This post was intended earlier than the latest one on – typical – St Petersburg (here). Although that day too was pretty much similar, with strong wind, abrupt showers and sun. Piter takoj Piter! as St Pete dwellers say (and sigh) – St Petersburg is just so typically St Petersburg! Summer, however hot or cold it is, always makes me love the city even more – and that usually involves walking around, discovering new places and spotting the details you would never think are actually there. Now that it’s been raining for quite a long time (or overcast and moody which is also tyyyypical St Pete), there’s a forced pause in my laid-back discoveries. Makes me wonder if St Pete actually makes it up for the hottest May for the last don’t know how many years?
This post is a supplement to what I’ve already published on Petrogradka, a characteristic (and weird) district (and island) of St Pete specially designed for architecture freaks (which even if you are NOT, you just HAVE to be one when in St Pete). I’ve already created a page listing all the St Petersburg related posts on this blog, because I talk about my city a looot .)
But in order to get some energy for a walk to the city park, here are some picnic-perfect biscuits for you!
Easy Drop Biscuits adapted from breadbaking.about.com will make easy cheesy savory biscuits. Take them with you for the road!
My changes: I added some wheat bran, some dried oregano and flax seeds to the batter and also used butter instead of shortening. I decided to put less baking powder and there was no problem with my biscuits rising nicely!
Remarks: As I was baking these, I thought why not add some coarsely grated cheese on top before they are ready. I also moved them to the top shelf for a better cheese crust. This required several extra minutes of baking.
Result: Nice! Easy and I guess can be enjoyed with some butter or (cream) cheese. And of course suitable for taking with you on a picnic (though a bit greasy from the extra cheese topping). You can surely adapt these cookies to your liking, adding your preferred (extra) ingredients.
Now that we have these biscuits for the picnic, let’s walk on. I’ve started from the newly renovated Petrogradskaya metro station and decided to follow the small Karpovka river. There was this old-fashioned tram running along the embankment. Most of these old-school trams have already been substituted with new shiny quietly moving red and white trams across the city, but apparently not here:
Sometimes I feel an urge to look above when I’m passing a weird building. This one is in quite a sinister condition and yes, people still live there. Thanks God there’s this grate preventing bricks from falling on your head. I suppose it was supposed to be quite an imposing building (the architectural style is called eclecticism) back in the early 20th century…
Having suddenly come to a gate blocking my further way along the river, I crossed it to look inside this Stavropegial Ioannovsky Convent. Lots of women inside, some icons and a whole other world. It was a coincidence (or not) that I watched The Nun’s Story with Audrey Hepburn at around the same time. A convent in the middle of the city is something you can also meet in Moscow, where actually the effect is stronger, when you spot some much older monastery almost besieged by super-modern high-rise towers with security guards.
But before crossing the bridge to see if I could continue my walk on the other side I was attracted by this casually lying black and yellow overcoat. Looks like some sailor has left it there to enjoy the rare St Pete sun?
Having eventually come to a dead-end on the other side of Karpovka too (the Convent premises), I had to choose this street (Vishnevskogo Street) with no less impressive block of flats from the early 20th century. The writing on the ground means ‘lust’ or ‘desire’ (vozhdeleniye). Hmmm. Wikipedia says the famous Soviet (extreme) pilot Chkalov (whose name bears a local metro station) used to live in this street (the street being named after a Soviet playwright).
And this decaying writing right over the entrance to the next block of flats says ‘Krepim oboronu SSSR‘ which means ‘Strengthening the defense of USSR’. Well, ok, we do believe you!
After that I bought some kefir to revitalize myself and walked on Chkalovsky avenue, passing by Chkalovskaya metro station and later along that factory (?) wall seen in the first photo of this post. Some narrow streets and more decaying factories and chimneys later, as I was moving closer to my destination, Krestovsky island, I spotted this typical old & new mixture somewhere near Malaya Nevka‘s embankment (a tributary of Neva).
Here’s a view on the expanding parts of the city. Definitely not my favorite parts.
And then I crossed the freshly constructed bridge (Lazarevsky Bridge) to finally get to the Krestovsky Island:
The island is mostly occupied by a large park (with a huge stadium still under reconstruction at its western end) but there are also rather posh buildings with quite posh cars (respectively) parked outside. No, not this building, this one is on Sportivnaya Street (Sporty Street), so what would you expect but a Spartan-like block of flats?!
Further on I came across this greenish (and decaying) Stalin era (I suppose) building with AGAIN written across its ehhh part 😉
But then there was a nice picnic on the grass opposite the St Pete yacht club and a walk along Yelagin island, a green haven (and heaven too, when you escape the busy city!) with shady alleys, a small zoo, a mansion (and which corner of St Pete doesn’t have one? Well, the place where I live!). Wikipedia, btw, has an entry on Yelagin island in… Afrikaans! Wow : ) And exactly two weeks later I tried roller skating on Krestovsky (these islands are forming some kind of an archipelago) which is a place you normally go to get all sort of outdoor entertainment in summer (starting from boat / bike / rollerblades rent to a large Disneyland-like amusement park which is also there right opposite the Krestovsky Ostrov metro station). That day was – surprise-surprise! – equally sun-clouds-wind-all-together-day with this impressive sky. See how the colours change from the ‘bottom’ to the ‘top’?
You might wonder why my photos are such a mixture of beauty and ugliness. Well, first of all, St Petersburg as any living city IS a mixture of both. Next, as Richard Avedon said,
‘To be a photographer you have to nurture the things most people discard’