Saint Petersburg Local Custom Tips by Canadienne Top 5 Page for this destination
Saint Petersburg Local Customs: 155 reviews and 145 photos
So much of our pre-visit images of Russia were connected to communism and state-controlled lives. . .but a stay in St. Petersburg today dispells much of that.
Reminders remain ~ the kassa system of paying, then picking up your purchase, remains in a few stores; the aged beggars, victims of inadequate pensions and government assistance; this photographed scene, a flashback to another era (the hammer & sickle are actually on a vodka ad).
Today, to the traveler at least, St. Petersburg is a modern-day peer to other European capitals (current or former) ~ fashion and materialism reign among the young; all consumer goods can be bought (as long as you can pay the price); and the city's attitude is supremely self-confident.
Horse & Carriage, Nab. Kanala Griboedova
We weren't able to figure out who the invitees for this event were ~ they had nametags, but we weren't close enough to read them.
Throughout the city, there were finishing touches being put on everything (renovations, paint jobs, etc.). Excitement and anticipation were palpable. . .as was a sense of panic to make sure everything was finished in time. ;-)
The whole week was to be filled with parades, perfomances, special exhibits and festivals ~ we were pleased to be leaving before the city filled up with people though.
En Route to Church on Spilled Blood
Although official celebrations were held from May 24 through June 1, a week or two after our visit, there were still a number of events going on as a lead-in to the festivities.
On our second-to-last day in the city, we witnessed the beginning of this procession from the Grand Hotel Europe to the square to the east of the Church on Spilled Blood. There were horses and carriages, men and women in period costumes. . .and music to greet them next to the church. It was a private entry event (the section near the church was cordoned off), but the parade was open for viewing.
Bird Statue, Panteleimon Bridge
Russian superstitions run the gamut from rules about the number of flowers to give (always odd) to not whistling indoors. . .
There were plenty of little spots around the city that demonstrated an interest in luck and superstition ~ this bird statue located in the corner of Panteleimon Most attracted crowds to try their luck at landing a coin on its platform.
Bunny on Ioannovskiy Most
Having read before leaving on this trip that Russians held a lot of superstitions close to heart, we weren't surprised to come across several spots in St. Petersburg similar to this one. . .
This bunny is located next to Ioannovskiy Most, one of two bridges that crosses over to Peter & Paul Fortress. Both during our entrance and exit from the fort, people were gathered near the edge of the bridge, trying their luck at landing a coin on the bunny's platform. You can see in enlargement that a few were successful. . .I'm not among them. . . :-)
Painting the Church on Spilled Blood
The areas around tourist sights always seem to attract artists ~ a mix of works in progress and finished creations for display/sale.
The gentleman in this photo was positioned on one of the bridges on the Kanal Griboedova, working on a painting of the Church on Spilled Blood. There was a group of children (it seemed to grow by the minute) gathered around him, and he involved them in each step of his work ~ asking for colour choices, having them take measurements with him. . .it was a fantastic scene.
According to our driver (for a city tour on our first day), Lada means “lovely darling" and at least 10 million Russians own one. It is Russia's most beloved (and maligned) car, and has been for over thirty years. It’s as identifiable a part of the culture as the fur hats or vodka.
Not the prettiest of vehicles, the car is the subject of jokes and insults ~ but it holds its own on the brutal Russian roads. There’s even an SUV Lada that has a bit of a cult following overseas (in my own country, among others). . .
Our experience as solo travelers in St. Petersburg (and Moscow) was that we were among the minority ~ we saw many tour groups (Russian, Italian, Spanish, were prominent), but ran into few individuals.
Favouritism was definitely shown to groups ~ if a group came into a room, we were sometimes ushered out (this happened about three or four times at different locations). Despite this, being on our own had distinct advantages ~ your time and schedule is your own and you have better chance to interact with people outside your group. Besides. . .who really needs 15 other people to admire a painting. . . :-)
Ice Cream Carts, Nevsky Prospekt
Ice cream is a favourite in both St. Petersburg and Moscow ~ stands can be found on almost every street, as well as in department stores and other less-expected locations.
From early in the morning (a meal replacement for some, perhaps) through evening, you'll see kids, business people, soldiers and any other "type" of person with an ice cream cone or treat in hand. Picking up this local custom is the perfect key to blending in to the Russian population. . . ;-)
Sunbathing at P&P Fortress
The exterior wall of Peter & Paul Fortress (there is a veritable beach, but it isn't the only popular location) draws sun-worshippers from early days of spring. We visited in early to mid May and the section was already populated with people enjoying the warm temperatures and strong sunlight (daylight hours are extended).
Sitting, standing, leaning against the wall. . .anyting goes with the object getting some colour and some vitamin D in mind.
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