It's getting close to Christmas for everyone in the US, but in Russia, December 25th is just another work day. (They celebrate Christmas on January 7 on the Orthodox Church calendar.) The children go to school and parents go to work. Same old, same old. However, they do light up the dark nights with holiday lights.
We walked along the streets in the city center and captured some of the beauty of the lights that cheer everyone during the long winter nights. I'd like to share some of them with you.
Some stores go all out to decorate for the season. On the left is a department store with old-fashioned decorations. Every window portrays a different scene.
Streets are lit up for the shoppers.
Historic buildings have a whole new look to them.
The lights add a feeling of a festival to the city. The main holiday here is New Year's Eve, so that's the festival that they celebrate. (More about that in a later post.)
However, the lights don't make the temperature any warmer!
When we arrived in St. Petersburg in June, we came just in time to experience "белые ночи" or white nights. On June 21, the sunrise was at 3:35 and the sunset at 10:25. In between those times, it doesn't even get totally dark, but is called officially twilight.
We never managed to stay up all night to witness this phenomenon, but we could hear the revelers enjoying their white nights at the bar below our temporary apartment. We did get used to using eye shades to make it possible to sleep through the hours of sunlight before we were supposed to get up.
Now we're at the opposite end of the length of our days. I have been known to get up, eat breakfast, wash dishes, wash clothes, and even bake cookies before the sun rises. You might think that I'm an early bird, but in fact the sun rose at 9:50 today and sets at 3:53.
The picture on the left was taken out our bedroom window at 9:00 in the morning. Nice bright sunny day, right? It's taken us a long time to get …
When we first moved into our flat, the skeleton of the building across from us was dubbed "the Hulk." I thought that name very fitting. I had imagined that right after freedom here in the early 90s someone had purchased the land and started a building. After he ran out of money (remember I'm surmising all of this), someone else purchased the land around the hulk and built up the strips around the hulk into the complex in which we now live.
Now I know that I guessed wrong. I even lost a bet with my hubby and had to buy him a pizza. The Hulk has changed much since July.
We first noticed action over there when we saw men on the roof of the building pushing large bundles over the edge and having them crash on the ground four stories below. I took a picture of it, but don't know if you can see the bundle half way down. We now think that they were pushing insulation over the edge because it had been sitting on the roof in the rain for so long and now ruined (my imaginati…