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Europe » Russia » Centre July 20th 2018

So, I've been wanting to take a solo trip for a while now. It's easy to get people to go to Europe with you. Even Iceland. Costa Rica? Heck yeah. Machu Picchu? Sign them up, even my kids. Who wants to go to Russia?? (((((crickets)))) So, there you have it. The logical choice for my first solo trip. Plane tickets aren't so expensive if you are willing to travel in economy. Airbnbs are cheap. I think I'm spending around $300 for 6 nights in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I used hotel points for a free night in Finland for my layover home. Bonus country! Get to spend the evening and the next morning exploring Helsinki. The rub? Finding out that U.S. Citizens need a Visa to enter Russia. Embassy fees run about $150. However, dealing with ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Uglich July 3rd 2018

A stop on the way to Moscow to explore the provincial town of Uglich in west Russia. The town was founded in 937 and the ancient Uglich Kremlin contains the Transfiguration Cathedral which has an ornate wall of icons. Nearby there is the Church of St Dimitry on the blood with frescoes memorializing the death of Ivan the Terrible's son. The fortress helped to stop the Tatars. The town recovered very slowly after being burned to ashes by Polish-Lithuanians. Uglich used to be famous as the watch making capital of Russia (Chaika Watches). The collapse of The Soviet Union caused an industrial decline and this marked the rise of tourism. We had a stroll around town which showed a need for maintenance.and then through the markets and back to the boat. Next stop Moscow - a ... read more
Church of Prince Dimitry the Martyr
Iconostasis
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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
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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
Kermlin
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
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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
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Europe » Russia » Centre » Suzdal August 11th 2017

One feels it could take a lifetime to unravel the mysteries of Mother Russia. The land of this vast nation of 140 million people seems to stretch on forever, and you can ride the Trans Siberian railway for over a week to complete the journey from Moscow to Vladivostok. When you add the countries of the former Soviet Union, there are over 300 million native Russian speakers in the world today. Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and along with English, is the official language at the International Space Station. While often portrayed as the bogeyman by western nations, Russia will continue to be a major player on the world stage well in to the future. The journal continues from Russia, as I have the privilege of spending a second ... read more
Magnificent monument
Gorky Park entrance
Monastery in the Golden Ring

Europe » Russia » Centre November 3rd 2015

This entry consists of three parts: the story about Vyazma, a couple of sentences and several photos from my hometown Birsk, and a short description of Petersburg’s Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery. I combine them all here for convenience and to make the entry more informative and varied. The central story is about Vyazma, the other two simply add to my previous experiences of two most frequently visited places in my life (Birsk and St. Petersburg). ****************************************************************************** There are several ways to choose the best Russian cities to visit. The first would be to check out the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in Russia, which includes such places as Moscow’s Kremlin, St. Petersburg (its whole centre and lots of places in the environs), Kazan’s Kremlin, Velikiy Novgorod, Suzdal and Vladimir, the wooden churches of Kizhi etc... read more
Vyazma Train Station
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Europe » Russia » Centre » Suzdal August 27th 2015

Europe » Russia » Centre » Kostroma August 27th 2015




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