A South African facing off the Russian Winter

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Alexander Hart

Two things have struck me about living in Saint Petersburg, the radical daylight contrast between seasons and  of course the frigid temperatures of Russia’s famous winters.

My body clock still struggles with the 16:00 sunsets in winter and the white nights of summer with sunset at near 23:00. Daylight and seeing the sky on the rare occasion, changes everything, but mostly affects my mood.

I know talking about the weather gets boring, at minus 17 earlier today minus 15 on our home gauge this was definitely the coldest morning we’ve ventured out. This is normal Russian winter weather, after a big global warming scare last winter with the coldest day being minus 12 and average around minus 3 ( Unofficial home gauge readings)

As a South African anything subzero is considered very cold and of course in SA even single digit weather is considered super cold because house design does not factor in cold temperatures, so no heating ( predominately) except the odd wood fire and external electric heaters.

I remember going to bed with a hottie, not a woman,  a hot water bottle as we called and kicking it out by morning because it had become cold. You actually feel physically colder I recon, although this past week of at least under 10 C temperatures, I’m starting to feel that shivering cold “ in me timbers”

A good jacket, jeans, gloves, winter hat and good boots will see you through. In fact I’ve noticed that I don’t wear leggings as I did when I arrived 3 years ago ( 3 years in June)

These temperatures do bite your exposed skin and it’s unpleasant, you progressively acclimate during winter. 0 feels freezing then minus 5 then minus 15 and so on.

As my friend  Don pointed out I’m no longer bitching like a little girl this winter.

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