After I arrived in Volgograd (Stalingrad), all of the Russians I talked to said that they’re having an Indian summer and that it is never this warm in autumn. The weather is about 75 degrees in the day and in the sun it feels quite warm. As my hotel is right in the city center, I made my way over to the Grand Café tucked around the side of the Hotel Volgograd. It is just off the main square where the Red Army used to parade during the cold war. I am told that the square is still used for parades and for New Years parties. Daily, and usually on the weekends, it is a spot for wedding parties who go to the nearby parks for photos.
The nearby park houses a massive common grave of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers who perished during the war. Over one million Soviet troops died defending this city from the Nazis.
The Grand Café is a bit like the town Starbucks. The café always seems to be buzzing with activity especially after breakfast, at lunch and at the dinner hour. On Friday and Saturday nights it is quite busy until about midnight. Unlike in the US where the coffee shops are busy after the nightclubs close down, the Grand Café is busy until midnight when the people begin to go to the nightclubs. The discos and nightclubs only really start to fill up by 10pm, are busy by midnight, and nothing slows down until 5am and they finally close down at 6 or 7am. I truly do not know how they do it unless everyone took a long siesta the afternoon before. I spent some time each day at the Grand Café during my 4 day visit to Volgograd studying Russian or sipping coffee with friends that I’ve met.
Crand Cafe: Volgograd
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