Today we set off for Catherine Palace, also known as the Summer Palace. Walking up to the black and gold gates, I felt as if I was a guest attending the Romanov tricentennial in the movie Anastasia (one of my new favorite movies). In the morning we spent time walking the grounds of the estate, it was breathtaking. A couple of days ago I was just thinking to myself how sad I was to be missing fall in Boston. I love watching all of the leaves change and then jumping through the sea of gold that fills the campus, but today was the perfect fall day. The air was crisp, the trees swayed with the wind and every so often leaves would fall from the branches.
Catherine the Great is known for having bankrupted Russia during her reign and after walking through only her Summer Home, I see that it was for a very good reason.
A group of us got a little carried away with taking pictures and collecting leaves that we separated from the group and ended up getting left behind. When it was already too late we called them only to learn that they were already at the restaurant for lunch. We had planned to have lunch at Podvorie, a restaurant where President Vladimir Putin had his birthday, one of the best restaurants in the city, so we knew we could not miss it. Thankfully, Kseniya was with us and only because of her beautiful Russian were we able to figure out what public bus to take to get there. On the bus we got stuck in traffic, so rather than panic I began braiding together my leaves for the headpiece I was going to create. We were let off in the middle of a “highway,” looked quick and then chose one direction to sprint towards to try and figure out where the heck we had to go! After a bit of running back and forth we pushed through the doors of the restaurant and were greeted by a bear holding shots of vodka for us to take, how Russian!The restaurant is a magnificent log cabin and the interior is lined with animal furs. We sadly missed the first course but everything we did get to eat was delicious! We had a Golubtsi which is a meat stuffed cabbage roll and for dessert was fruit crepes and vanilla ice cream. When we were getting ready to leave a group of performers began singing and dancing for us and we decided to stay a little longer.After lunch we went back to Catherine Palace to tour the inside of the castle. The inside of the castle was even more stunning than the outside and no words can describe the intricate design and detail put into every room.