A Swiss in Petersburg: Дождемся or do we wait to get anything?

A loft in the south of Petersburg

Рарк в небе or a park in the sky, this is what этажи лофтрроект (etaji loftprojekt) promises. There are also galleries and an exhibition of Dutch artists. Larissa and her friend Marina want to meet there and take me with them.

Dutch art in the dark

In the loft we find the exhibition “Shadow Boxing”. It turns out be not “shadow” boxing, but boxing in the dark. We get small flash lights and dive into a totally dark room. We set out with our flash lights to uncover what might be there. We find large pictures, one showing Adam (he is black and strong) and Eva (she is white and fragile). what might this mean? The white race dying out? The pictures look threatening and are hard to decipher. There are also sculptures, one of them a wooden roof and a dead body hanging over it, with his brush still in his hands. Hm… Larissa and Marina mumble about Dutch humor and that Petersburg has a special relationship with the Netherlands. Right, since Peter the Great.


Now we are hungry. There is a terrasse with tables made from cable reels. We order some drinks, spaghetti, salad and okroschka. We wait for half an hour, then we receive our drinks. We wait for another hour, and then receive spaghetti… there is no okroschka left. in Russian дождемся means to wait until the very end and then get something. Well, I waited and did not get anything. This is less than “дождемся”. Larissa and Marina shared their Spaghetti with me, how kind.


The park in the sky – парк в небе

But, where is the park in the sky? We see people on the roof of this loft building.  We find a cashier, who makes us pay and sign a document. We find a balcony, and from there plain iron ladders dauntingly poiniting to the roof, here on the fourth or fifth floor, with the streets below us. This is why we had to sign! We carefully climb up those ladders, and find an extension of the restaurant on the roof (the food travels in a lift). Young people around us, stretching on matrasses. Cables on this roof – good that I am small enough to fit underneath. We are by far the oldest guests, particularly me, the baby boomer – being frowned at by the younger folks around us. The view of Petersburg is spectactular, sure – but… this experience seems very Russian to me.





Thank you, Larissa and Marina, for this very Russian experience.

Later I read that the Lonely Planet recommends the Loft Project Etagi as “one of the city’s coolest galleries”. Oh yes, it is surely cool and unconventional. And it does not come without adrenalin.

A Swiss in Petersburg: Getting Settled

Дом быта or Dom Beat, a trendy bar

In the plane Anna joins me, young and fresh, on her way back from the US. We chat all the way, we both leave aside our Spanish lessons, she points me to the Dom Beat, which, as I later find out, is one of the main picks by Lonely Planet. A charming introduction to Piteri.

A great welcome at the Airport

I love finding a good friend meeting me at the airport. Larissa took me to town in her car.  Carefully telling me, in Petersburg, I should not just cross the street as I do in Basel. There is no law giving precedence to pedestrians. Oh yes, I will be in a bigger city now.

Living in a nice private apartment

Elena has just renovated her apartment and I will share it with her. It is in a small and quiet street close to the city center. She welcomes me with steamed vegetables.

White nights

My host looks after apartments and one of them is close to the blue mosque overlooking the Neva with all the gems of the city, the Ermitage in the forefront. At 9pm, and we decide to have dinner and we enjoy the view to the Neva on the first floor of  a nice restaurant, leaving the. place around 11 pm, and it is still bright.