It was finally our last day in Saint Petersburg. Luckily the hotel check out was at noon, so we basically slept until 11 a.m. after the late night at the Neva river. The we packed quickly, checked out, and headed for “breakfast” to Bistro Dekabrist (Бистро Декабрист). The place was recommended in some travel article I spotted and I was eager to try it out. To be honest I was a bit disappointed with the food, but service here was excellent.
After having this very late breakfast we asked the waitress to call us a taxi and we headed back to the hotel or to the Galleria shopping mall across the street as I managed to break all the tights I had with me and had to get new ones. After that we picked up our luggage from the hotel and headed to the main railway station (aka Moscow Station). The idea was to pick up some snacks for the train and take the 15:10 Sapsan train to Moscow. The train station is not big, so it was rather easy to locate the train platform we needed. I had printed tickets with me and the tickets and the passport were checked when boarding the train.
The trip went by rather well. The train was very comfortable and the journey to Moscow takes only four hours. Although you need to pay attention to this when booking the train tickets. There are many departures from Saint Petersburg to Moscow daily, but it is worth to pay a bit extra for the ticket for a faster train. Our tickets cost 2258 rubles (37,65€) per person and we were scheduled to arrive (and did arrive) in Moscow at Oktyabrskaya railway station at 19:15. On the train I was a bit bored and I started checking our tickets and reservations. And it was a good thing that I did. It turned out that I had booked the return journey for Thursday evening and our hotel reservation said that we need to check out on Wednesday. I only assume that I got confused with dates as we were going back and forth with them before making reservations. So we would need to either stay a day longer or to change our return train tickets to leave one day earlier.
I have heard a myriad of stories about the horrible Moscow traffic, so after arrival we headed towards the metro instead of taking the taxi. I headed to the ticket counter and said that I would like to have 10 tokens for the metro. The lady behind the counter gave me a very long look and named a price of 360 rubles (6€), which I paid. She gave me the change and a card, which was valid for 11 trips. That’ll teach me to assume that the system is the same in every city! 😉 We could of course use the same card for two people just by passing the card back, but the amount of people using the metro makes this a bit inconvenient as it slows down the line of people passing through the turnstile, so we decided to get another card as well.
We had booked Mercure Arbat Moscow hotel, which is located just across the street from metro station Smolenskaya. We had some challenges finding it first as the hotel address is Smolenskaya Square 6, but the hotel entrance is from the side street Karmanitskiy pereulok, but we got help from a taxi driver standing nearby, who helped us when he saw that we clearly didn’t know where we were going. 🙂
The hotel itself was really nice and we got a room with windows into the courtyard, so it was very quiet as well. The staff spoke really good English.
We quickly settled in as we were hungry and wanted to get something to eat. Already in the train we selected restaurant Vostochniy kvartal (Восточный квартал) because it was located nearby and it was highly recommended in the Lonely Planet guidebook. Unfortunately we were a bit disappointed. My soup with pelmeni was good, but the lentils soup was tasteless. Also I have tasted much much better plov, so the main dish wasn’t much to rave about. The dish also looked nothing like in the picture and the rice was undercooked. Grilled lamb shashlik was ok. The dinner and a bottle of wine cost 4200 rubles (70€). I was expecting that Moscow food scene would be great. At least as good as in Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately either we had bad luck with choosing restaurants or the food just isn’t that great in Moscow.
For starters we had Chuchvara soup with homemade lamb pelmeni and Merzhmek Chorba lentil puree soup.
For the main course we ordered Chaikhan plov and Afghani-style shashlik served with flatbread.
Another thing was that my birthday was the next day and we wanted to start the day with brunch. The only problem is there is no brunches in Moscow! Don’t get me wrong, you can go to a cafe and order yourself items that would make a brunch, but there is zero brunch buffets. At least I couldn’t manage to find any places online. I found an article online dated in February 2015 where was a list of Moscow hotels offering Sunday brunches, but a call to all of them yielded answers “no, we don’t have brunches, just a regular breakfast”.
So what we did when we returned to our room is we ordered room service for the next morning, so we could have a brunch in our room. My boyfriend also added a comment that if they have sparkling wine, we would like to order two glasses. 🙂