White Nights in Russia

Bucket List: White Nights in Russia

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Capital One. The opinions expressed herein are those of C&C and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Capital One.

The concept of a bucket list is one that’s just exploded in the past few years. I’ve long kept one, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who runs in crowds that periodically throw out phrases like “oh, that’s definitely on my bucket list” or “I can’t wait to check that off my bucket list.” In the digital age where it seems anything is possible, people seem to dream bigger than ever.

Bucket List, Capital OneOf course, all of my items center upon travel to-dos, as I’m sure many of yours do, as well. Which is why I’m partnering with Capital One to talk about the new Capital One Venture Card, which encourages people to create their own travel bucket lists and then start to tick away at these aspirations. With double miles on every purchase and the flexibility to use those miles for any travel expense—a rarity those of you who have tried to use other rewards cards in the past will know—it’s definitely a card worth checking out. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees and no expiration or blackout dates (and this is so uncommon, as I’ve found trying—unsuccessfully—to use points through hotel loyalty programs lately!).

Russia Bucket ListIf you want to participate in the ongoing conversation about bucket lists, simply hop on Twitter and use the hashtag #BucketList and tweet @CapitalOne with your ultimate wish; you might even get chosen to have an illustrator sketch your bucket list item out for you for the Venture Tumblr.

But now onto a recent bucket list item of my own that I checked off while tooling around Europe.

White Nights in RussiaIt was a unanimous agreement. The one thing the four of us had to do in Russia was take a cruise down St. Petersburg’s famed canals, under the full veil of a midnight moon sun.

White Nights in RussiaWhen you hear about the “white nights of Russia,” that’s not really doing the late nights of summer—where sunset fades into dawn sometime after zero dark thirty—justice. It’s not just white you see, but every warm hue Pantone sells: varying shades of pale pinks, deep reds, UT oranges, canary yellows and everything in between. I’ve been to both Alaska and the Arctic Circle during peak summer months, and neither could compare to the myriad of colors we saw in St. Peter.

White Nights in RussiaWhat you’re also not told is just how difficult it is to find one of these so-called canal cruises. We went to the exact spot the guidebook sent us only to find there was only one publicized canal cruise in English in all of St. Pete. And it was an hour long, on a barge with 40 others. Not exactly how we planned to see the city by boat.

White Nights in RussiaSo we improvised.

White Nights in RussiaOur relentless friend Nicole—it should be noted that she works as a producer in a male-dominated film industry, so she’s used to kicking butt and taking names—talked to a guy who knew a guy who then called a guy who knew English because none of them did. In no time flat, we had our own guy. And his boat. And a private tour of St. Petersburg with champagne flowing freely.

White Nights in RussiaAnd all for the bargain price of $50 a person. Who knew bucket list items came so affordably?

White Nights in RussiaOur guy—let’s call him Vladimir—took us down every which canal, and eventually into the open Neva River, where we could see our beloved ship docked just beyond the horizon.

White Nights in RussiaMeanwhile, the four of us toasted our fortune and Vladimir’s willingness to take out four Americans who only wanted to experience a white night in Russia for the first time with good friends and merriment (and OK, some cheap Russian champagne). It was one of the best nights of my entire eight-week voyage. (And yes, I do see the irony of us leaving our ship home only to hire someone to take us around by boat.)

White Nights in RussiaNote: All these photos were taken between 9pm and midnight! Crazy.

Of course, the one major thing still on my bucket list for Russia, I’ve yet to do: Ride the Trans-Siberian Express. One item at a time, I suppose.

White Nights in RussiaAnd pay close attention to my future Capital One posts, as there might be something in it for you…

So tell me: Is Russia on your Bucket List?

  • August 5, 2013

    Definitely adding this to my BL!!! Looks so amazing! LOVE the pics & that bubbles were involved!

    • August 5, 2013

      There was one photo of Scott holding a bottle of champagne that I couldn’t put in this post but that might make a future post 😉

  • August 5, 2013
    birdgal (another amy)

    I am not nearly (or even close) to as well-traveled as you and I have MANY places still left on my travel bucket list, though Russia is not near the top (or even in the top ten if I’m
    being honest). The one place that’s been #1 for awhile now is climbing Machu Picchu in Peru, which I am determined to check off before I ‘check out’ (are you groaning yet?).

    • August 6, 2013

      I don’t blame you. The country itself has never been on my list, just certain parts of it (mainly the Trans-Siberian…DYING to do it!).

  • August 5, 2013

    I have to say, Russia has never been very high up on my bucket list. But I’ve also never heard of these White Nights! Oh my gosh, your photos look glorious and I would LOVE to see them in person. Thanks for pointing them out to me!

    • August 5, 2013

      Russia as a destination was never high on mine either, but the white nights and the Trans-Siberian definitely are!

  • August 5, 2013

    Gorgeous pics – this puts it on my bucket list! I was in Kazakhstan in 1998 and that has a very Russian feel being former USSR, but I would love to visit St. Petersburg and see the “real” thing!

