Blogs from Saint Petersburg, Northwest, Russia, Europe

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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 2nd 2020

I was reading a book, and came across this rather colorful description of a stinky situation. I am sure each of us has a story that may top this one. But here you go: This is from Tim Moore in his book, "The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold" as he cycled along the old Iron Curtain, in a Russian shopping bicycle with only two speeds. "After 1700 km of odorless, aseptic Finland, my nostrils were befouled by the rolling miasma of unregulated (now in Russia) neglect and decay, sulphur and solvents, fermenting rubbish, burning plastic, poo, and wee." I actually had a similar experience when I was peering out the window from the Trans Siberian Railway. I could "see" the stench that Tim Moore is talking about. That sounds pretty bad. But I have ... read more
Stinky fruit
Dirty sweat socks
Durian makes me barf!

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg February 29th 2020

When I started my first job after leaving school, all the men save one, smoked cigarettes...and all of the female staff. But in those enlightened days...everyone who had a TV knew that cigarettes were cool...and most importantly...they were good for you! When I left there 9 years later...none of the men smoked...not one...but many of the women still did. And that was before laws forbidding smoking in many public spaces including restaurants. 'Cos someone let the cat out of the bag...the cigarette companies knew all along...that cigarettes were not good for you...in fact they could ultimately kill you. In my travels in China...16 provinces so quite extensive...most of the men seemed to smoke...so I guess Chinese cigarettes are different...or the message had not yet got out that they are not good for you! Yet in Russia ... read more
St Petersburg
St Petersburg
St Petersburg

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg February 3rd 2020

This tale has nothing to do with kissing frogs nor the Disney production of "The Princess & the Frog" nor the Grimm Fairy tale "The Frog Prince". Y'all know this dancer would NOT extol that fantasy claptrap..."Historophile" being my middle name. Now I've cleared that up...let us begin. Long, long ago there was a Tsar who had three sons. When they came of age...like any loving father he called them before him and said, "While I am still able to guide your futures...I wish to ensure you are happily married and bear grandchildren for me to enjoy." The sons said, "You know what is best for us, oh father. Who shall our brides be?" "Do as I say. Each take a bow with a single arrow into the countryside and shoot it. Wherever it lands, there ... read more
Take me as your Wife

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg December 30th 2019

There were 600 palaces in St Petersburg before the Russian Revolution but only members of the Russian Royal family lived in them. The Tsars had heaps of children and it was only right that each had their own palace. There were also 870 Aristocratic families in St Petersburg before the Russian Revolution. They were not Royals and did not live in palaces but lived in mansions. That's what we were told at the secure vaults of the Hermitage. But this dancer knows better. Elizabeth, Peter the Great's daughter, the one who ordered the Summer and Winter Palaces be built, gifted Anichkov Palace (1741-50) on the banks of the Fontanka River to her lover Aleksey Razumovskiy. So did that gift make him a Royal? I don't think so!!! Alexander the Great, our esteemed guide told the history ... read more
15th Anniversary Egg 1911
Lillies of the Valley Egg 1898
Rosebud Egg 1895

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg December 12th 2019

I didn't come to Russia to go surfing. As Westly one of our Aussie mariners penned it, "Time slips past like the Svir under our river boat. However, I am still remembering the early mornings, the mist and upcoming sun as we quietly made our way up stream back in September and of course an enthusiastic photographer not wanting to miss a moment !" The Neva, Svir and Volga Rivers leading us 29 Aussies smoothly along...through sunrises, forests, frescoes, adornment everywhere. I didn't expect to go surfing...especially not in the Hermitage in St Petersburg...filled with three million works including thousands of paintings collected by Catherine the Great. I went in search of the Hunters Punishment by Paulus Potter and was caught in a tsunami...a tide swell of humanity that had me lost, battered and confused. I ... read more
Leonardo da Vinci 1452 - 1519
Leonardo da Vinci 1452 - 1519
Francesco del Cairo 1607-1665

