Blogs from Russia, Europe - page 5


Europe » Russia » Siberia » Krasnoyarsk September 15th 2014

The rider thought about to have a lol with the music on. And didn't want to think about to hold the wheel even we were driving with 110km speed :)) Ooh never mind that we gonna fly to the valley :))) read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 14th 2014

Welcome to the incredible Catherine Palace and Park in Pushkin, about 25 km southeast of St Petersburg. This was clearly one of the most impressive sightseeing locations on our Russian tour. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Another day of travelling to another palace! This time to Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin). The town was founded in 1711 as a royal residence. It was given the status of a town in 1808. The first railway in Russia was opened in 1837 connecting Tsarskoye Selo to St. Petersburg. After the October Revolution the town was renamed Detskoye Selo (Children's Village). Then in 1937 it was renamed Pushkin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the popular Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin. . . ... read more
Jewish memorial evokes Tachanun prayer
incredible opulence in Catherine palace
the amazing Amber Room

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 13th 2014

Shabbat could be summed up in a few words: service in the hotel, breakfast, service in the big synagogue (for those unlike me who wanted to attend), lunch at the Golden Cafe, sleep, rest, seudah (late afternoon meal) at the Golden Cafe and Havdalah. So I will use this space to write about the history of the Jews in Russia and particularly St Petersburg and then describe our party! In 1703 the Jews started arriving in the St Petersburg region from distant lands. They were conversos - Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity to avoid persecution. They were accepted into society. For example the first chief of police was a Jew called Otto de Vere. However, the first sign of anti-Semitism came in 1738 when Alexander Voznitzin became disillusioned with the Russian Orthodox ... read more
Happy Birthday Bubbles
yecch - Bubbles in my Drink
L'chaim !

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 12th 2014

The day started sadly. David had not been able to join the tour as his mother had taken a turn for the worse. Jill had come on the tour by herself but she left first thing in the morning to go back to Israel in the event that her mother-in-law passed away and was flown from the USA to Israel for burial. And on a happier note, after breakfast we got on the bus and wished Penina a happy birthday in the usual Trekkers way - with a song of course. Penina very kindly gave out goody bags, party bags with all sorts of sweets, bubbles and balloons. This was whilst driving to the hovercraft pier as we were to take the hydrofoil to the Peterhof Palace. We had a half hour wait for the hovercraft ... read more
this Bus is a Hydrofoil craft !
the Splendor of Peterhof
girls and guides

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 11th 2014

Today Natasha was well enough to be our guide as scheduled. She arrived at the hotel to take us on a very good tour of what, to my mind, is one of the most impressive museums in the world - The Hermitage. The coach took us to St Isaac's square and we walked along the river via Senate Square to see a statue of Peter the Great on a horse with a snake sneaking up the rear of the horse. This square is famous because in 1825 there was an uprising called the Decembrists uprising. This was a secret society that wanted to reform the monarchy and have a constitutional monarchy. In 1825 Alexander I died in mysterious circumstances. His brother Nicholas I succeeded him. It was thought that this was an opportune moment for the ... read more
the opulent Hermitage museum
Peacock Clock in the Hermitage
our guide Natasha shows paintings by Renoir and Degas

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 10th 2014

Up at the crack of dawn and down to breakfast at 6:15am as we had to leave to get to Moscow airport for our 10am plane to St Petersburg. We arrived with plenty of time to spare. I needed to go to the loo which was a long walk from the check-in desks and then down a staircase and finally the ladies' queue. What had been an urgency soon turned into an emergency. But I made it! We checked in last amongst our group. But as there were still some waiting ahead of us I didn't really hold up anyone. There was a shortage of seats in the departure area, once we had gone through security. So a large number of our group commandeered a few tables in the cafe. We tried to find a couple ... read more
St Petersburg architecture is much more varied and stylish than Moscow
Rostral column by the waterfront
Catherine the Great and friends

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow September 9th 2014

Our tour day started at 9am and Don and I got to the meeting point 10 minutes early! Miracles do happen. We began at the Moscow Memorial Square. This is a square of various memorials dedicated to those who died in various wars. The first memorial was dedicated to the 7 million civilians who died in WWII. In total 27 million died. The newest memorial, just one month old was the memorial to those who died in WWI. This is similar to the memorial in Tiananmen Square in that it shows working peasants and townsfolk as well as soldiers. Compare with the photo in Day 20 (30 July) of our HK + NZ + China blog. We passed the flower clock made up of 15,000 flowers until we came to the WWII official memorial. The obelisk ... read more
WW-II memorial Obelisk 150m high
Holocaust memorial of human degradation
Holocaust memorial Tombstone

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow September 8th 2014

We went down to breakfast bright and chirpy after a very long sleep to be met with 10 bleary eyed co-travellers who got in at midnight. We made up our sandwiches and got into the bus for our first excursion of the day. We were supposed to leave at 9am but Don and I were late so we started at 9:09. When our local guide Svetlana welcomed everyone onto the bus she announced today is our guide Michael's birthday. So we all sang Happy Birthday (both styles including Israeli, plus the Russian language of the global version) and we learned his age is like mine and Don's. Our first stop was the Armoury Museum in the grounds of the Kremlin. Kremlin means 'fortress' and indeed this is a well protected zone. It was originally built as ... read more
Bell Tower in Cathedral Square
200 ton Tsar Bell
St Basil's Cathedral

Europe » Russia » Centre September 7th 2014

I got up in the morning without a clear idea where exactly to go. The previous evening, I read about several towns and fell asleep still unsure of what to do. However, after lying in the bed for about ten minutes I got up with the firm idea to visit Zaraisk. I decided to go there because it had a Kremlin and was nearer that other towns on my list. I would perhaps not know about this town, but very long ago I came across a Russian website with a list of one hundred best places. The bus departed from Vykhino bus station where I had been previously, so I knew where to go to buy tickets. The bus came 10 minutes before departure and arrived in Zaraisk rather quickly, about half an hour before the ... read more
Monument to Soldiers

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow September 7th 2014

Sunday 2:15am and we got into the car. I (Lesley) managed to get an hour's sleep, but Don none since his shabbat shluf. En route to Ben Gurion we saw tens of ambulances and several fire trucks and we followed them to the airport. Oh oh does that mean the airport will be closed! We had already had three mini catastrophes at home. Thursday the tumble dryer died. Then a glass lampshade fell off the lights over the table, and knocked over a glass of water too, but amazingly nothing broke! Friday, Don lost a crown and couldn't get hold of the dentist. Our friends Ellie and Steve contacted us 10 days ago and asked if we wanted to join their holiday group, The Trekkers, on a Jewish experience to Moscow and St Petersburg. We thought ... read more
guide Svetlana leads us into Red Square
inside the GUM marketplace
The Choral Synagogue

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