St Petersburg on a Voigtlander Bessa R3M

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St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and to me the most beautiful city in the world, in my opinion. It had a strong European influence throughout its history and thus has a very interesting culture. Even the street drinkers here can read a poem and talk about philosophy!

St Petersburg has a lot of rivers and canals, astonishing houses and parks. Here is my short guide how to visit this city in one day.

First you can start with the Summer Garden, which occupies a whole island between the canals Fontanka, Moika and the Swan Canal. It was designed by Czar Peter in 1704. It has plenty of sculptures and fountains. Take a moment in front of the famous monument to the children’s writer Ivan Krylov.

Next you can move to the Nevskiy prospect, on your way you will pass the Church of the Savior on Blood, Field of Mars, St Michael’s Castle, also called the Mikhailovsky Castle or the Engineers’ Castle. Nearby you can buy a matrioshka doll or a Russian winter fur hat. However, you should know that no one in Russia wears them before you part with your money.

Don’t miss the Pyshechnaya on Bolshaya Konyushechnaya! It’s the ultimate cheap, quick and easy snack joint. Pyshki are a legendary snack from the Soviet times. Take 10 pyshki and a coffee.

Next you can go to Petrogradskaya District, and on your way you will see the Hermitage Museum. It is one of the largest and oldest art galleries in the world. If you want to go inside, it’s better to buy a ticket online, then you can avoid the queue.

 

For more cultural experiences go to the Mariinskiy theatre. It is home to the Mariinsky Ballet, the Mariinsky Opera and Mariinsky Orchestra. Also you can visit Mikhaylovskiy theatre. The theatre season starts in September, so it’s better not to plan a journey to St Petersburg in the summer, otherwise you won’t get to see the best shows.

If you want to see more Soviet places, there is a market near Gorkovskaya station. Here people sell all kinds of stuff: fruit, second-hand clothes, everything for the household and so on. If you take a walk at Petrogradskaya, try to get inside the courtyards, maybe you can see a typical narrow ‘well’ courtyard.

Don’t forget to visit Krestovskiy island, it has several gorgeous parks, an amusement park, and access to the beach – the Gulf of Finland is right here.

And while you are on your day trip, beware of the old Russian cars – Zhiguli (or Lada). Some of the drivers mistake them for racing cars and aren’t very careful about which direction they’re heading.

I used a Voigtlander Bessa R3m with a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm 1.4 lens for these pictures. This is my favourite 35mm film rangefinder camera. I like its design and the quality. I like the way it handles in my hands and I’m not afraid that it can break suddenly. It’s absolutely mechanical, except of the build-in metering system. It also has a film reminder window, for me it’s a very important feature, because I have several cameras and sometimes I just forget what film is inside.

 * You can see more of Daria’s pictures on her Instagram

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