Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sept 29 2012 - Rambling around St Petersburg

Today was probably the most fun so far in St Petersburg, and we didn't even have any beer! Olga's brother Kostya and his girlfriend Danya came in from Moscow on the train and we planned a whole day of unplanned events. Roaming around the city without an agenda was really fun. Even though Kostya lives in Moscow, he knows every new business that's about to open in St Petersburg, so we wandered around downtown, occasionally popping into a new bookstore or cafe or wandering down a street undergoing major hipster change.

ECTO-1 in St Petersburg?!

Kostya and Danya - cute couple!!
Having continuously protested revisiting the Hermitage museum since a torturous visit circa 2001, democracy won out and the group headed to the Hermitage, with the explicit promise that we visit only the special exhibition but none of the permanent collections.  The exhibit on the art and architecture of Santiago Calatrava was surprisingly good. Just because it's in the most daunting, stuffy, and bureaucratic of museums doesn't make its exhibits any less compelling (much to my surprise). The most interesting feature of his architecture is that he is inspired by the form of birds, so often some component of the building (roof, deck, etc) opens and closes based like the wings on a bird. Often though, his projects are *too amazing* and end up getting scaled back due to budgeting (such as the plan for the new WTC PATH train station with an opening roof) or cancelled entirely for being too controversial (such as the St. John the Divine cathedral in NYC).

Horsing around the Hermitage

Paying to cook our own dinner :)

The four of us ended up at Long Tail restaurant for dinner. With three of us being vegetarians, it wasn't a hard decision to order the five veggie items on the menu to share. After a long wait, they brought out raw ingredients, a hot stone, and we cooked the food ourselves - sort of a mini Mongolian bbq at the table. It's a cute concept, but the novelty wore off quickly when we had to wait, do the work ourselves, and pay a premium for the benefit.


As some of you know, a short story Olga wrote was made into a short film by director Vitaly Saltykov. Olga and Vitaly were interviewed by the main news/television station in St Petersburg (NTV), which was cool to watch. I'm super proud of her and glad to be involved! Olga held her own in the interview, she seemed really happy with how she handled it. We'll have to see how it comes together, the broadcast is scheduled for Wednesday night!


Karen the first said...

Great! What day would that be on the East Coast? ;)

Dave Grenetz said...

It'll be on tv in St Petersburg on Wednesday 6:30pm... Which would be Wed 10:30am Eastern... So maybe it'll hit the web after that? Will post a link if we can find it... Will be in Russian though :)

Sara Gift said...

I am really enjoying reading about your travels! The only problem is that I always need to make myself a snack that is never quite as delicious as the gorgeous food you are eating :)

Dave Grenetz said...

Thanks Sara... what was your favorite meal from this trip? :)