It is mid-June, the season of the famous “white nights” in St.Petersburg. The sun has already been up for some hours, and there is not a cloud to be seen in the sky. It is a perfect morning for a run, so I have decided to “do” the main street of St.Petersburg, the Nevsky Prospekt today before all the tourist wake up and jam the streets.
Car traffic is still scattered so early in the morning when I leave the Park Inn Nevsky Hotel at 06.15 hrs. Only some electric driven buses and a few cars move along this prestigious six lane street which the citizens here are so proud of.
I start my run near Voksal Train station, run the northern side pavement in western direction, this side of the street is still in the shadow. A few pedestrians already walk the pavement, a mix of people returning from a long summer party and people going to work. Plus one man on a bike. No other joggers can be seen.
I pass several of the luxury hotels situated in this famous street, get a glimpse of the fantastic Church on Spilled Blood which is just catching its first sun rays of the day.
The streets are clean and still damp after the workers from the municipality have done their street cleaning jobs during the night.
The city now comes more and more to live. Some drunk girls have their little private party on a bench. And the first tourist are now on their feet, East-Asians, probably they are jet-lagged and hence left their hotel early. European tourist are still not to be seen anywhere.
After a 3.5km of calm jog along the Nevsky Prospekt I reach the Winter Palace (Hermitage), in my opinion the most beautiful and impressive building in St.Petersburg. This was the formal home of the Russian Tsar families. The building is said to have 1728 doors! It looks awesome in the morning sun.
I am thrilled, so I run around the whole building. There are no tourists here yet, only some security guards, the Winter Palace, and me. What an experience! Later today it will be crowded, almost every visitor here wants to see it, and you will have to elbow your way through all the spectators to get your share of it. But now there is nobody. So I stop in front of the main entrance and simply let the impression sink in for a few minutes.
Then I run back, this time on the southern pavement of Nevsky Prospekt, in the sun, back towards the east and towards the Neva River. After 45 minutes of “St.Petersburg in a nut-shell” I reach my hotel at 07.05. A do a quick visit to the hotel gym, a little work-out, and then meet with my colleagues Iwan, Steve and Joseph for breakfast.
What can possibly go wrong today after such a start of the day?