This post is also available in: Français
You all know this term ‘white night’ (otherwise known in some parts of the world as an ‘all-nighter’). This is a way of saying that we stayed up all night and went to bed the following morning.
In general, we pull an all-nighter when we’re studying for an exam the next day. But sometimes these all-nighters, or white nights, are a result of an excessive evening out with friends, and promise a difficult tomorrow. But they also bring good memories.
You all did it when you were young. And you may still be doing it today, if you still have the energy!
In Russia, especially in the north, such as St. Petersburg, there is a period of the year around 20th June that bears the name ‘white nights’ (белые ночи). Because at this time, the sun almost doesn’t go to bed. It disappears at around one o’clock in the morning, so that the night is almost non-existent. Unlike in winter where the opposite happens and it’s dark for most of the day.
With our Russian friends FPG (Russian punk rock group), we had the opportunity to spend a white night in St. Petersburg after one of their concerts. And it’s true that it’s quite magic to see that it’s ‘day time’ almost all night! As a result, life almost never stops. People continue to act as if it was 10pm or 7am, and the streets remain alive. Look at Cheryl in these 2 photos. One was taken at 11pm and the other at 4.30am! Sorry for the poor quality of the second photo, but to deal with the shock, we’d consumed vodka!
With our friends, we had spent the night roaming the city admiring the different monuments and other places of interest. And of course, at around 1.30am, we witnessed the moment when the huge drawbridges rise to let the boats through. And at 4am, when they lower again to let people once again come and go between the many islands that are part of the city. Very beautiful sensations and very beautiful images! Unfortunately, not many photos!
In Moscow, which is further south, it’s different. There’s not exactly the same phenomenon. In Moscow in summer the sun goes down at about 10-11pm, and rises at around 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning. Which is quite early.
And in July 2017, without any advance planning, we spent a sleepless night in the streets of the Russian capital. Just the two of us. What an unforgettable moment! What a beautiful experience!
It was after a concert, of course! Our friends from the rockabilly band, ‘Alligators’ had played in a club in the south of the city. At around 2am, after spending some time talking and drinking with them, in moderation of course, we parted ways.
Leaving the club, Oleg, the singer, asked us if we wanted him to order a taxi with his smartphone (yes, we are old, we don’t have smartphones). We told him that it wasn’t necessary, and that we’d find our own way home. Let me say here that we live north of Moscow (and we were at that time in the south), and therefore it was impossible for us to walk back home. But, never mind!
After saying goodbye, we walked away heading north, thanks to Cheryl’s sense of direction. Mine being terrible!
The adventure begins
An hour later, at around 3am, we realized we were kind of lost. Which didn’t matter, because we were still in Moscow!
But where ?
Without panic, we decided to continue walking a little at random, thinking that we would end up finding a night bus to take us home, or at worst a taxi, or the first metro at around 6 o’clock in the morning.
But the night was so beautiful and so warm, that we gave up thinking about going home, and decided to continue walking, without really knowing where we were going. The white night began to take shape in our minds.
Randomly, we came across different unexpected places and things.
And we were treated to extraordinary views! Look at these photos. What beautiful light!
At around 5am, our tiredness was slowly beginning to make itself felt, but now we were aware that we were going home by metro. So after walking for 3 hours, we bought an ice cream each (remember, Moscow is 24/7), and we took a break on a bench.
After a short rest, we left again at random but with a specific goal – to find a metro station. Any station would do the trick. Finally we arrived at a station not so far from our starting point. Yes, in fact, we realized that we had gone around in a big circle during the night.
It was still early, and the metro wasn’t open yet so we waited outside. For entertainment I climbed on a big bike and Cheryl took pictures of this unlikely but unforgettable night ride!
Finally, a little later, when the doors to the metro station opened, we went down to the metro platform and finally got in. We settled comfortably on a seat, and we went back to our house in peace.
Not surprisingly, the next day was largely devoted to sleep. But what beautiful memories we keep from that night!
Unforgettable white nights – have you had many of them? Do you still experience them? Give us details of the highlights of your white nights in the comments!
Want to receive our newsletters? You’ll get latest news, events, and other goodies first! Newsletters are sent no more than twice a month – we won’t spam you and we won’t sell your email details!