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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg March 30th 2020

It's been a long while since my last entry here on this travel blog website. Due to a couple of reasons I lost the desire to write blogs, though I have visited new interesting places since November 2015 (the date of my last blog entry here). Now I decided to share at least something. Okay, this will be just a very short story about a cycling ride in Saint Petersburg outskirts on March 28, 2020. May be someone will get interested and will probably join me on my cycling rides in Russia (please get in touch via this website). There's the annoying thing worldwide about this virus, so people are advised to stay indoors. But the weather was very good, so I just could not stay indoors. Usually, for an interesting cycle ride I take a ... read more
Chernaya River
Bicycle and Forest
Lastochka commuter train at Shuvalovo Station

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 January 7th 2020

Wildfires scorch and scour our Australian bushland as I rise to the 2020 New Year. Green can become flaming orange then become ashes and tears. Images of the ever spectacular Sydney NYE fireworks and simultaneous Fire & Rescue videos of sparks flying and endless flames leaping...homes and lives smashed or smouldering...wondering if our home backing onto National Park in Sydney's North will soon be threatened. And if so, what will we do? What will be our future? The smoke in the gorge behind us reminding that the closest fires are 20 kms away but as long as we are prepared...as long as we are ready. The uneasy ash filled air causing my eyes to squint...to close...to drift away to the Neva..the Svir...the Volga and our worry-less glide as the rivers of Russia wash any cares away. ... read more
My backyard 6.12.2019
Pre-dawn
Pre-dawn

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 » Moscow October 22nd 2019

Leave it to "Travel Trivia" to come up with facts we do not know about Russia. Having crossed the entire country, from Vladivostok to Moscow, and on to St. Petersburg, I can tell you this is a big place. Perhaps most noticeable, particularly in the big cities, women outnumber men by a large percentage, only 87 men for every 100 women. Why? World War 2 was particularly devastating to Russia. But the real reason could be Russia's love affair with vodka! One in four men will die before their 55th birthday. This is among the highest mortality in the world. I can attest to this, as the big cities are teeming with women walking around in groups, old and young. Where are the guys? Most of the population lives in urban areas. With over six million ... read more
Moscow train station
Siberian winter
Russian girls

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




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