My second trip to Russia

Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2006 04:14 am
Picture marking, C.I.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2006 09:07 am
KIZHI, June 8, Thursday - Part VI:

Kizhi is a special place; it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site of an open air architectural museum that was established in 1966 situated on an island in Lake Onega, 2.5 miles long and 658 yards wide.

It is believed that this territory was inhabited by ancient tribes of Veps and Saams in the first millennium. The earlest Kizhi churches dates back to the second half of the 16th century.

It is believed that the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ was the first to be built in Kizhi. The Church of the Intercession (built around 1764) stands next to the Church of Transfiguration.

The Church of Lazar of Murom is the oldest monument of wooden architecture in Russia, built in the middle of the 14th century. This church was moved here from the southern shores of Lake Onega in 1960.

Also located on the island are centuries old households that includes water and wind mills, granaries, blacksmiths, and chimneyless bathhouses.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2006 09:16 am
Kizhi port sign:

Approaching the first site:


A farmhouse:

A window at the farmhouse:

A bell tower:
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 09:14 am
Mandrogi, June 9, Friday - Part VII:

Mandrogi as it stands today is a relative newcomer on the Moscow-St Petersburg cruise route. It was established in 1996 as a living open-air museum with wooden homes and buildings with a Arts and Crafts Pavilion where one can see the artisans making their unique creations of weaving, ceramics, lace making, wood carving, and paintings. It's a long time favorite vacation spot of President Putin's family, and they have a summer house in Mandrogi. Mandrogi has only about 50 permanent residents.

On our visit, the local guide invited us to her home. We visited most of the buildings including the vodka museum with over 2,600 different vodkas. I even purchased a bottle of vodka.

Our group was one of the first to be invited for the outside bbq.

Since this was our last day of cruising, we were invited to the Captain's Reception and Farewell Dinner before our four nights in St Petersburg.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 09:29 am
The front entrance to Mandrogi from our boat. No entrance fee, but two shops.

Some shops.

The Arts and Crafts building.

Example of the craft by the artisans of Mandrogi.

President Putin trying his hand.

At the vodka museum.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 04:53 pm
St Petersburg, June 10 to 13 - Last Part:

The last four days of this tour in St Petersburg were rally a great climax to this second time journey to Russia. All mornings were taken up by included tours that included the bus and walking city tour, Peter and Paul Fortress, St Isaacs Cathedral, Hermitage, Peterhof(Petrodovorets), ballet performance at the Hermitage theater, a visit to the battleship Aurora(fired a blank shot to begin the 1917 Revolution), opera at the Mariinsky Theater, and Catherine's Palace in Pushkin.

The ship provided bus service to city center daily at 2 PM, and return to the ship at 5 PM. These daily free-time jaunts into St Petersburg were really enjoyable, because it gave us the opportunity to walk around on our own to visit different places, shops, restaurants, hotels, and other places not on the official itinerary.
On my first free afternoon, I visited the Alexander Nevsky Monastery to visit Tchaikovsky's grave. I had the bus driver drop me off on their way back to the ship for lunch. It was a place I missed on my first visit to St Petersburg six years ago, and I promised myself this would be one of the places I would not miss this time. Other notables buried in the cemetery are Dostoyevsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Rubinstein. The monastery is located at the very end of Nevskiy Prospekt, St Petersburg's main street that stretches for three miles to Senate Square, about one block from the Hermitage on the Neva River. About a block away from the monastery, I ran into a Japanese restaurant, and decided to have a sushi lunch with beer there. It was delicious! After lunch, I just walked along Nevskiy Prospekt and stopped at the train station to look inside and to take some pictures. After I came out of the train station, I followed along Ligovskiy Prospekt for about a mile before I turned back towards Nevskiy Prospekt. It was now about 4:15, and I had to catch the bus at 5 PM, so I started to walk at a faster pace. Our meeting place was the Catherine the Great's sculpture in the Alexsandrinskaya Ploschad (park).
A handful of people were already waiting when I arrived at our meeting point.

