No breakfast today, we were off to an early start. As our destination was outside of the city centre, we couldn’t get there by walking, as we had for the past few days – in fact, we were worried our 10-trip metro pass wouldn’t pay off (it did in the end, just barely). Waiting opposite the metro station were actually a lot more of the cutely and aptly named marshrutka minibusses going to Tsarkoye Selo/Pushkin than the estate’s website had indicated. Travelling during the low season certainly has its merits, as we didn’t face any queues or tour groups at all once we got there. It was snowing heavily, though, and once again my camera temporarily turned its back on me. Got a sneaky pic of the famed amber room nevertheless.
The adjacent Imperial Lyceum is basically a boarding school converted into a worship place for Alexander Pushkin. The tour (in Russian) we attended educated us on his grades (not so good), room (tiny), handwriting (unintelligible) and work (awesome). But it was rather interesting to see how the elite of that time was groomed. We took the long way home, in the shape of a local bus stopping every 2 minutes or so. Much cheaper than marshrutka+metra, even though some grannies struck up a chat about prices going up all the time.
After that trip, we took a stroll down the memory lane at the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines, one of our personal highlights on this trip. Remember to try the Kvas (fermented lemonade) from the vending machine – yes, it really works still.
We enjoyed a varied Azerbaidjan-style dinner at Baku – a little garishly decorated, but with very attentive service. In short, the perfect venue to watch drunken Russians celebrate with the extended family. Couldn’t get meet-free plov (no surprise, it does take a while to cook, so they can’t handle certain dietary requirements), but the other dishes were quite nice. Just as we were about to leave, a belly dancer graced the stage with a Shamadan (candle holder) on her head.