Audrey Kadis


Audrey Kadis

We just came back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris with the MJs (Matt & Jess and Madeline and Josh). Great food, great experiences and best of all great company.

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 5th 2018

Our last day of the trip. It didn’t start well. We were supposed to have a street art tour at the Street Art Museum. The museum is 20 minutes from the central city, so we took Uber and arrived at 9. The museum was closed. After standing in the cold for 10 minutes, we tried to reach the museum contact. No luck. At 9:30 we called for an Uber back to the hotel. Later that day we heard from the museum contact that they were very sorry, but they had had a lot of email recently, so they didn’t confirm the visit and took it off the schedule. Next on the schedule was the Erata Museum of Contemporary Art. Most of the stuff was in the “art is anything you can get away with” category. There ... read more
Soviet Era Housing

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 4th 2018

Day 20 This morning’s outing was to Pushkin and Catherine’s Palace. The palace was built by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine, although it was significantly enlarged by Catherine the Great. The opulence is like Versailles, but the scale is larger because everything in Russia is larger than Europe. The highlight is supposed to be the Amber Room, but I found the most interesting part an exhibit showing the reconstruction after WWII. After the war broke out and it became obvious, that the Nazi’s were going to get close to St Petersburg, Russian women (all the men were fighting) buried a large number of statues and artifacts. The Nazi’s never made in into St Petersburg, but they did capture and destroy several of the summer homes, palaces, including Peterhof and Catherine’s Palace. All that was ... read more
Our selfie in front of Catherine's Palace
Concealing construction
All that gold leaf

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 3rd 2018

Today was a visit to Peterhof which is about an hour outside the city. Peter the Great was a tyrant, but also a forward-thinking genius who believed in innovation. Peterhof has magnificent fountains that operate on hydraulics. Peterhof is at sea level on the Gulf of Finland, but there is plentiful water in the mountains about 14 miles away. Peter had the tens of thousands of workers who built St. Petersburg, build an aqueduct to carry the water to the place and the fountains. Very cool fountains built on the bones of these workers. There is a ceremony when they turn the fountains on at 11 AM and they play stirring music. I told Konstantin, that if I were a Russian it would make me feel extremely patriotic. The grounds are beautiful comprised of trees and ... read more
At Peterhof
Fountains at Peterhof
Dressing room in Bath House of Peterfhof

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 2nd 2018

Day 18 We started the day at the Hermitage which truly is one of the worlds greatest museum. The building is splendid and the art collection is one of the greatest in the world. It doesn’t make sense to talk about the Hermitage because so much is already on line and I’d have nothing insightful to add. At 2:15 we met our guide for a Jewish tour of St. Petersburg. Our guide, Elena, recommended we focus on the Ethnology Museum and the Choral Synagogue. At the museum it was interesting to see some of the dress worn by Jews in parts of Russia. Given how much we already knew there wasn’t much to learn. Next we went to the Choral Synagogue which is where our tour guide belongs. She explained that the synagogue is Chabbad, but ... read more
Peacock Clock
Hermitage 1

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 1st 2018

Day 17 You can’t travel without some bad weather and today was our day with heavy rain and temperatures in the upper 40’s. We started the day with a bus tour of the city. You know the tours where you sit on the bus and the guide points out buildings and gives you a two-sentence factoid. St. Petersburg will be hosting the World Cup and so the city is being spruced up which means road repairs which mean huge traffic jams; unlike Moscow the traffic problems are very localized. The one place we got us of the bus was to visit Peter & Paul Fortress which was built by Peter the Great as defense for the city in the event of a counter attack by Sweden. Prior to Peter the Great, the now insignificant country of ... read more
Peter the Great's Tomb
Peter Paul Cathedral
Peter Paul Cathedral

Europe » Russia » Centre » Obninsk April 30th 2018

Day 16 We started the day with a tour of some of the subway stations. In the 1950’s the government constructed magnificent subway stations as a way of showing the people what their country would be like at the end of the Revolution when the new world was ready. The stations are decorated with marble, chandeliers, statues, stained glass and mosaics and immaculate. 8 of the 15 million residents use the system on any work day. The comparison to our subways is unavoidable and our subways are dirty and unreliable. All the stations are immaculate. On one of the train rides, we were approached by a young Russian man. He said he really liked the USA because of the NRA and our ability to buy guns. In Russia he said it was hard to even buy ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Obninsk April 29th 2018

Day 15 This morning’s tour was of the Armoury Chamber and the Kremlin. We went to an alternative entrance because the line was too long at the first entrance, but we still had to wait 30 minutes to get in. Since our guide hadn’t planned on this we speed toured the Armoury. The Museum contains artifacts from the Tsars going back to Peter the Great. Peter was 6’7” which made him a giant for his time, but according to our guide who was about my size, his feet were only 2 sizes larger than her feet. They had carriages from Elisabeth who nearly bankrupted the government with her profligate spending. We still appreciate the buildings in St Petersburg she funded, but have a hard time understanding why one person needed 300 carriages and 15,000 dresses. It ... read more
Moscow Square
Red Square

Europe » Russia » Centre » Suzdal April 27th 2018

Day 13 Jack went out to photography before breakfast and I relaxed with Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich. Breakfast consisted of a plate with bread, ham cheese and vegetables, a bowl of rice porridge, a large square of something that looked like noodle kugel, two fried eggs with sausages and a bit of fruit. It was almost comical to see all the dishes laid out on the table. It turns out that Suzdal is the best preserved of all the Golden Ring cities near Moscow. It was once extremely prosperous, but in the middle of the 1800’s the business people did not want to contribute to the construction of a rail line. The rail line bypassed Suzdal and that was the end of its economic boom. Buildings didn’t change and there was only very limited new ... read more
Statue Suzda
Suzdal statues1
Summer and Winter Cathedrals Suzdal

Europe » Russia » Centre » Suzdal April 26th 2018

Day 12 We were supposed to be in the lobby to meet our tour group at 8 AM. We had breakfast at the hotel, which was fine except there is something weird about coffee in Russia. Maybe chicory? It was so bad that even with a ton of sugar, neither of us could drink it. During breakfast I kept looking around the dining room for couples thinking I would see other people on the tour, but I only saw 1 woman. I dashed out in the rain to get a sim card for our phone but had to turn around before finding the shop. When I got to the lobby, Jack was standing there with the guide, the driver and one other couple which is close to a private tour. The couple are a neo-natologist and ... read more
St Sergius Monestary3
St Sergius Monestary4
St Sergius Monestary5

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin April 25th 2018

Day 11 We must head to the airport for our flight to Moscow at 3, which means we only have time for 2 museums. I picked the Kunstgewerbemuseum Museum of Decorative Arts, and Jack picked the Museum of Photography that also houses the Helmet Newton foundation. At the Kunstgewerbemuseum once again, the architecture was the most exciting part of the visit. In fact many of the buildings in Potsdam Square and the Kulturforum were innovative and exciting. The Decorative Arts Museum had some gorgeous carved furniture from the 15th Century. Unfortunately, I got terribly hungry to we headed out to our next stop via Ben-Gurion Strasse. It was strange to see that a street was named after Ben Gurion. I’m reading When they come for us we’ll be gone which is a history of the freeing ... read more

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