My favourite places in St Petersburg for…
This may not be the most exciting part of a year abroad, but it is important! My favourite grocery shop turned out to be Azbuka Vkusa, not for everyday shopping (Eurospar and Pyaterochka win for that), but for finding things that cannot be found in regular Russian supermarkets. For instance, Azbuka was the only place I came across prawn cocktail crisps as they have a small selection of imported British goods. They have several locations in St Petersburg, although I would avoid the one on Nevsky Avenue, unless you want to pay £10(!!) for a head of broccoli.
Compared to my hometown in England, St Petersburg seemed to lack the greenery I was used to, so in my hunt for large parks not too far from the city centre but away from the noise, I discovered Shuvalovskiy Park. It’s about an hour from Nevsky Avenue, so definitely doable for a day trip. The park is large and has many interesting features such as a church and an old, abandoned house. The park also has a café and I even came across a friendly cat living on the outskirts of the park! Shuvalovskiy Park is the best place for a peaceful trip away from the city.
My favourite place to go out for drinks in the city is Bloody Mary on Muchnoy Pereulok. The bar has a dark, industrial aesthetic and they sell any cocktail you could think of and then some, all for much lower prices than you’ll find in England. They’re always playing a great mix of English rock, indie and punk music which greatly adds to the fun of the place. Make sure you get a table early because they fill up fast and I recommend their Cosmopolitans.
My favourite place in the city to go for some culture, apart from the obvious Hermitage Museum (which is also a must-go) is the Mikhailovksy Theatre. I went there to watch Swan Lake, the Tchaikovsky ballet. I greatly enjoyed the show and the atmosphere and beauty of the theatre itself. With large, crystal chandeliers and a luxurious bar for pre-, during or post- show drinks, it’s a great place to go out for an evening. I would recommend seeing a Tchaikovsky ballet as they are, of course, part of Russia’s fame!
Doing all of these things and making the most of my time abroad was made much easier financially by the Turing Scheme, it’s definitely worth applying for!