Blogs from Russia, Europe - page 9


Europe » Russia » Siberia » Irkutsk June 13th 2013

My next stop in Siberia was the one I was looking forward to most. Irkutsk is a pleasant enough city, but it's real appeal is its proximity to Lake Baikal. Baikal is the world's largest, deepest and oldest lake. Also called 'The Pearl of Siberia,' at its longest is 636 km long, its greatest width is 79 km and its greatest depth is an incredible 1642 meters. It holds 23,615.39 km3of water, or 20% of the world's fresh water; the water is also drinkably pure, and is so clear that you can see up to 100 meters down into it. It's formed by a tectonic rift and is getting bigger every year; in a few million years it's expected to become the world's fifth ocean, dividing the Eurasian continent. It's UNESCO world heritage site, and is ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg June 9th 2013

"Ships of every flag shall come, by waters they have never swum - and we shall revel, freely ranging"Pushkin - The Bronze Horseman Despite our high expectations, StP did not disappoint. We arrived early and our first excursion was a bus tour around the city. PP and CS had originally signed up for the 'up close' option, hoping it would mirror the walking tour arrangement in Moscow but we found on the day that that option in St P did not include a visit to the Peter and Paul Fort. We checked with Kathrin who laughingly acknowledged that we would not be dragged screaming to the walking bus if we had now changed our minds. We settled into Bus A as usual, on that basis. It seemed that most of the others who had made the ... read more
The Smolny Cathedral
St Isaac's Cathedral
PP with Nicholas I

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg June 9th 2013

The following day was to culminate in the major highlight for us all - the much anticipated visit to the Hermitage Museum. CS and PP had debated with themselves before embarking on this trip whether the optional excursion 'Hermitage behind Closed Doors' would be for us but enquiries indicated this would be a full eight hours process and we regularly bemoan that our older backs can now no longer cope with extensive standing on hard floors. However our group felt a bit more than the standard package would be welcome and our intrepid leader, Bev negotiated with the ever resourceful Kathrin to get us a wonderful compromise. Our own guide, our own mini-bus and access to the 'gold room' as an extra was readily agreed to by us all for a modest extra fee. And so ... read more
Our guide with Bev & Susan C.
Enthralled audience
The St. George Hall

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg June 9th 2013

Wednesday 29 May and the choices this day included a trip to Peterhof. CS and PP had planned to stay two more days in StP after leaving the Viking vessel so this was another opportunity to take full advantage of the away from the city excursions on offer. Viking had arranged for us to get there quite early and we were the only bus in the lot when we arrived. The weather continued to be delightfully sunny but CS underestimated the strength of the breeze, so purchased a very Russian style shawl at the Palace to reduce the chill. Peter I's intention of building his own 'Russian Versailles' to impress western visitors of his day, continues its effect. The Palace itself is a reconstruction based on photographs and descriptions retained after the WWII destruction of the ... read more
PP & PeterI at Peterhof
The palace from the gardens
The Grand Cascade

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow June 8th 2013

Moving along with contrast and more photos from last summer... ;) Just a few to illustrate what we've been doing in Moscow. Next stop: St. Petersburg (I promise I will write something soon!) Cheers from Moscow!! (wich, by the way, was the MOST BEAUTIFUL city I have ever visited!!) JM... read more


Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg June 8th 2013

Hi there! After number one, comes number two: second most beautiful city I have ever visited (after Moscow) Russia is definitely a huge country in all aspects: Beauty, Richness, History... I'm just uploading some photos so you can see where I've been, but I promise I will right as soon as my college exams allow me! Cheers from Peterhof (St. Peters) JM... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre June 5th 2013

Prior to our arrival PP attended his second Russian language session and returned to the cabin lucid in Russian conversation. Well perhaps not entirely, but his efforts to learn the Cyrillic alphabet before we left and his further boning up since we arrived in Russia meant that he developed a credible skill in interpreting printed material that looked like cooked spaghetti to CS. He became surprisingly adept at reading the words, and because Russian is apparently quite phonetic, ultimately managed to interpret quite a few as well. CS was off the hook trying to decipher street signs, for example, phew! We arrived at Kizhi at 3pm precisely. The programme so far (and throughout) was followed with military precision and explained at each stage, delightfully and clearly in English and German, by the ever competent and entertaining ... read more
Church of Transfiguration
Inside the Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus
The 2 Churches side by side

Europe » Russia » Centre » Uglich June 2nd 2013

Tuesday May 21. The vessel set off about 2.30pm and sailed the Moscow Canal to Uglich. Our path was roughly northwards and we went through 6 locks on the way. These are much larger and deeper than the ones we experienced on the barge trip. They were reminiscent of the ones our freighter had to negotiate in Hamburg. The ship is amazingly stable, quiet and smooth when we are underway, almost no sense of movement at all unless one looks out the window, yet we travel at a surprisingly fast rate. On Wednesday we arrived at Uglich at 2pm. Shore parties set off to walk to the Kremlin, through town and turn right. CS and PP were a little surprised to see how run-down many of the town buildings were - particularly the houses, it seemed ... read more
Drowned Church
Uglich Lock
Entry to Uglich township

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg June 2nd 2013

April 13, 2012. (This was not a backpacking trip.) The cheapest round trip ticket from Krakow to St. Petersburg I found was with Lufthansa which had a 3 hr stopover at Munich. I had time to walked around Munich airport and found a Meditation and Prayer Room so I spend some time there alone which was wonderful. The second flight was delayed 20 min. In St. Petersburg, at the passport control, each person took 3-5 minutes with the immigration officer. On the plane, they announced that within a week of arrival, foreign nationals must register at the Ministry of Interior. On the immigration card we filled out, it said that within 3 days, you must register with the Ministry of the Interior. At the passport counter, the person scrutinized my boarding pass and asked a few ... read more
ice floes in the sun

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 31st 2013

It was a quintessential Eastern European experience that I was excited about yet dreading in equal measure - the overnight train from Moscow to St Petersburg. Indeed the climax of the film after which this blog entry is named revolves around one. Hopefully our train ride won't be as exciting as that one. This isn't my first overnight train - if this one is to be as comfortable as that one, then the Russian overnight train experience would be a pleasant one. Anna and I would be sharing a four-bed cabin with two other people and we were a little bit anxious about who we might be paired with - hopefully not weirdos, because the cabin is pretty cosy even if it is semi-luxurious. To our mild relief, our cabin partners were an old English couple ... read more
Palace Square
Awesome Mosaics
Catherine Palace

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