August 6, 2008
As I was coming out of the off-licence at about ten in the evening a group of dogs passed me and disappeared into the courtyard. I swear one of them sized me up but decided against whatever intentions it had on its mind. The incident left me wondering how long is it going to be before the boundary installed through the years of master/pet relationships will be forgotten and finally crossed.
Tehran had a similar problem in the late 70s. Stray dogs were roaming the streets forming violent packs. At nighttime it was not advised to walk on your own, particularly if you were a small child and could be easily carried off.
Saying all this, I somehow doubt that in Russia they might fail to deal with such a problem in the most efficient way. Likely there wont be any lack of wanna-be hunters willing to come out with their unlicensed rifles to shoot bad dogs and save the world.
In fact I wish they would start now by shooting dog-owners who don’t clean their pet’s mess. This is an outrage. Please, put your hand up if you never stepped into a pile of a dog poo on the pavement. Then you either did not live here long enough or you are a newborn baby and you don’t count.
However filthy the streets of St. Petersburg may be, they are still well worth walking, as many of them are historical sights themselves. A glance at a map reveals that a good attempt was made to bestow the city with an organized layout practically made for easily negotiable walks. In some areas around the centre everything is so close together that getting around on foot is the most rewarding way to explore and appreciate many fascinating architectural and sculptural details.
Citizens of St. Petersburg are fond of walking. On a fine day people of all ages are promenading up and down Nevskiy Prospekt or emerge into the parks and gardens. The Summer Gardens and Mikhaylovskiy Gardens offer excellent recreational opportunities as well as a superb scenery.
If you are looking for a romantic time try Palace Embankment at 2 a.m. during the White Nights. A stroll along the Moika or Griboedov Canal will take you away from the busy traffic of Nevskiy Prospekt and introduce you to some lovely residential areas of the city centre.
Excellent St. Petersburg walking tours in English, German and other languages are bookable anytime through Ost-West Kontaktservice. But please do note: during the high season (between May and September) this ever so popular service best be arranged well in advance.