Watching the Bridges go up
From May to November St Petersburg gets split in half every night as each of the 13 bridges that cross the Neva are raised to let large ships pass into the Baltic sea. Mostly an irritation to the locals, they do not appreciate how amazing the sight is to see. If you have the stamina to stay up one night and see it for yourself we suggest that you head down to Lieutenant Schmidt and watch them go up one by one in a northwards direction:
Dvorstovy (Hermitage) 1:35—2:55
Lieutenant Schmidt (in fornt of the Broze Horseman) 1:40—4:55
Then Troitsky (just past Peter & Paul Fortress) 1:50—4:50 & Liteny 1:50—4:40
Midnight walk during White Nights
For most of June and July there is daylight well into the late and very late night. Everyone is good natured as winters are so long, and like many things in Russia daylight hours are feast or famine in Russia – with feasting in the summer. You may even want to ask your hotel to arrange a packed supper and head to any square or park or the summer gardens and enjoy the depth of the northern sky with a late evening stroll and picnic.
Visit to a Local market
Nuts and dried fruit from the Caucuses, local yoghurt and delicious honey all under one roof. You can try before you buy and can virtually have a meal just tasting everything. A bargain for visitors, but sadly now fresh fruit and vegetables are becoming out of reach for many locals. A real experience for some local colour.
Experience a Orthodox Church Service
Either at Alexander Nevsky Lavra (daily at 10.00) or St Nicholas cathedral on Rimsky Korsakov street. Russians are extremely devout and experiencing just a few moments of a service is very moving. It also highlights the strength of belief and explains why the Bolsheviks were afraid of the power of the church. Fascinating.
In a city where the siege and WWII is often overlooked in favour of it’s imperial past the monument to the heroic defenders of Leningrad is essential for visitors to understand the recent past of the city with four names.