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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow January 5th 2022

I have been to some of the most beautiful metro stations in the world. Europe definitely has the best, followed by Asia. The US is a distant LAST! Syntagma metro station, Athens, Greece A transfer point between Athens Metro lines 1 and 2, Syntagma is not your average station. Considering the city's illustrious history, it maybe won't come as a surprise that the station is part museum. Located beneath the Syntagma Square, there are many antiquities on display at the station that were found during the construction. Aside from the ancient artifacts, there are also works from many contemporary Greek artists. The problem? It is a major transfer point, and everybody is running around like a Greek chicken with its head cut off!Szent Gellért tér Station, Budapest, HungaryAuthorities don't always​ need to spend ... read more
My first Metro visit
Moscow metro station

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow December 31st 2021

The name "Kremlin" means "fortress inside a city" and that is where our tour started today in cathedral square. Anna explained the traditions of the New Year Tree. From the forest to the heart of Moscow: Kremlin’s New Year tree is about 28 metres tall and the span of its lower branches around ten metres As tradition has it, the selection for a tree starts back in April and this year 37 fir trees were scrutinised. Contestants vying for the status of the country’s chief fir tree, undergo a careful selection procedure and must conform to a number of key parameters, including height, age and the span of branches. As the tour ended Anna too us out through the Spasskaya Tower with its imposing clock and into Red square. A wonderful end to Anna’s tours for ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg December 23rd 2021

http://www.heygo.com St. Anne’s Church, or Annenkirche, is a large Lutheran cathedral in the heart of St. Petersburg. It stands out among the other buildings with its semicircular rotunda with columns. This evening Anna was able to take us inside to meet Katya who is a guide for this remarkable building and to learn of its history. As we entered the church resembled a set for a post-apocalyptic movie. Annenkirche was built in 1779 by architect Yury Felten and is one of the oldest churches in St Petersburg, it was originally built for the German community. During the 19th century the church used to be the spiritual home of many famous city dwellers, for example Carl Fabergé. Not only was it a church, but it also functioned as a hospital and a shelter. In Soviet times, the ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg December 23rd 2021

https://www.heygo.com/annaylevina A wonderful tour of a private collection of Russian New Years and Christmas collections. Ivan's incredible collection of ornaments from all over the world that also included a fascinating selection of Russian ornaments from various periods in Russian history from the late 1800s to the present day. Anna also treated us to a glass-blowing demonstration of a Christmas tree bauble.... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg November 28th 2021

What a treat to be able to visit virtually the Faberge Museum with Anna in St.Petersburg The collection is made up of over 4000 display items which represent the many different items created by the House of Fabergé. Anna gave detailed information on many of the items with the main focus on the Imperial Eggs all so beautifully displayed. The First Hen egg (Given by Tsar Alexander III to his wife in 1885) was not on display as it is part of the Faberge collection currently being shown at the V&A museum in London. The Renaissance Egg is a jewelled Easter Egg and was the last Faberge egg Alexander gave to his wife Maria. The Rosebud Egg opens like a bonbonnière to reveal a yellow-enamelled rosebud, where the surprises were originally contained. The surprises are missing, ... read more

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 anticipation...like 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 » Siberia » Lake Baikal October 6th 2021

Having just returned from a trip to Chicago, I have some thoughts on travel food. But I must tell you that Chicago itself is a great foodie city. I enjoyed several great meals, at Joe's Stone Crabs, Portillo's, Eataly, and a Wrigley dog. But when I am sitting on a plane or train, without any decent food options, I carry my own food. Aside from the usual, I bring food like mixed nuts, cup of noodles, energy bars, and a half sandwich from home. In fact, cup of noodles is the BEST food to take while on the Trans Siberian Railway (8 days if nonstop). I even discovered a new "instant" food, in the form of cup of mashed potatoes. And it was quite good! But I just found a newer, more versatile option, easy to ... read more
Add some tofu

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. https://www.heygo.com/annaylevina 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




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