Page 31 of MrsMac Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest September 2nd 2008

Geo: 47.4984, 19.0408The day promised beautiful sunny weather as we set out from our hotel ablout 8-30. We walked down Rakozci Avenue towards the centre of the city. found josef nado square from where we took the Hop On Hop Off bus for a tour of the city. We had done these in other places and knew that it is a good way to orientate ourselves. first headed up Andrassy Boulevard. This is a wide street lined with beautiful 19th century buildings including No 60 which was in turn, Gestapo headquarters then the KGB premises. SAt the end of this street was Heroes' Square. We made a note to return there later in the day. The bus then continued past the railway station and back down to the Danube where we crossed the river using the ... read more
Heroes' Square
Outside the Castle
St Istvan's

Europe » Poland September 1st 2008

Geo: 52.2449, 21.0119We left Minsk to travel to Warsaw. This was an exremely long day on the bus, leaving Minsk at 7-30am and arriving in Warsaw at 6pm (and gaining an hour along the way). the most exciting thing to happen was crossoing the border from Belarus to Poland. This took about 2 hours in all but we were told that we were lucky as at times it takes nearly 4!!. The trip was so unexciting that Maja put on the DVD of the 1950s version of War and Peace!!I don't know which was less exciting!!That night in Warsaw we had a great farewll dinner in pour hotel, The Sheraton. this was our last chance to say goodbye to our travelling companions of the last 2 weeks. We had joined up with three other Australian couples ... read more

Europe » Belarus » Minsk Voblast » Minsk August 31st 2008

Geo: 53.9678, 27.5766We spent two days in Moscow visiting most of the main sites. Our first stop was the Metro. We were taken through some of the more picturesque stations, particularly from the Soviet era. For Fletc\her and I this was old territory as in 1980 we travelled extensively on the Metro and had seen most of these stations. However ,it was interesting to see that not a lot had changed. Our first stop was the Kremlin. The entrance was much as I remembered it but there was now a modern ticket booth there. We were taken in and shown through the main buildings. The Palace of Congress is now used mainly as a concert hall as the Parliament building is now outside the Kremlin walls. We walked to Cathedral Square where the orthodox cathedrals are ... read more
GUM Dept store
In the Metro
Red Square and the Kremlin

Europe » Russia August 26th 2008

Geo: 55.75, 37.62I am in Moscow having spent 6 days now in Russia. The highlight of our second day in St Petersburg was a trip to the town of Pushkin where one of the summer palaces, Catherine's palace is located. This was originally built for Catherine 1, second wife of Peter the Great. He tried to emulate Versailles so there are many elegant and golden rooms. It took about an hour to drive there but we arrived just before 10am which is opening time. Even so there were many other groups waiting. As we entered we had to don overshoes, (much like operating theatre slippers) and then we mounted the grand staircase. Everything in the first few rooms was white and gold. The main Reception room was stunning. Intricate, wooden carved, gold leaf covered ornamentation framed ... read more
Canal and palce Peterhof
Catherine's Palace
Main hall of mirrors

Europe » Russia August 25th 2008

Geo: 59.939, 30.3158We have just spent three great days in the most beautiful city on the trip so far!!. I was so excited to be returning here, as I had only spent one day here in 1980 but had fallen in love with the place. I was keen to see how it had changed, especially now that Russia has become more westernised.We had an interesting day getting here. We left Tallinn early and drove north to the border. We were warned that getting through passport control could take time so we were prepared. However, a serious problem arose when the visa of one of our group was found to have the wrong month's date on it. Instead of August, her visa was for September. We had to wait in No Man's Land between the Estonian and ... read more
Fountain in the Neva
Inside St Peter and Paul Church
Inside The Hermitage

Europe » Estonia August 20th 2008

Geo: 58.5953, 25.0136We are in Talinn. This is a great city. We had been here in 2001 so we have noticed the enormous progress the city has undergone since then. We arrived here yesterday afternoon. Last night we had a meal provided in the hotel so we did not venture out. This morning we left on a tour of the city. It was a public holiday here celebrating their Independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Last night there had been a huge singing festival to celebrate this event. Our guide took us to the veue to appreciate the idea that 100,000 people had turned up, 10 percent of the whole population of the country!!We then drove to the Old Town. We have been pretty unlucky with the weather. As we arrived at the walls of ... read more
In the town square
Outdoor arena in Tallinn
St Alexander's church in Tallinn

Europe » Latvia » Riga Region » Riga August 19th 2008

Geo: 56.9465, 24.1048We have had a lovely couple of days in Latvia. We travelled yesterday from Vilnius, encountering rainy conditions along the way. The most rain was when we stopped at the Hill of Crosses. This is a site of pilgrimage where hundreds come to place a cross and pray. However, it is fast becoming a tourist spot!!. The site originated back in the 15th century when as legend has it a man ,whose daughter was very ill, had a dream that told him to place a cross at this site and, of course, his daughter was cured. However, it wasn't until the 19th century that it became more popular. Then during the Stalinist years of occupation it became a symbol of resistance. The Russians had the place bulldozed several times but crosses kept reappearing even ... read more
Great architecture in Riga
Guild Hall, Riga
In the rain at the Hill of Crosses

Europe » Lithuania » Vilnius August 17th 2008

Geo: 54.6896, 25.2799This morning we were taken on a guided tour of Vilnius, mainly its Old Town. Our first stop was a viewing point above the city where we could see a great Panorama of the old and new parts of the city. Amelia was our local guide. She is very knowledgeable and also very proud of her home town. From the hilltop we went down to the Old Town. We left the bus at the only remaining gate of the Old Town's wall. This bears the original coat of arms of the Dukes of Lithuania, supposedly the oldest in Europe. As we walked under the gate we could hear singing. Of course, being Sunday morning, mass was being held in the churches. The particular one from which the singing was coming was above the gates ... read more
Church of the Black Madonna
City Gate

Europe » Lithuania » Vilnius August 16th 2008

Geo: 54.6896, 25.2799Today was a day of travelling. Our first full day on the bus!! We left Warsaw at 8am and headed north to Lithuania. It was a beautiful sunny day, too good to waste on a bus trip however, these things must be done. Our travel took us through rural Poland and Lithuania. Both are very flat countries and also very green. We listened to our tour guide explain about optional excursions and then she got on to history and politics of Poland. A litle is fine but she managed to talk for nearly one and a half hours!! And you think I can talk!! We stopped for lunch at Augustow where we had 75 minutes to get some lunch ad have a look at the town. This was a pretty town with a very ... read more
Fountain in Augustow
Market in Augustow

Europe » Poland August 16th 2008

Geo: 52.2449, 21.0119I am sitting in a Noodle cafe in Warsaw across the road from our hotel on John Paul 11 street. The hotel wanted to charge us $36 per hour to connect but this cafe advertised free internet so we have had a good chinese dinner and an internet session!!!We flew here yesterday from Glasgow via London Gatwick. The travelling took up most of the day. At 6pm we met with our guide and fellow travellers for our 14 day tour that will take us from here, through the Baltic States to St Petersburg, Moscow and back here through Belarus. Should be interesting. After a briefing we walked down to the "Old Town". In reality most of this area is less than 50 years old as most was destroyed by the Nazis during the war. ... read more
Memorial to the victims of the Russians
Memorial to the Warsaw Uprising
Old Town at night

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