True happiness or the hottest trip of my life

by Milana Smolentseva

“St. Petersburg was described so far ago, and what’s not described should be seen by yourself”, Ivan Goncharov said.

Maybe it is. However, with every description of this city, you find some new shades of the unforgettable flavor of the northern capital.

My way started with a really hot atmosphere: we were late for the train and it was boiling hot in Moscow, I felt every single gram of my bags though almost everything was carried not by me. We kept running without looking around and didn't even stumble (for me it’s a great achievement). Luckily, we found our carriage fast and the first trip together started.

Chinese Wonderland

Four days, two people and only one fabulous city – nothing more is needed. On the last day, when all our excursions plans almost came true, we could relax and act as we wanted. It is about 1 p.m. After a long lazy lying on the bed and even longer getting ready to go out, we decided to eat something. We didn’t have a strict itinerary, just moved towards something special. On Ligovsky Avenue a very pesky girl with a smile from ear to ear (like a Cheshire cat) started begging us to visit a Chinese tea tasting. Actually, this girl scared me because she looked a little insane (or maybe too active) and she asked us to go to an empty backstreet to the basement. “We’re in a hurry,” I said but my trouble-free boyfriend didn’t play along with me, so we went there. Fortunately, there were natural Chinese drinks and a cozy tea shop inside. The boyfriend was satisfied, me too (I didn’t try it, after all, you know, God saves man, who saves himself).

ATTENTION: getting fresh information from my groupmate, I’ve known that there are a lot of so-called tea shops’ lures in St.Petersburg. The groupmate’s friends were cheated for money in one of these shops, so be careful and keep your wallets!

Lucky find

Then we found a strange turn to a narrow hidden art street. It’s a colorful bright bystreet where in the daytime you can buy some cool things: T-shirts, souvenirs, strange socks with funny pics and letterings. And in the evening it's a modern stylish space destined to become the background of your Instagram photos. By the way, there are special photo booths where you can take photocards with the project logo on them. In this very place, you’ll find an entrance with a staircase, leading forward to the loft-project “The floors”. It’s a specially equipped observation deck on the roof and floors with art space for different cultural programs, artists’ exhibitions, festivals and concerts.

Here you can find project posters with upcoming events:

Photo from @loftprojectetagi

My first time

Our eyes were satiated with beautiful views of the city but our stomachs were still empty. To be honest, I’m a terrible sweet tooth - I wanted something dulcet. Volchek's bakery was right on the way. There are 91 of these bakeries in St.Petersburg. It was my first time in this warm cozy place, where every centimeter is saturated with the smell of fresh pastry, where every pie, cake, bun, and bread is tempting you to buy everything. My favorite one was “smetannik”. When I had a bit of that, I hopelessly fell for it though it was very dangerous love (I have an allergy). It is perfectly balanced: not too treacle but honeyed enough, with delicate velvet biscuit. Apart from all these things, it's pretty inexpensive there, which is why it makes this place more attractive for students. When we were going to leave the city, this bakery was visited twice on the same day. Now I’m going to come back to St. Petersburg again and again at least for the sake of this bakery.

Following the link below, you’ll find all bakeries’ addresses:

Photo from @bakery_volcheka

Can't stay dry

About 3 p.m. We sailed on a motor ship from the pier of Neva. About half an hour – and we got into a fairytale. Museum-reserve “Peterhof” caused a childish delight even in a brutal and stern man. Baroque, rococo and classicism combination of majestic palaces locked the spirit. I felt a strong desire to open my eyes as wide as possible. The sky was clear blue, it was reflected in the Gulf of Finland. There was pleasurable heat: the sunbeams gently touched our bodies and caressed us like mother’s hand. In a word, the atmosphere foreshadowed something unforgettable.

The entire park of Peterhof is filled with a miraculous ensemble of fountains. A huge variety of them is decorated with gilded or marble sculptures, some of which are based on Greek myths and take us to the ancient world. Museum construction started in 1714 but the composition was replenished until the 20th century.

We tried to have time to see everything. Walking through the parking zone, we met a squirrel which put nuts by her large, fed cheeks. It stopped our movement for some time while the surroundings continued to amaze us with their juicy greenery, artificial rivers, and nature in general.

There are six palaces on the territory of Peterhof. If you think that it’s enough to see only one of them, you’ll make a huge mistake because all of them are unique.

There you can find:

  • Great Peterhof Palace

  • Marly Palace

Photo from

  • Monplaisir Palace

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  • Palace Cottage

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  • Palace Belvedere

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  • Farm palace

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All these masterpieces were created in different eras, their style rather different, which is why it’s better to see all of them.

When the heat stopped to be as pleasant as it was at the beginning, I decided to wet my feet near a large fountain. Its flow watered the square around. Jet fountains were also installed on the sides of the nearby benches; they were hidden and turned on rarely. I tried to wait until it finished its work to keep my clothes dry. Suddenly, when I came closer, it turned on again. I was all wet but happy: I didn’t feel heat any further. Later I found out that people control these fountains, called “Shutihi”. Thus, no matter how you try to guess the shutdown time, you won’t get through dry because of a tricky controller.

Fairytale gone bad

Looking around and enjoying the architecture, we didn’t notice how we went too far from the pier. Almost no time left before the last motor ship would leave for the Neva, so…we ran again. Very fast. On the way, we managed to laugh and take some photos and be on time. It was the happiest moment of my life but every fairytale has an end. However, every ending means a new beginning. Sailing away from Peterhof only one thought came to my mind “I hope I’ll be back here soon”.