Actually, none of the people in the picture are Alex or Natasha. They’re just some Russians who turned up at the house one day with booze and party shopping. If you like impromptu, this guest house is definitely for you.
Alex and Natasha’s place is a beautiful old (original) German house in the heart of Svetlogorsk. The luxe and less intimate hotels are in fact quite a step from the beach.
Interesting that one of Russia’s most beautiful promenades also features one of its biggest blots on the landscape.
From a distance, it looks like a concentration camp tower. On closer inspection, it looks like old mineshaft brought from somewhere like Norilsk. Either way, at either end of the prom, there’s no getting away from it.
The excellent ‘In Your Pocket’ guide wrote of Svetlogorsk: ‘The whole experience is still decidedly Russian. Savour it before it becomes another generic seaside resort.’
This was written before the Schengen curtain went up around Kaliningrad. These days, Svetlogorsk is in scant danger of euro-isation. The main visitors are Moscow property developers and day trippers from Kaliningrad. So you’ll still get dill with everything and a strong whiff of barbecues in the Baltic breeze.
A sunny Sunday is normally the cue for Kaliningraders to head for the coast.
When the Germans were expelled from Kaliningrad, they left behind a wonderful architectural heritage.
Some residential districts of Kaliningrad, and almost all the villas in Svetlogorsk, survived the the war untouched. What they survived less well was being untouched by even a lick of paint for next half century.
I’ve spent the last couple of months between St. Petersburg and Svetlogorsk.
Of course, I’ve kept an eye on the street scene.
It’s definitely long, long hair and chestnut rinse jobs. Though the shade of ‘chestnut’ is rather loosely defined, despite what it says on the packet.
And where there aren’t pines, silver birch fill any leaf space left. Svetlogorsk – Kaliningrad’s Baltic beach – is a heavily wooded resort where only shafts of light make it through. Chances of a deep tan are slim and the only really bronzed resident I’ve come across is Pavlov. In sculpted form, of course.