Our guide pointed to a sign she said we would see often, "ресторан." The p is a "r" sound, e as in "e", c as in "s", t as in "t", h as in "n". So "restoran" is "restaurant." Voila!
Soon we had learned the phonetic equivalent to each Cyrillic letter and were pronouncing the word, often the pronunciation leading one to a Getman or Latin or Greek familiarity. From there simple memorization starting setting in and all of a sudden, one realizes they are reading and understanding basic signage.
At a train station we saw the station name on s sign and quickly transposed our newly learned skill to utter the correct name of the town. It was only after we had congratulated ourselves that we realized it was transposed into Riman characters for us below the Cyrillic. We have become so proficient (?) that we are blocking out the Western translations. LOL.
Having a conversation is of course a "bit" more challenging. But then that is a whole additional blog entry in itself.