We knew it would be getting cold but were surprised by how early and quickly it’s turned frigid. The plan was to buy warm stuff as we needed it. But we expected this to be in Mongolia or maybe China – where things would be pretty cheap. But if what we had wasn’t keeping us warm now, it won’t do much good once we get on the train to Siberia. So we spent an afternoon shopping around downtown trying to find something reasonably priced. This was the equivalent of walking around Rodeo Drive looking for Target prices. So we did some research and found a big shopping mall about 45 minutes north of the city that had over 200 stores. The next day we took the metro to a stop near the end of the line that had a free shuttle bus to the mall.
We looked in a few stores but things were still too expensive. Then we saw it: Awah. Which must be Russian for “Costco”. It was a huge warehouse with everything you could want and everyone already shopping for it. We got a shopping cart and went all around the aisles finding some cheap jackets, scarves and food for the upcoming train trips. For two good (Russian-looking) coats, a scarf, a hat, some collared shirts, a pair of gloves and a good amount of food, we spent a little over $200. Before exiting the mall we put the jackets on then hopped the shuttle bus back to the metro. We were finally warm. And I can honestly say we also look a little more fashionable (read: Russian) while walking the streets of St Petersburg.