OR AU REVOIR Санкт-Петербург JE TAIME!!
The State Russian Museum is the world’s largest collection of Russian art, housed in a unique architectural complex in the historical centre of St Petersburg. This is my last day here and I have a big snowy hike ahead of me.
I walked to half of them which was quite a feat and possibly unwise seeing as I’m off to Moscow tomorrow!
Today, the area of the museum complex is more than 30 hectares. The collection is accommodated in buildings that are outstanding monuments of the XVIII-XIX century architecture: Mikhailovsky, Stroganov, Marble Palaces, and Mikhailovsky Castle. Mikhailovsky Garden, Summer Garden and Peter I’s Summer Palace as well as Cabin of Peter the Great are also part of the museum complex. The museum collection contains over 400 000 exhibits covering all major periods and trends in the history of Russian art, all main types and genres, trends and schools of Russian art over more than a thousand years: from the X to the XXI century.
First I hit the Stroganov Palace on the Moika River, then St Mikhails Castle, Mikhailovsky Palace, (now the Russian State Museum) and the Marble Palace, I went past the Church of the Spilled Blood or the onion church as I know it (yes, yes I’m a Philistine) and the Marble museum.
THIS IS WHERE THE ENDURANCE COMES INTO PLAY AND MY VISITS TO THE GYM PAID OFF. ALONE AND STUBBORN I BIT OFF MORE THAN I COULD CHEW DAMMIT BUT WOULDN’T GIVE IN. I REALLY SHOULD HAVE DONE LESS BUT DIDN’T TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HOW BLOODY BIG THESE MUSEUMS ARE. I WAS STRIDING ACROSS PALACE GARDENS IN THE NEAR DARK ON MY WAY TO MY FINAL DESTINATION MUTTERING ” IT’LL BE OK, JUST ACROSS THIS EXPANSE OF SNOW AND I’LL BE THERE” EVERYTHING LOOKS CLOSER IN THE SNOW AND AT DUSK. I MADE IT BUT HADN’T REALISED THAT THIS ADDITION TO MY DAY WOULD NEARLY KILL ME OFF. ALTHOUGH THE MARBLE PALACE WAS MAGNIFICENT IT THREW ME A CURVE BALL AS I TURNED A CORNER THINKING I WAS LEAVING ONLY TO HAVE A WONDERFUL EXHIBITION OF MODERN ART COME INTO VIEW. YOU CULTURE VULTURES MUST KNOW, IT WAS NOT TO BE LEFT OUT. SO FORGIVE ME LEAVING OUT SOME BITS BECAUSE IT ALL BECAME RATHER A BLUR AND OVER INDULGENCE, SO HERE WE GO…..
This is a massive mission following hot on the heels of yesterdays Hermitage visit but only have a short time here. The walk up Nevsky Prospekt, so exciting in the snow as I hadn’t been away from the river up til now. Shops and regular people up here after my last three days being only by the river Neva. Now I crossed smaller bridges and the Moika River and things became a little less opulent.
On arriving at the palace I went up the usual grand staircase after looking at a display of recently discovered artefacts that had been in the rubble when rebuilding the palace after it being bombed in WW2 which were very touching and personal, look out for them on your visit.
I loved it here so much and there was only a handful of people there so it was very atmospheric. Next I went past Savior on the Spilled Blood which has a lot of restoration happening so went on to the charming Stone museum which is free which is always handy!
The above is from the Moscow Times but I add a more modest recipe that I like to think the count would have been more likely to have eaten!
BEEF STROGANOFF IN A GIFT TO YOUNG HOUSEWIVES
TWO HOURS BEFORE SERVING, CUT A TENDER PIECE OF RAW BEEF INTO SMALL CUBES AND SPRINKLE WITH SALT AND SOME ALLSPICE. BEFORE DINNER, MIX TOGETHER 1⁄16 LB (POLOS’MUSHKA) BUTTER AND 1 SPOON FLOUR, FRY LIGHTLY, AND DILUTE WITH 2 GLASSES BOUILLON, 1 TEASPOON OF PREPARED SAREPTSKAJA MUSTARD, AND A LITTLE PEPPER. MIX, BRING TO A BOIL, AND STRAIN. ADD 2 TABLESPOONS VERY FRESH SOUR CREAM BEFORE SERVING. THEN FRY THE BEEF IN BUTTER, ADD IT TO THE SAUCE, BRING ONCE TO A BOIL, AND SERVE.
2 LBS TENDER BEEF
1⁄4 LB BUTTER
2 SPOONS FLOUR
2 TABLESPOONS SOUR CREAM
1 TEASPOON SAREPTSKAJA MUSTARD
RECIPE TRANSLATION FROM JOYCE TOOMRE, ED., CLASSIC RUSSIAN COOKING: ELENA MOLOKHOVETS’ A GIFT TO YOUNG HOUSEWIVES (BLOOMINGTON: UNIVERSITY OF INDIANA PRESS, 1998), 213–14.
WHAT I MISSED AND WILL GO TO NEXT TIME…..
Off to Moscow tomorrow but am so sad to leave this wonderful place, it’s historical drama, its opulence it’s art and beauty, and of course, it’s years of struggle and hardship. You old birds have to come here and try to do it in winter like me. It’s magnificent and practically tourist free . I missed the Faberge museum and Katherines summer palace but as Arnold Schwarzenegger says “I’ll be back!”
OVER AND OUT FROM REBECCA THE COSSACK
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