The Russian winter is cold, dark, depressing and sometimes just downright brutal. Having arrived to Saint Petersburg at the end of January, 2011, my first taste of life in Russia was one of freezing cold temperatures, wet slippery streets and sidewalks, falling “killer” icicles (and ice flying off the roof tops), short days and very little sunshine. It’s no wonder that people from Saint Petersburg break out their bathing suits at the first sight of spring and go sunbathing at the beach by Peter and Paul fortress – snow still on the ground or not.
But then comes the longer days in April and May, and eventually comes the white nights in June, and it’s as if winter really wasn’t such a big deal. One goes from wanting to sleep all the time in winter to not being able to sleep at all in summer – from 11 a.m. sunrise and 4 p.m. sunset in winter to a 4 a.m. sunrise and 1 a.m. “sunset” in summer, which is more like a period of twilight. I remember talking to my landlady’s daughter as the white nights were approaching and she said, during white nights there is no place she would rather be than Saint Petersburg. It really is a magical time – people seem to come out of the woodwork and be out and about until all hours of the night. And then in June is the celebration of “Алые Паруса” – or Scarlett Sails, as shown in this older post of mine.
This past summer, it was so wonderful to be back in Piter for the white nights – it was like being home. Granted, it did make sleep a bit difficult, but it was no matter of concern – just draw the curtains tight and pretend like it’s night!
These photos are from the white nights this past summer. It will give you an idea of how incredibly stellar Saint Petersburg is this time of year. Although I also love the Russian winter and being able to sleep 12 hours if I need, there really is nothing like the white nights. The city comes to life. See for yourself! And please note – I’m pretty sure all these photos were taken between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., just to give you an idea.