To show your appreciation for dinner in the home of a local family, it is appropriate (not required) to bring a small token of friendship for the hosts such as postcards or a picture book from your home town; T-shirts or baseball caps from your local university or sports team; nice chocolates or a bottle of wine.
We will continue exploring St. Petersburg with another full day field trip. We begin with a visit to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which took 40 years to complete. The cathedral is bursting with sculptures, frescoes, stained glass works and woodcarvings. Next, the Yusupov Palace looks ordinary from the outside, but its interior is exquisite, with a marble staircase, crystal chandeliers, gilded candelabras and magnificently painted ceilings. It was here that the plot against the sinister Rasputin came to fruition.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Pay a visit to the Church of the Savior on the Blood, built on the spot where Czar Alexander II was felled by a bomb in 1881. His son and successor, Alexander III, commissioned the church in the style of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. We will pay our respects at Piskarev Memorial Cemetery. Interred in great mounds marked only by the year of death, the graves of over half a million Leningraders in Piskarev tell the story of the 900-day siege. Next, we will travel by motorcoach to experience Russian dacha life. A dacha is a city-dweller’s house in the country and can vary from a summer cabin with no running water to a fine home suitable for living year-round. But it is more than that. Going to the dacha for the summer or over weekends has important cultural significance and underscores Russians’ love of the land, nature, and family. We will see artist Ilya Repin's estate, poet Anna Akhmatova's "booth," and the estate of Prime Minister Medvedev's parents.
At the dacha of our St. Petersburg host, we’ll enjoy a family-style dinner of traditional favorites, toasting friends old and new. A shot of vodka, as well as juice, coffee, tea, and water are included.
We will return to our hotel late tonight.