Page 2 of selclark Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Russia May 28th 2017

Geo: 55.7416, 37.6201We visited the State Tretyakhov Gallery where Russian paintings are displayed. Svetlana gave a very informed commentary on many of the works, wirelessly talking into our ear pieces.Then after lunch we rode the Moscow Metro, on and off for several stops to view the highly decorated stations. Luckily our group of 14 is very considerate and punctual, so it was smooth sailing. The Metro was built in 1935 and it carries nine million passengers a day, around its 200+ stations. The deepest line is 83m below ground. We never waited more than a few minutes for our next ride. It costs about $1.50 for a single entrance and you can ride and switch trains as often as you like. Over 65s travel for free. If you go out the turnstiles you'll need another ticket ... read more
Kouindzhi 1880
Metro Station 1
Station 2

Europe » Russia May 27th 2017

Geo: 55.7497, 37.6135We started the day with an exclusive, pre-opening visit to the Kremlin museums, followed by viewing several of the churches and palaces in the 28 hectare, triangular-shaped complex. After another fine lunch at the National Hotel we spent most of the afternoon (too long) at the Museum of Cosmonautics.What a shame that no photos were allowed inside any of the Kremlin buildings. Our first stop at the so-called Armoury Chamber was truly awesome. The vast museum had only a small section of military regalia, but included an AMAZING collection of garments, crowns and royal accoutrements, religious items, ten Faberge Imperial Eggs, etc. Excepting maybe in the Vienna Museum of Fine Art, these were the most wonderful exhibits we have seen. For example, on display was a distinctive, richly decorated 13th century church robe in ... read more
Tsar Bell
Tsar Cannon
Pest control

Europe » Russia May 26th 2017

Geo: 55.7598, 37.6212What an eye-opener! Moscow is a magnificent European city; right up there with London, Paris and Rome. The streets and architecture around the city centre are imposing and impressive. The traffic alternates between free-flowing on 12-lane boulevards, to severely congested around choke points. The current Mayor is undertaking a program of widening footpaths and reducing parking to enhance the ambiance of the city and encourage more walking (and the many small electric Razor scooters that look sensible and fun). The population of the greater city is about 18 million. As Napoleon advanced in 1812 it is believed that Russians fired their city, causing it to be mostly rebuilt in the 19th century. So, no ancient marble and stone buildings that become impossible to keep clean.Today the 14 of us in our tour program did ... read more
Yeltsin's grave
Approaching Red Square
Red Square

Europe » Russia May 25th 2017

Geo: 55.9671, 37.4155Bit stressful getting to Moscow. The train from Florence to Bologna was delayed, and then the taxi line to get to the Bologna airport was huge. Robyn's initiative got us on to a direct bus to the airport and we ended up with time to spare. The security check took about 3min, maybe the fastest we've encountered!Our gamble in booking an aisle and a window seat worked, and we scored a vacant middle seat on our 3 hr flight. We enjoyed good food and great South African wines on our Aeroflot 737-800 flight. Our friendly flight attendants were named Anastasia, Svetlana and Olga. Welcome to Russia!It was an unimpressive 60 min drive in from the airport, but as we got closer to the city centre the streetscape changed markedly.... read more

Europe » Italy May 25th 2017

Geo: 43.7757, 11.2538... read more

Europe » Italy May 25th 2017

Geo: 44.4944, 11.3492... read more

Europe » Italy May 24th 2017

Geo: 43.8396, 10.5072We caught an early local train for a 80min ride to the small town of Lucca, notable for its intact 16th century city wall. We walked around the pretty town for a couple of hours, then returned to Florence.We weakened and decided to book a private guide for a Duomo tour in the afternoon - figuring we can't come to Florence without checking out the major attraction!Tomorrow we train to Bologna then fly to Moscow to commence the Russian leg of our travels.... read more
Wall walk
Streets of Lucca
Florence Duomo

Europe » Italy May 23rd 2017

Geo: 43.7755, 11.2538On Monday we walked around the city and visited the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace. The gardens weren't so great - large areas of lawns and discrete areas bordered by hedges, with paths throughout. The city views at the highest point were partly obscured by trees.Thanks Whitehouse's for the suggestion: in the evening we went to a performance of selected arias from Italian operas.Tuesday was a soft day where we explored the below-ground walkways near the railway station. Then walked around the Duomo and took some pics.... read more
Opera for Tiny Tots
Il Duomo de Firenze

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena May 21st 2017

Geo: 43.3185, 11.3317Walked around on Saturday seeing the sights. Elena and Valerio headed off to their second home in Livorno and left their place to us.Full-day Tuscan trip on Sunday. First San Gimignano, then the village fort of Monterigginio and then Siena. Plus a stop at a Chianti vineyard on the way home, which wasn't until after 8pm.... read more
San Gimignano
Rolling Tuscan hills
Town well and more towers

Europe » Italy May 21st 2017

Geo: 43.4675, 11.0426... read more

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