On another free afternoon, I spent the time walking around Nevskiy Propkekt to look at shopping malls, grocery stores, and some hotels. I had beer at some outside café several times to watch the world go by, a pleasant way to pass some leisure time. What is interesting about spending time of Nevskiy Prospekt is simply to see how well Russians live today compared to six years ago. The restaurants, hotels, and shops are full of activity, and many young people seem to be enjoying their way of life today. Young women are wearing short-cut dresses, once an indication that the economy was good! Lots of exposed midriffs. Admittedly, it was easy on the eyes. <smile>

The ballet we were treated to at the Hermitage Theater was Gesselle. Most of the people I talked to and I thought the orchestra was the better part of the entertainment. The opera at the Mariinsky Theater was for me one of the highlights of this tour. Part I was Giuseppe Verdi's "Overture from the opera Nabucco," "Introduction from Aida," "Macbeth's aria," and "duet from Act IV of La Forza del destino." Part II was Giacomo Pucchini's "Tosca and Cavaradossi's duet from Act I," "Tosca's aria from Act II," "Cavadaradossi's aria from Act III," "Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut," "Manon's aria from Act IV," "Mimi's and Rodolfo duet from Act I of opera La boheme," and the grand finnalli, "Calaf's aria from opera Turandot" performed by Vladimir Galuzin. It was so beautiful, I cried. As some would say, it's music to die for.

It was early to rise on Wednesday, June 14, to eat a light breakfast, and catch our bus to the airport for our 6:15AM flight. It took about 18 hours to go from St Petersburg to San Francisco. I didn't suffer from jet-lag this time.
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Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 05:06 pm
C.I. That was an amazing journey. I never realized how truly lovely Russian architecture, both the old and new, could be. I felt like I was in a fairy tale. Beautifully photographed, my friend.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 05:33 pm
This was sunset, after 12-midnight, on our way to St Petersburg.

I must relate this story. In all my travels, this is the first time I met somebody I traveled with before. I met Lenore and David Levy from New York about five years ago on the Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour. Lenore traveled with Dolores, because David didn't wish to do the Russia trip.

This picture was taken when the kitchen staff broght Dolore's cakehttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v97/imposter222/06JuneRussiaxD2003.jpg

Dolores with cake.

One of the tallest cathedrals in St Petersburg.

The main staircase at the Hermitage.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 05:49 pm
On Nevsky Propekt.

By the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.

Battleship Aurora, built in 1899.

One of the halls at the Hermitage. We were told that the Hermitage has some 3 million works of art, and if one should spend one minute in front of each one, it would take over 10 years to see everything.

The square in back of the Hermitage.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 06:03 pm
Tchaikovsky's tomb.

The Russian rail system.

One of many bridges of St Petersburg. St Petersburg is known to some as Venice of the North, because of the many canals and rivers.

The palace at Peterhof.

One of many fountains at Peterhof.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 06:25 pm
Our local guide, Julia, told us this was the very first time she was the first to arrive at Catherine the Great's Palace in seven years.

The great hall at Catherine's Palace.

We were able to take pictures inside of Catherine's Palace, but were restricted in the Amber Room. When I visited here six years ago, there were no such restrictions. Also, many places now charge a fee to take pictures.

This is Emperior Nicholas II.

This is taken from the back garden.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 06:38 pm
The facade of Mariinsky Theater.

The royalty box at the Mariinsky.

A young girl being interviewd on tv on Nevsky Prospekt.

Haflway home - over Greenland.

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Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2006 09:47 pm
c.i. : thanks for sharing those great pictures with us !
seeing the picture of the flight over greenland , reminded me of a flight back from europe sometime in the 70's . when we crossed greenland we were able to see an iceberg breaking off - i think it's called 'calving' ?
it was an awesome sight - but no picture .
thanks , c.i. !
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Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 12:03 am

And hiya CI.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 12:16 am
Thanks, c.i.! Great photos, and thanks for your commentary as well!

(Crossed [south]Greenland twice recently, quite amazing.)
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Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 12:30 am
Awesome , Beautiful weather, Beatiful people, Beatiful archetecture.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 11:39 am
Here's some of my favorites.




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cicerone imposter
Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 11:56 am





BTW, I walked 82 miles while in Russia.
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Reply Tue 20 Jun, 2006 09:24 am
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 25 Jun, 2006 11:03 pm
This is a famous restaurant located between Catherine's Palace in Pushkin and St Petersburg. We were told by our local guide that Putin dines here often.

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