Walk an extra mile

Almost 100% respondents of our little ITMO.NEWS team survey named walking as their go-to (pardon the pun) way to greet spring. And, to be honest, who can keep from breathing in the smell of new life in the air and basking in the sunlight finally flooding the streets? Whatever slush is still on the ground is definitely not enough to stop us! Try skipping your usual bus commute to walk home instead – even if it takes hours. If you choose the day correctly, you are almost guaranteed to discover new corners of the city, guided by dappled sunlight reflecting from every surface. 

Here are some of our top ideas to keep up your spirit of adventure: 

  • watch the ice on the Neva flowing down the river as you go along its many embankments (but preferably from the Peter and Paul Fortress); 
  • venture into one of St. Pete’s many parks (take note that some of those in the city center will remain closed to let the ground dry after the winter), stroll along Moskovsky Prospect or get to know the Petrogradsky District more intimately;
  • visit every peculiar sculpture on our list or get the chills at some spooky landmarks of the city;
  • make your own style guide of the city’s architecture: baroque, art nouveau, classicism, eclecticism;
  • discover a new island;
  • feel the breeze when crossing bridges

And if you are not a fan of walking, keep your eyes peeled on the Student Services Office website: the glorious ITMOLNIA electric scooters are soon to return to ITMO’s parking lots – ready to take you on a ride between ITMO’s campuses. 

Feel young and sophisticated

St. Pete can definitely boast a multitude of modern public spaces, each with their own youthful and maybe even sophisticated vibe. Each of them typically hosts lectures, concerts, flea markets, and other events where you can join a new community of creative intellectuals – or just find like-minded people to explore the city with. Most of them start to look especially appealing in spring thanks to the cherished combo of warmer weather and multicolored decorations. Anything feels possible in such surroundings, just give them a try! Some favorites here are: 

New Holland Island. Credit: vk.com/newhollandsp
New Holland Island. Credit: vk.com/newhollandsp

Don't forget some sustenance

Now, all of the public spaces mentioned above offer a wide selection of food – from street food like falafel to fancier restaurant meals. They are all definitely worth a try, but it’s also always nice to have some trusty options spread all over the city just in case you suddenly get ravenous during your walk (or develop a Gilmore Girls-worthy desire for coffee). I can’t help but share one of my favorite coffee chains, Больше кофе (More coffee), with "homely" spaces to grab a coffee, located throughout the city center. It's worth checking out their cave (not a typo!) near Gorkovskaya metro station (close to ITMO’s Kronverksky campus) or their Кофе на кухне place on Fontanka Embankment (near ITMO’s Lomonosova campus). If you are lucky enough to get a seat, try каша вкусняша (a delicious bowl of oatmeal with pumpkin seeds, honey, and bananas) or сырники (quark pancakes) with blueberry jam. 

Кофе на кухне. Credit: bolshecoffee.ru
Кофе на кухне. Credit: bolshecoffee.ru

We here at the ITMO.NEWS editorial team love food, so check out this selection to put more pins on your map: 

Into the unknown

Once it gets even warmer (and, fingers crossed, remains sunny), the citizens of St. Pete will resume their annual practice of weekend getaways to the Gulf of Finland and the many palaces surrounding the city: Gatchina, Pavlovsk, Petergof, Tsarskoye Selo, Sestroretsk… The list can go on, but what’s important is to make an adventure out of it. Pack a tumbler of tea and some homemade treats to have a little picnic while you’re there and uphold your spirit of exploration. And don’t forget to make some true discoverer’s photos of the picturesque spots you stumble upon!

Field of Mars. Credit: Archie on Unsplash
Field of Mars. Credit: Archie on Unsplash

Home activities

Finally, you can always bring the spring inside. Make the place feel new by doing a cleanout (here is also a detailed how-to) and donating what you no longer need. Let the greenery and fragrance take over by potting hyacinths (or any plants of your choice) sold at local grocery stores. Rejoice at having more fresh fruit by making delicious smoothies (my recent discovery is a combo of bananas, red oranges, cinnamon, and almond milk). Or maybe decorate your room with new posters and bunting to make every day special even if we are not enjoying beautiful beams of sunlight. 

Let this spring be magical for you!

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