A Sunday well spent

Amol Gokhale
Monday, 9 July 2018

It was probably in May this year that I had not worked on a Sunday. And now in Russia, July 8 was the first Sunday, when although I did some work earlier in the day, I had the evening all to myself.

I didn’t do anything out of the world, I just left my hostel around 4 pm and returned at 10 in the night. For those good six hours, I was randomly walking within one km periphery of my hostel, as if directionally challenged. But undoubtedly, it was one of the best evening walks I’d had in a long time, as St Petersburg proved why it is called the cultural capital of Russia.

It was probably in May this year that I had not worked on a Sunday. And now in Russia, July 8 was the first Sunday, when although I did some work earlier in the day, I had the evening all to myself.

I didn’t do anything out of the world, I just left my hostel around 4 pm and returned at 10 in the night. For those good six hours, I was randomly walking within one km periphery of my hostel, as if directionally challenged. But undoubtedly, it was one of the best evening walks I’d had in a long time, as St Petersburg proved why it is called the cultural capital of Russia.

Here’s a brief description of where I’ve been put up in St Pete, as the locals call it. It’s 22, Nevsky Prospect. You cross the road and you reach Kazan Cathedral. You take a left, again a left and you can reach Savior On The Spilled Blood (Kremlin). Next to that is the Russian Museum, behind that is Summer Field (war memorial of the two World Wars) and St Michael Castle. If you take a right and walk straight, you reach The Palace Bridge and the Hermitage Museum.

And oh, there is Biblioteka, a restaurant, right next to my hostel, which has so far been my favourite. The restaurant is situated in one of the first stone buildings in the city which previously also housed a church, a school, a bookshop about military books. Now it has this three-storied restaurant. Although it is simply referred by that name, its actual name means ‘The library of tastes’ and it fits the description.

From one of the restaurant's window seats, you can have a look at the ever vibrant street, and also hear the crowd cheering the in-house band which is creating magic inside the room. Their delicious food just makes things perfect.

Out on the street, it’s a melange of various art forms -- there are actors posing as various characters, someone is attracting the crowd with their painting skills while graffiti artists are busy showcasing their art using spray paints and fire. The biggest crowd pullers though are music bands. A sizable crowd of around 150-200 gathers around and just listens to the magic the musicians are creating, standing in a circle, with some even dancing to the beats. 

You allow yourself to go with the flow and end up having one of the best Sunday evenings in ages, like I did.

(The writer shares his travel and tour experiences, and also catches the fun and revelry during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.)

Amol Gokhale

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