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Russia Travel Blog

…or A Waiter, Some Vodka, and a Sausage!

Russia AZ Challenge.

It’s been a few years since I traveled in Russia, but it’s the only “R” I could come up with, can you believe that?  At any rate, this story takes place in Leningrad.  What, there’s no such place in Russia?  You’re right.  That’s how old this story is; when I was there St. Petersburg was called Leningrad.

My sister and I went there on a tour, because in 1987 that was really the only way to see Russia.  It was November, and quite cold, but those wily Russians have just the cure for the cold, and it’s called Vodka.

Never one to stick to tours, especially ones dictated by the government, I paid close attention to my visa.  It said I could go anywhere in the two cities listed, Moscow and Leningrad, as long as I didn’t venture past the 10 kilometer point.  Easy.

One evening, we planned to eat dinner somewhere the tour wasn’t.  We found a restaurant and had a great time.  Our waiter’s name was Vasily.  He spoke some English and was thrilled to death to be serving us.  He came over frequently just to chat and asked us to wait until he was off so he could show us his apartment.  Anybody who knows me realizes I was not about to pass up this opportunity.

After his shift, a few of his friends met us all in the alleyway behind the restaurant.  They had “starka” vodka, a brownish variety, and a big sausage.  Right there we proceeded to take a swig, directly from the bottle, and chase it with a bit of sausage.  I felt I must be on candid camera, because I had only seen scenes like this in spy movies.  Don’ t worry, even then, in my 20s I did not drink much, but, as always, I loved the experience!

From there, Vasily took us to his apartment that he shared with three families.  He had one room, and they all shared the bathroom and kitchen facilities.  In hushed voices we talked well into the night.  It was so late when we were ready to head back to our hotel that the bridges had been drawn up, and the only vehicles on the street were the militia.  Again a little scary, but nothing happened and all turned out well.

Needless to say that it’s time to give Russia another try.  I’m pretty sure that in the last 27 years, things have changed dramatically.

Have you ever been to Russia?  What did you think?

TuiSnider

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

What a great adventure! A bit scary, but you lived to tell the tale. :D

~Tui Snider~ @TuiSnider on Twitter My blog: Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

Tui, It really wasn't that scary, just very different!

sandy

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

Oh my...as a mother of a daughter I couldn't help but say oh my, you're going to an apartment of a male you don't know in a strange country. You don't know how you'll get back to your hotel and you're drinking after people you don't know...oh my oh my ohmy. That's how people disappear, get killed, get raped....not a wise decision in my opinion and probably almost any mother or father you'd ask. But, here you are later telling this story. I would not have left the tour group. Said it before, enjoying traveling through you...but No way would I have done what you did, lol. By the way, how old are you? Being over 60 myself I'm sure has alot to do with how we view these dangerous things you do in different eyes. Did the militia stop you, question you?

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

Sandy, I was with a male friend of mine, so I wasn't too worried about some of those issues. I'm 51, getting up there. The militia did not stop me, but for me that was the scariest part of the whole night!

Corinne Vail

Monday 21st of April 2014

Lila, I know what you mean, but I hope you keep coming back anyway!

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

Lila, Thank you. You are such a traveler yourself and I love reading your food posts!

http://www.contentedtraveller.com

Monday 21st of April 2014

Great story, I think that you will see a lot of similarities and a lot of differences.

Corinne Vail

Monday 21st of April 2014

Paula, I think so, too. Jim hasn't been and neither have my daughters, so we're planning a trip soonish!

Corinne Vail

Monday 21st of April 2014

Julia, Exactly, and for me even though the people are the best part about travel, sometimes it is hard to meet them.