HE first time you ride the escalator on the Saint Petersburg Metro you realise instantly that it’s quite a long way down. So for the second trip, you time it. Two minutes and 50 seconds. It’s the water that is the problem for the Metro. The rivers and canals that are among the city’s main attractions on the surface forced engineers to dig ever deeper when they constructed an underground transport system which has considerable merits of its own.
Many of the stations are considered works of art, worthy of a visit in their own right and the perfect tourist attraction for a rainy day. Not that we saw many of those.
From late May until into July, Petersburgians celebrate the White Nights, a festival of art and culture which keeps the city abuzz into the small hours as reward for having endured a long, dark, icebound winter.
Even on a cloudy day the dusk will linger. As we descended