Archive for the 'St. Petersburg' Category
The night before we leave St. Petersburg, Elena and her childhood friend, Dula, breathlessly excited, bring home bags and boxes of forest mushrooms. Bob and I haven’t eaten and we hope the noises coming from the kitchen mean we will be invited to join them for a meal.
Finally, Elena knocks on the door saying “10 minutes! 10 minutes…come!” When Elena says “I must go out first, I smell a rat and grab my purse to join her. “I am buying the vodka,” I insist, glad I had my wits about me on this one at least! The four of us sit down to the little table set with her best for a wonderful meal of musky black mushrooms stewed with potatoes and “grass” salad…toasting with Vodka, (Bob with water because he doesn’t like the taste of alcohol) every few minutes. Bob and I gratefully hit the sack, leaving the two to themselves to finish off the bottle late into the night.
Our last night in St. Petersburg, we invite Elena and Dula to their favorite restaurant (an inexpensive one we never would have found ourselves) for Shashlik of beef, pork and lamb, eggplant appetizers, “grass” salad with tomatoes, cheese, olives and cucumbers, “beautiful water with gas from the Caucasus mountains” and more vodka…all the while entertained by a resident karaoke singer singing traditional Russian songs and served by a lovely man who treats us all like extended family.
Afterward we buy Elena a bottle of Tequila and she gives me a knit neck scarf and a Russian nesting doll. Dula gives me a little bag of mushrooms she dried herself. We all hug and reluctantly leave for a midnight overnight train that will arrive at 8am in Moscow.