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg November 14th 2019

My lasting memory of Russia is a hand washing plate of Catherine the Great in the Patriarch's Palace and Church of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles of the Moscow Kremlin that of the 29 Aussies we were probably the only ones to see...'cos they let Denise & I to slip in without tickets. Twas the most elaborately carved, jewel encrusted gift to her Greatness...vertical sides...about 4 cm deep...I think of silver. Can picture it filled with scented water...presented on a cushion...and her Highness reaching forward and dunking the tips of her fingers within...another courtier with silk towel to dab the Royal fingers dry. I say dab as it was not deep enough to dunk her hands within. If you prefer more in your face grandeur then the Catherine Palace in St Petersburg is for thee. ... read more
Привет кенгуру
Catherine Palace
The Grotto Morning Hall Pavilion

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg October 16th 2019

They tell us Russians are schooled that smiling excessively is an indication of mental illness. Expecting stern demeanours...dour Stalinist architecture and constant reminders of a cold war communist past as we dance through Putin's pastures. A young couple...her long hair cascading...clasping close...his face snuggling into the nape of her neck. We turn the corner...his head arching back...lips elasticising then telescoping to plant a kiss on her cheek.She smiles. Can't forget the image of those telescopic lips. Young people everywhere...laughing...smiling...enjoying life...even older folk doing it. Where are the stern expressionless faces? Has everyone forgotten their lessons? A motorcyclist on Moscow's Sparrow Hill doing high speed wheel-stands past a police car. Repeating his screaming wheel-stands six times...us waiting for police pursuit that never comes.... read more
Waterways of the Tzars
Alexander the Great
Sergei Kud-Sverchkov

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 17th 2019

A birthday and Christmas present to my mum had been a trip to St Petersburg, and in September 2019 we finally went there. Since I did not want to fly my mum by herself, I had caught a train from Dortmund (where I live) to Stuttgart (where she lives) a few days prior to our trip, and then we flew from Stuttgart together. The flight was a convenient afternoon flight via Riga. We had dinner on the plane, which turned out to be a good thing to do since we waited in immigration for at least an hour. There were huge crowds of Chinese tourists arriving, and we would meet lots of Chinese throughout the whole trip. Finally, we made it through immigration and caught a taxi to our hotel, Alexander House, a beautiful boutique hotel ... read more
St Isaac's Cathedral
Winter Palace
The Peacock Clock

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 5th 2019

Days 7 - 9/10 of 80 Hi all It's Monday here, it's exactly 1.00 pm as we start to write this into Notepad (that's how we do this, write blog in an off-line pad and then transfer into the blog when on line) and the high speed Sapsan train in which we are sat has off set exactly on time for our 4 hours - 3 hrs 58 mins if it's exact -journey to Moscow. (It arrived 1 minute early). It's like being on an airplane, but with more leg room, and, we expect, less turbulence. They even come through the cabin seeking your small change for charity 😊 However, unlike a plane, there is access to wifi, train/travel/theatre tickets booking, shoe cleaning machine, and something properly to see out of the windows rather than 'that's ... read more
Train meal
Peterhof Upper Garden
Peterhof Upper Garden

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg August 2nd 2019

Day 4 - 6 from 80 St Petersburg is, mostly, a delightful city. So spacious. When they were laying this place out, draining the swamps, building the canals, they made sure to make the streets wide. There are no 'narrow back streets' that we can see in St P. The pavements are generous too. Maybe they needed the space for the enormous hoop bottomed dresses that the women wore, as modelled by many locals touting for 'take a photo with me' business. There are also many 'set back' areas. However there are far too many buskers and street performers. The musical buskers are a particular menace and affront to the senses. Regrettably we are not talking about Ed Sheeran wannabes, with moderate acoustic instruments. No, we are talking full on heavy rock bands complete with drum ... read more
Monets
Old master
Peter the Great'Silk great coat




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