Regain, reuse, recycle

  • att återvinna – to recycle or literally, “to regain”

Sweden is one of the global leaders in sustainable waste management and the recycling philosophy is a huge deal in the country, so it makes sense to start this day by learning a little more about recycling or doing your bit for the planet. Make a quick tour of your house and look for things that can be “regained” or used again – either by means of recycling, such as paper, glass, and plastic, or by means of donating or selling them, such as clothes or appliances you no longer use. We here at ITMO also strive to treat our planet with care. Learn more about recycling in St. Pete and at the university, living zero waste, or Russian sustainable fashion brands in our previous articles. 

Have a fika

  • fika – let’s call it a coffee break, but really it’s much more than that and here’s why
  • en kanelbulle – a cinnamon roll

Credit: Jessica Guzik on Unsplash

Credit: Jessica Guzik on Unsplash

Now that you’ve done something good for the world, it’s time to reward yourself with a little treat. Cue a fika or to fika (as it’s also a verb) – your chance to take a step back, relax, and enjoy your cup of coffee with a dessert of your choice. You can do it alone or with friends, usually at a time when you need a little uplifting break. By far the most popular fika condiment is the cinnamon roll: a Swedish specialty, a culinary legend, no less, that even has its own holiday celebrated annually on October 4. Luckily, you can find it in some of St. Pete’s coffee shops – here’s our handy list of the best ones.

Stroll down the Swedish Lane

  • att hälsa – to greet
Credit: Jose Hernandez-Uribe on Unsplash

Credit: Jose Hernandez-Uribe on Unsplash

One magnet for all things Swedish in St. Petersburg is definitely the Consulate General of Sweden, located neatly on the corner of Shvedskiy (Swedish) Lane and Malaya Konyushennaya St. If simply seeing the consulate from the outside doesn’t feel like a legitimate reason to go there, consider discovering the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Catherine right beside it. By the way, on December 13, St. Lucy’s Day, there you are likely to become part of the annual celebration of light and hope. But on other days, dropping by can also be an interesting and authentic experience. After visiting the church, you can also stop by the IKEA Studio that opened up right on Nevsky Prospekt fairly recently to complete this little ritual of paying respects to the “official” Swedish locations in the city center. 

Discover Sweden through National Romantic architecture

  • en skönhet – beauty 

Credit: Polina Batalina on Unsplash

Credit: Polina Batalina on Unsplash

In Russian, this style of architecture is also referred to as Северный модерн (Northern Moderne) and for good reason: it became popular in Russia in the early 20th century thanks to the reestablished connections to Finland and Sweden. You can discover it in all its glory by following this map (though the website is in Russian, the map is still readable and handy). Sophisticated and art-nouveau-ish, these buildings still somehow look simple and approachable, elegant and welcoming. You can’t help but wonder about the events they’ve witnessed and also try tracing their influence on today’s highly popular Scandinavian style of interior design. The tiny details make the greatest difference, so feel free to stop by and admire all the owls and mystical creatures hidden in the decor. Let them be your guides to the mysterious Nordic soul. And if you want to top this feel of historic Sweden with something more modern, head over here to look at one of the latest housing complexes built by the Bonava development company. 

Style it out

  • att briljera – to show off

Credit: Sei on Unsplash

Credit: Sei on Unsplash

While you’re still near Petrogradskaya, it’s time to get a little stylish – if only to fit your fancy surroundings. Recently, Bolshoy Prospekt on Petrogradsky island has turned into the ultimate place to stock up on Swedish fashion and here’s why: now, you can find major & Other Stories and COS stores there located side by side with H&M Home. And yes-yes, H&M is a Swedish brand, originally pronounced like this – something like hu-em. You live and learn! Seeing as we’re especially environmentally conscious today, try not to buy something you don’t absolutely need and maybe opt for gaining inspiration from all the style and glamor around you instead. To reward yourself for such chivalrous abstinence, head over to Cake Shop for yet another fika – because, as any Swede would tell you, there can’t be too many of them. This time treat yourself to the legendary semla bun that, surprisingly or not, also has its very own holiday, known otherwise as Fat Tuesday – the day before the start of the pre-Easter Lent. Semlor (the plural of semla) are delicious in their sweetness and creaminess and are known to make any day better. A bonus tip: you can also have your second fika at the Fika vegan bistro – quite convenient, while also eco-friendly, a win-win, we say. 

Finish it off comfy

  • kvällsmys – a cosy evening

Credit: Emanuel Ekström on Unsplash

Credit: Emanuel Ekström on Unsplash

It’s time to wind down the day and let’s do it well. A given for any cozy evening are scented candles and fairy lights. Today, we will also be listening to something Swedish, which can easily be done with this little-known Swedish app called Spotify. For instance, check this page for an abundance of playlists of songs in Swedish and English and definitely check out Håkan Hellström to get to know this star artist. As for food, the best choice here would be the classic Swedish meatballs or köttbullar. I wouldn’t vouch for all places in the country, but quite a lot of them are bound to feature both meaty and vegan options, since, as we remember, environmentalism and diversity thrive there. Throw in some potatoes and the obligatory cranberry jam, both staples for Swedes, and there you have a wholesome meal. Enjoy your heart-warming evening alone or invite some friends over, and don’t forget to ta det lungt or take it easy! 


Fancy living other perfect international days in St. Petersburg? Head over here for your next adventure.

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