Posts Tagged Russia

Moscow, Russia

I enjoyed Moscow a lot more than St Petersburg. Although there is less water, the feel of the city was much more enjoyable and life here seems more pleasant. Of course, there is also much more wealth. I just felt safer. St Basil is an incredible cathedral that I could probably look at all day- the colors, architecture, spirals, etc is all amazing. St Basil and the square at night is an especially enjoyable scene. I enjoyed seeing the Kremlin, walking around the streets which have countless churches with golden domes, navigating through the subway, and of course stopping in at cafes to see the local hangout spot and cuisine. The museum at the Kremlin was breathtaking. We were not allow to take photos though. See more highlights below-

Top things to do in Russia:

–       Visit the Kremlin, the consummate symbol of Russian power with great sentimental relevance to Russians to this day. It’s surrounded by a red brick wall, with many gates, towers, cathedrals, and palaces amongst the area, and depicts a comprehensive view of Russian history.

Inside the Kremlin is an amazing museum called the Armory that has fascinating artifacts dating back to the 17th and 18th century. Imagine horse drawn carrages, silverware made of gold and pearl, past family artifacts, swords, royal crowns and so much more. It is the best museum I have ever seen with surreal objects I thought only existed in fairy tales.

–       See St. Basils Cathedral

–       Ride the Moscow Metro and see the elaborate stations

–       Wander the streets looking at the unique buildings and lovely golden domes

–       Try Borsch soup- based on beet root, some other veggies such as onion, and maybe some meat broth. It’s a pinkish color, like beets, served with a bit of sour cream- Delicious!

–       Visit the Artists Gallery Restaurant, which offers a delicious lunch and a “larger than life” sculptures of Moscow’s most controversial contemporary artists: Zurab Tsereteli.

–       Visit Red Square and the famous GUM department store, the largest store in the world. It also gets lit up at night and has a fancy interior.

–       Visit the Park of Fallen Idols where sculptures both modern and historical remain of historical figures, and others relating to history, etc.

–       Visit the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a beautiful both inside and out. It has a massive golden dome and can be seen from many areas of the city.

–       Get a panoramic view of Moscow from the o2 lounge on the top level of the Ritz Carlton, located across from Red Square.

– Watch the changing of the guards

– Notice how almost anywhere you eat/drink, a shot of vodka will be cheaper than water


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St Petersburg, Russia

The first day in St Petersburg, Russia was when we were fortunate enough to listen to former Russian President, Mikhail Gorbachev, give a speech. Of course, he had a translator, however it inspiring to hear a man who did so much for his country, for his world. I was interested in his current world and politic view. It was quiet the treat to see and listen to such an historical icon who helped lead the USSR reform.

That evening, and after unpacking at the hotel, we attended a Ballet performance of Black Swan at the famous Hermitage Museum theater. It is one of the oldest theaters in Russa and was build by Catherine the Great around 1785. I cant believe it’s still there in one piece! The hermitage was at one point St Peter I’s  winter palace. I enjoyed the ballet, although it was a bit long with two intermissions.

On Saturday Sept 10,  I explored the famous, and most popular European Museum, The Hermitage Museum is also the former Winter Palace. It’s huge. I was at it for about three hours and probably only saw about 10% of it, if that. It was incredible though and I can understand why it’s so renowned.  Each room has a a story of the past with it and are uniquely decorated. When you walk in you come to this large marble stair case with sculptures on the wall and gold decorations. It’s impressive. I felt like I was in the castle of Beauty and the Beast. Amazing that things like that, found in all Disney movies, actually exist. Of course, that’s what I’m starting to realize about all of Europe, it helped create Disney. In the Hermitage I was brought back to my college art history course. For the first time I saw paintings by some of the best artist- Monet, Van Gough, Leonardo Divinci, etc. I couldn’t believe the fine art collection, definitely the highlight of the morning!

In the afternoon I visited Peter & Paul’s Fortress, a small building with a tall golden steeple object, very vibrant, and can be seen all over St Petersburg. Besides the gold steeple, the rest of the outside was not that scenic. I was surprised to see many newly wed brides walking around and getting photographed though. I guess its considered a very beautiful part of Russia? The inside of the fortress was beautiful. The interior was decorated with walls of white, minty green, light pink, and of course some gold. It is here some famous bodies and coffins remain.

I also saw St. Issac’s Cathedral, which in my opinion was unimpressive and just another church. It is  the 4th highest domed cathedral in Europe though, and had an elegant stain glass wall. Through the quick weekend in St Petersburg I also visited the Summer (right photo) and Winter Palace (left photo). The summer palace was primary the residence of Elizabeth around 1744. The two elegant palaces, colorful, with insides the look remind me of everything I’ve seen in Disney movies, especially Beauty and the Beast– grand staircases made of marble, fine paintings, rooms made with gold, royal red thrones, long tables for eating, mirrors, and everything else. The gardens were especially profound with trees cut like Alice in Wonderland style, bright colorful flowers of all sorts, and unique fountains in various areas. WOW. What a treat.

SO much history, so many buildings, so much to remember…enjoy some photos….

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