    • August 5, 2013

      Did you love it? I’m dying to see the ‘stans!

  • August 5, 2013

    Half of my bucket list consists of travel destinations. 🙂 While Russia isn’t necessarily on there, it’s safe to say that very few destinations are off the table for me.

    • August 5, 2013

      Me, too! Even of places I have been already, very few (other than the Dominican Republic and maybe Vegas) are off the table!

  • August 5, 2013

    love that gif!

  • August 5, 2013

    what a nice way to see St. Petersburg and from a different vantage point, the light is gorgeous during that time of day.

  • August 5, 2013

    Your photographs make it look absolutely stunning! Russia has never been on my list though for one simple reason – my sister visited Russia as a student ambassador in 1992 and came back with a lack of desire to ever visit again. It was certainly a different time, but the stories she told made me not want to ever visit 🙁

    On my bucket list though, for sure, is Peru. I have two first cousins that live there and I just met them both for the first time in the past month (read: 2013 has been the CRAZIEST year ever!). I NEED to find a way to visit, but I’m terrified about traveling abroad with Mayhem’s food allergies. That being said, if you EVER need a connection in Peru, let me know. They are a AMAZING people and one of them was even a journalism major 😉

    • August 6, 2013

      It’s actually far friendlier than I would have expected! Though I’m sure 1992 was still borderline shaky times.

      I’ve never had much of a desire to go to Peru–mainly because there are other places I want to see first–but who knows, maybe I’ll have to pay your cousins and the LLAMAS a visit =)

  • August 5, 2013

    Couple more years and we’re on that train. Maybe after a boat ride in the white light.

  • August 6, 2013

    That must be crazy! It’s literally the city that never sleeps! haha
    I love your photos and you do look like you’re having a great time on that photo. Free flowing of champagne, I’d love that too! 😛
    White night in Russia is absolutely in my bucket list now. :>

    • August 6, 2013

      Yep! Good thing we had heavy drapes…

  • August 6, 2013

    I used to study Russian so I’ve been to Russia (only Moscow and St. petersbury though – theres is much more to explore!) 3 times and the white nights is definitely on a my bucket list. Awesome pictures Kristin, so unbelievably jealous!

    • August 6, 2013

      Um, I took Russia for a summer in high school–does that count? =) All I can say now is “Hello. My name is Kristin. How are you doing?” On repeat.

      • August 6, 2013

        It’s the same for me too which is such a shame as Russian is a cool language to learn!

  • August 6, 2013

    Russia is definitely on my long long list. Bucket lists are great and your making good work of one! I remember when I accomplished my first item on my list (trip to Disney World) 12 years ago! I’ve been fortunate enough to check off several more items since, but the list never seems to get any shorter! I look forward to reading your future posts! Great pics by the way!

    • August 14, 2013

      Thanks, Jimmy! Funny, people always ask me where I go to “vacation” when not working, and Disney is usually my answer =)

  • August 7, 2013

    Yeah, most of my bucket list consists of travel, too. I love these pictures – it’s crazy that it’s so light out still, even at midnight. Russia is definitely someplace I want to visit, though I confess that it’s not at the top of my list right now – it’s a “someday” destination, below a bunch of other places I want to visit.

    • August 14, 2013

      That’s how it was for me, too, so I get that! The nice thing about working for Semester at Sea is I get to visit places I might not do so on my own dime.

  • August 7, 2013

    Umm… YES. Although I’m a bit torn after the recent legislation.

  • August 8, 2013

    The waterways in St. Petersburg were so gorgeous. I need to go back to see them during the white nights … on a private boat with champagne apparently! In September it was already quite cold and dark, but we went out late at night to see them raise all the bridges, and with everything all lit up, it felt pretty magical.

  • August 9, 2013

    I love that you had champagne. That’s how I like to travel! The TSRR and seeing the Bolshoi Ballet are both on my travel list (alongside seeing the Northern Lights, African safari and walking on the Great Wall of China). And after reading ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ I am now obsessed with taking a cruise to Antarctica. But now I’m thinking that when I make it to Russia for the ballet I am totally having champagne on a river!

    • August 14, 2013

      Oooh I haven’t read Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but now I’m adding that to the list!

  • August 10, 2013

    Such a beautiful experience through cruise and yet very little word around? I am sure you must have had a time of your life, cruising along, shipping champagne and soaking in amazing sights.

  • August 13, 2013

    moving gif pic just took this website to the nest level ;D

  • October 24, 2013

    Those are some intoxicating pictures! I´ve been fascinated by Russia for quite some time, but I ´ve never came across the White nights phenomenon..can you believe? I would definitely stay up all night at least once roaming among those amazing old building in different states of decay or maybe just sitting on the river bank enjoying the view and some good Russian vodka. Can´t wait to visit! Thanks for great post, I really enjoyed it. Cheers, Adam.

  • December 13, 2013

    Looks like you really had a great time there. Amazing pictures, I never thought of visiting Russia, but your pictures tells me that I really need too… 🙂

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