“Hero-City” banner of the airport welcomes the travelers as they arrive to St. Petersburg, Russia. Why Hero-City? St. Petersburg survived 900 days of blockade from German Nazi forces during World War II. We came specifically during the summer of 2011 so that we would not miss the White Nights. During late May through June, St. Petersburg’s nights never grow dark. It is light during the whole day and the whole night. It is so amazing! Sometimes I would wake up around four or five o’clock in the morning and the sun would be beaming through the windows as if it was nine o’clock in the morning. The best way to spend the White Nights outside is to stroll along the numerous bridges and canals built throughout the city. St. Petersburg was built on several rivers and swamps. That is why St. Petersburg is sometimes referred to as the Northern Venice.
My family and I used to live in the glorious St. Petersburg. The city brings our whole family together. The glory lies within the exceptional architecture, beautiful opera and ballet, and astonishing artworks. St. Petersburg never fails to amaze me with its cultural aspects. The first few days, we walked around Nevskiy Prospect where most of the museums and parks are located. Nevskiy Prospect is very easy to access if you take the metro. The metro is tourist-friendly because all of the names are written in Russian and English. Tip to travelers: always move quickly when in the metro because people are always moving fast to get to places. If you have a need to stop, move to the side so people do not trample on you.
When we exited the metro, the first thing that had struck me was the smell. The air was so sweet and chocolaty, you could eat it! “Cever” happens to be a factory and store. “Cever” only operates in St. Petersburg and it produces one of a kind candy and other sweet goods. You must try the little chocolate cake called “Kartoshka."
My family and I went to listen to fortepiano concert at one of the concert halls of St. Petersburg. I was so lucky to hear the concert of Rachmaninoff, a famous Russian forte piano composer, since it was one of last and best concerts of the summer. I received a wonderful experience of live classical music. Disks can never compare to live music, especially music coming from the fingers of St. Petersburg maestro.
The next stop was to stroll around the beautiful square and gaze at the residence of the Russian czars, Zimniy Dvorec. The magnificence of the palace is indescribable. It is enormous in size but so beautiful and captivating. The outside walls are all painted sea-green paint. Majestic statues from Greek mythology grace at the top of the roof of the palace. The sight is breathtaking. The Hermitage is now a museum in Zimniy Dvorec and contains vast amounts of artworks from artists around the world. It takes at least two days to view the whole entire art collection. Tickets and tour guides can be purchased at the entrance of the Hermitage. We also visited the Russian Museum of Art. This particular museum contains art works of Russian artists only. The Russian Museum is a picture of elegance with its lovely yellow walls gracing in the middle of a small park.
Before we left, we saw the Dvorcoviye Bridge open up during the evening. The bridge lights played in the purple colored sky as the bridge opened. This is was a very rewarding trip.
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