Tuesday, 5 June 2018


Bright days

White nights

I'm back from a brief visit to St. Petersburg a.k.a. Leningrad a.k.a. Petrograd. I took a lot of pictures, most of which are disappointingly bad. There's nothing quite like being somewhere new and exciting to reduce your photographic skills to those of the average tourist. Oh, well. I will be sharing some of the better ones, and the profound insights into Russia, Russians, and Russian-ness that only a long weekend can bring, over the next few days.

In the meantime, if you've ever wondered why places like St. Petersburg (not to mention Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg and a dozen other watery contenders) are referred to as "The Venice of the North", I have discovered it has nothing to do with canals or architecture. No, this is why:

I have rarely seen so many tourists. Indeed, the Hermitage exceeds even the Uffizi or the Louvre for its relentless tidal flow of humanity, bent on ticking off some cultural highlights. If you want to know where the Leonardo is, just let the crowd carry you there.


Gavin McL said...

I traveled once to St Petersberg with work - we were visiting a pipeline landfall further round the Gulf of Finland, past Vyborg (now that's a rundown place) nearly at the Finnish border but spent an afternoon in the city before flying home. I didn't have enough time to visit the museums and palaces but managed to wander past the Winter Palace, the Cathedral and look out over to the Peter and Paul fortress and that church with the incredible spire. It was October and the first slushy snow had just fallen - The city seemed empty, very few tourists, very drab and rundown - my pictures all had a rather grey tone.

Mike C. said...


It is of course a lot further north than it might seem, and summer (and the famous "white nights") only lasts a very short time. They seem to make the most of it!

Funnily enough, I was chatting to our Asian corner-shop owner, and said I'd just come back from St.Petersburg, and was amazed when he said, Oh yes, been there loads of times! Turns out he used to work on a ship in the Baltic...