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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg April 11th 2014

I admit I have been wrong in neglecting museums during almost all of my trips. I should have visited at least a couple of museums while I was, for instance, in European cities. Moreover, I have neglected all museums in Saint Petersburg except the Hermitage, visiting none except it since 2007. It’s time to catch up with them. This piece will include information about several museums in Petersburg I visited in April. I made a careful selection of the museums, representing an immense variety of topics, if one thinks of it, and hope that readers will want to visit them on their own. In May, I hope to add some more museums. I will not accompany all of the photos with explanations. It will be food for thought. I will also translate only some of the ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Urals » Yekaterinburg April 1st 2014

City of Country & Guitar ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Centre March 28th 2014

Tula is an important Russian city not too far from Moscow. It was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1146, though more veritable records refer to the XIII century. My interest in Tula is obvious because I usually select cities to be visited mainly according to the amount of antiques it contains. I arrived in Tula by train at 7.50 in the morning; right outside the railway station there are booths selling the famous Tulsky pryanik (gingerbread) of various shapes and sizes; it was cool and sunny, I at once walked the Krasnoarmeisky Prospekt to the Kremlin, because the museums would open only at 10 o’clock. Tula looked good at once, pleasing to the eye. I saw a café built in the form of two parallel trams, an unusual structure, with the Russian word “кафе” wrongly ... read more
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Old Building
Blagoveschenskaya Church (XVII cent.)

Europe » Russia » Volga » Ulyanovsk March 2nd 2014

This is an entry about the city of Ulyanovsk, the Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, and a little about Maslenitsa. The title is a citation from Lenin. I decided to go to Ulyanovsk simply to see two interesting museums – one dedicated to the father of Soviet Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, and the other – civil aviation history museum. Web search revealed few other notable sights but I could not miss the Lenin Memorial because the man had played a major role in the history of Russian State. Also, I like seeing items and things from the Soviet times because I grew up when USSR no longer existed, but I was actually born in the Union. Moreover, as I thought, it would be nice to break down the trip to Saint Petersburg in two stages, with a ... read more
"The whole world will be ours"
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Europe » Russia » Urals February 19th 2014

I will briefly state that I had to postpone my great plans for alpine skiing this season. It was excellent ski-trekking in Kirovsk, Hibiny, and I needed at least a couple of days of alpine skiing so that winter was not spent in vain. I decided not to ski in Kirovsk because slopes there turned out rather extreme for me. I fully understand that two days of skiing mean nothing, but it turned out an excellent ‘week-end’ (in the middle of the week). I bought rail tickets several weeks in advance and asked my friend Alexey to join me. He said, we’ll see, and now we both have returned from the resort. I decided to go to the Urals, the ski resort of Abzakovo. The choice is obvious because it is close to my hometown, Birsk, ... read more
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View from Piste
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Europe » Russia » Siberia » Irkutsk January 24th 2014

Another day and another exciting city was on its way - Irkutsk and Listvyanka village, the home of lake Baikal! We drove straight to Listvyanka upon arriving at Irkutsk. It was a quaint little village, 70 kms away from Irkutsk located on the shore of lake Baikal with a population of 5000. A lot of people in this part of the country believe in the Shamanic religion. These are Buryats, indigenous people (similar to Native Americans if you will) who believe that every thing has a spirit of its own. They don't have temples or churches built to worship, they pray to the sun and hence the east side is very important to them. We had planned to meet a Shaman the next day at the Shamanic cultural centre in another village. I checked in to ... read more
Wooden Architecture Museum
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal Again

Europe » Russia » Urals » Yekaterinburg January 18th 2014

Yekaterinburg was nothing like what I expected it to be. It went above and beyond my expectations, this was made possible by my hosts Vadim and Marina. They were FANTASTIC to say the least! They made me feel very comfortable and redefined 'Home Stay' to reflect its literal meaning. We started by visiting the Europe and Asia border, surrounded by the Ural mountain ranges. There have been a few created, one just for sake of convenience, closer to the city (17 kms) so that the foreign delegates who visit Yekaterinburg can visit and check their boxes of 'visiting the Europe-Asia border'. The government had plans to build a tall structure over 100 meters to symbolise this border, however due to budget constraints and no sponsors the plan was shelved and instead they created what you see ... read more
Europe Asia Border
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The Real Border

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula January 18th 2014

I make the preliminaries as short as possible: once I decided to join the 6-day ski touring of Hibiny with Club Perehod (my second trip with this company), paid the booking fee online (later paid the whole price also online), and waited. It is not necessary to explain my affection to skiing - and skiing in Hibiny Region, among rather noticeable mountains, is a treat not offered to many, though it is so cheap. In this case, I mean not Alpine skiing, but rather “ski-trekking”. In the next paragraph we will read some data about the region. Hibiny is the largest massif on Kola Peninsula, about 350 million years of geological age, its highest peak being Yudychvumchorr with 1200.6 meters above sea level; and the towns of Apatity and Kirovsk at mountains’ foot. To me, Apatity ... read more
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Everyone, Become Workers of the Transpolar Giant!
Hibiny Mountains

Europe » Russia » Centre January 14th 2014

Things never work as per the itinerary! Fact of life! After a few hiccups I was off on my Moscow city tour. The plan was to spend 2 days in Moscow, first day with the guide and second day by myself, they called it the 'free day'. We started by visiting the Eternal Flame. Located on one of the side walls of the Kremlin its a memorial dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who were killed in World War II. Like any other place they had the 'change of guard' every hour, I wasn't keen on watching it as all change of guard processions are pretty much the same. The guide was passionately talking about the great warriors who laid their lives in World War II, I remembered reading about how sensitive the subject of World War ... read more
Change of Guards
Lenin's Mausoleum
St Basil

Europe » Russia » Centre » Suzdal January 3rd 2014

Our train journey was a brief one today,only an hour and a quarter,from Nizhny Novgorod to Vladimir and our visit to the Golden Ring.This is the area Northeast of Moscow that contains some of the countries oldest towns,Kremlins and an amazing array of spectacular onion domes. We were met by a lovely driver who drove us straight to Suzdal,35km away, which really is a beautiful town. The railway goes through Vladimir and not Suzdal so the town remains largely untouched.At one time there was a church for every 12 of it's citizens and there are still over 40 old religious buildings left in this small town. It was a royal capital and became infamous in the times of Ivan The Terrible. It was like stepping back in time visiting here and our 3 night break was ... read more
The main square
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