Oh You Beautiful Doll!

If you’ve been following along, we took The Ultimate Scandinavia and Russia Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s  Serenade of the Seas.  This is day three of our visit to Russia. ____________________________________________________________

After two very long days of touring, we decided to end our third and final day in St. Petersburg with a lighthearted tour. This four hour tour offered training by the artists who create the hand painted Russian Nesting Dolls, officially known as Matryshka dolls, followed by an authentic Russian Tea Party.

Here is what finished dolls look like. There are six smaller ones tucked inside.

Here is what finished dolls look like. There are six smaller ones tucked inside.

As exciting as this sounds, it wasn’t. I don’t think Marshall will ever let me choose another tour!

When we arrived, we were greeted by a woman in costume passing out vodka. I don’t drink, but I probably could have used some just to get through this. They march us through the biggest gift shop we’ve seen to a room with long tables, paint, brushes and six blank, wooden dolls.

We sat down to the artist who spoke Russian – our tour guide translated and was apparently not familiar with some of the words. There was no demonstration, just someone – who didn’t speak English – coming around to help us with our painting. I start penciling my doll face on the largest one, but then I discovered we have only an hour to finish. Really?  So I go to plan B – just paint the thing! They are using artist quality acrylic paints, so I figure I can do mine when I get home. I keep asking for more paint and the woman keeps trying to tell me something I can’t understand. Finally she returns with water and grabs my brush and mixes my paint with water, presumably so I won’t use more than a drop of the precious stuff.









The brushes were a joke. A child’s paint kit would have contained a better brush. This thing looked like it had spikes and I couldn’t taper it to save my life.

After we were rushed through the painting, we had a full hour and a half to shop! We didn’t want to shop, so we looked around, and then went outside to wait for what we expected to be an ‘authentic Russian Tea Party’. Wrong!

This was a choice of a single cup of pre-made tea or coffee and a chocolate crepe. If this is the way they do tea parties here, I can see why they drink so much vodka!

So for those who have asked, here are our finished ‘dolls’.

Yes, we can hear you laughing!


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