pour it room temperature into a bowl with cubed ham and scallions and hard boiled eggs - and that's the soup. Very interesting indeed. We stayed for a couple hours playing the shell game using our empty cups and bottle caps. It was a fun day :)

Ira and Katya redefining bottlecaps glasses

1 comment:

The other Olga said...

The railroad museum did have moving trains, it's just they only let people into that part of the museum if you get a tour guide..