Blogs from Northwest, Russia, Europe


Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow November 15th 2021

The first metro system built in Russia, the Moscow metro glorified the technological progress of the Soviet Union and is today one of the world's busiest subway systems. It is most famous for its extravagant and unique interior design, exalted as the 'Palace of the People'. Opened in 1935 with just 13 stations that Moscow Metro just keeps growing and growing - now there are over 180 stops and over nine million users a day. In comparison, the London Underground handles a mere 5 million journeys a day. Ploshchad Revolyutsii Station Ploshchad is decorated with 76 sculptures one cut into each corner of each column, arranged thematically moving from parents with their children to athletes, students to farmers, industrial workers to hunters to soldiers. There is also a frontier guard with a dog whose nose people ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow October 17th 2021

Fear is like a gas...a cloud that can linger...weakening if breathed in. Being an a gas it can be blown or simply drift away. I have often experienced fear...but rarely terror. Terror is like a liquid...beyond anticipation...beyond fear...helpless...nothing more I can do here...resigned to my fate. Only when the cause departs does terror slither away. If catastrophe is the solid...I would not be here to tell this tale. Yet at the time I could see no chance that we would survive without injury that day. Uzbekistan flight to Moscow to catch our 11:55pm plane home...our double entry Russian visa expiring 5 minutes later at 12 midnight. Train travellers from Russia to Ukraine caught as their train delayed before the border...detained by boarding police as their visas expired during the delay. Surely can't happen to us! ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 19th 2021

The impressive Olga's and Tsarina's islands were created between the years 1830 to 1840, on the order of the emperor Nicholas I. They are dedicated to his spouse Aleksandra Feodorovna, and their daughter Olga. Anna always brings history to life in her tours. So many wonderful stories she explained so eloquently. The pavilions were closed but we could enjoy all the beautiful gardens and surrounding lakes. Tsarina's pavilion - There is a flower bed between the bench and the pavilion, with a fountain in the marble basin in the center of it. In the bowl of the fountain, there is a statue of Narcissus, admiring his beautiful reflection in the water. The "Praying boy", set in the niche of the pavilion - is the Roman copy of the Greek original. A shimme... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 31st 2021

I stayed at the hotel in Moscow for the rest of the morning and got good sleep. My friend Ben had suggested that I take the overnight train, Red Arrow (?), VIP class with full Russian music at the platforms, to St Petersburg which was super tempting. However, what I mostly needed was sleep and was worried I would not sleep on the train and would get in too early to check into the hotel. So, I just booked business class on the train that left around 10am and took my time to pack up and relax. The train station was just steps from the hotel, but lugging my giant suitcase around in that heat is never fun. I found the business class lounge and was able to get a bit of breakfast and tea before ... read more
Steamed dumplings
Seven Bridges
Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow July 27th 2021

After flying through Novosiberisk again, and again at the airport hotel and bar, most of us continued on another 6 hour flight to Moscow, with a few going to St Petersburg. Here there were some changes as most people were returning to Dubai and waited to get the Covid rapid test before checking in. However, Luke and I were going to stay a couple of nights in Moscow to do some sight seeing. Initially, it was intended to not be rushed home, but now I was supposed to extend my stay as part of a 14 day quarantine to go to Saudi Arabia. We finally found the express train to the city center, getting business class tickets and having an empty car for the 40 minute journey. We arrived and found our way to the correct ... read more
Komsomolskaya Station
Kievskaya Station
Ploschad Revolyutsii

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg July 13th 2021

Kronstadt Alongside establishing the city of Saint Petersburg in the spring of 1703, emperor Peter the Great commissioned to build fortifications on Kotlin to make sure no invader could get in. Very quickly a little town of Kronstadt would be founded Kronstadt is a town and naval base on Kotlin Island, just west of St. Petersburg, Russia. Anchor Square is dotted with military memorials. On the square, the 20th-century Byzantine-style Naval Cathedral has an ornate interior. Tree-lined Petrovskiy Park is home to the 19th-century Monument to Peter the Great. Kronstadt History Museum displays regional artifacts. Offshore is the man-made island of Fort Alexander. The beautiful St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral - the biggest church built for the navy. It is a memor... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 16th 2021

Peter the Great was designing the city as another Amsterdam & Venice with canals instead of streets. Initially, there were only about ten bridges constructed in the city, mainly across ditches and minor creeks. By Peter's plans, in the summer months, the citizens were supposed to move around in boats, and in the winter months when the water froze to move in sledges. However, after Peter's death, new bridges were built, as it was a much easier way of transportation. Temporary ponton bridges were used in the summertime. The first permanent bridge of bricks and stones across the main branch of the Neva river appeared in 1850. Today, there are more 342 bridges over canals and rivers of various sizes, styles and constructions, built at different periods. Some of them are small pedestrian bridges, others are ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 1st 2021

1st May - Vitebsky Station is considered the most beautiful railway station of St. Petersburg. Today we were able to visit with Anna & learn about the history of this beautiful structure, originally built in 1837 and the first railway station in Russia, Opening its doors in October 1837 The first passenger train headed by locomotive Provorny went from there on the line connected St.Petersburg and Tsarskoe selo (today’s Pushkin). In 1904, a new station was built in the Art Nouveau style. This Art Nouveau architectural gem with Anna’s help gave a glimpse into the bygone splendor of Imperial Russia. The beautiful waiting room was now a showpiece, one could only imagine what is must have been like to travel through this station in years gone by. Anna also took us to the service area with ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow April 5th 2021

21st March - Sokolinaya Gora District, Moscow #heygo Within a few yards of where our tour started, was a KFC, Macdonalds Although not at this location we heard about the first McDonald’s in Soviet Russia. The Moscow McDonald’s initiative was a joint venture between McDonald’s of Canada and the Moscow city council, a plan first envisioned when George Cohon, founder, and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, met Soviet Union officials at the ’76 Summer Olympics in Montreal. And almost a quarter of a century later, on January 31st, 1990 it became a reality. At the time of its construction, it was the largest McDonald’s restaurant in the world. A venue with 900 seats with a staff of about 600 workers that were carefully selected from 35,000 applicants. Reportedly, it was expected to serve around 1,000 during ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow January 24th 2021

17th January Today’s tour in Moscow was to Zaryadye Park. It was minus 17 degrees but our guide Anna was well wrapped up. As we entered the Park area we passed The Old English Court, a stone mansion erected in the early 16th century, one of the earliest surviving specimens of Moscow's secular architecture. Most importantly it witnessed the birth of Anglo-Russian relations in the age of Ivan IV (the Terrible) and Elizabeth I. For it was here from 1556 to 1649 that the first English trading and ambassadorial office in Moscow was located, the first official residence of a Western power in the Russian capital. The bulldozers were out clearing the snow and whizzed passed Anna as she explained about the history of the building. Next to the Old Courthouse was the Church of St. ... read more

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