August 16, 2007

Russia (cont.)

I hope the pictures were worth waiting for! Here is the itinerary and links to the pictures for each town.

The less said about the journey from a rain drenched Heathrow to a late arrival in Moscow the better!

Saturday – A tour of the city with plenty of photo stops including a trip on the metro. Later we went off to view Moscow by night.

Sunday – Started with a tour of the Kremlin and the Armoury before sailing in the afternoon. Pictures of Moscow

Monday – Arrived at Uglich in the early afternoon and we were escorted on a walking tour of the town. Pictures of Uglich

Tuesday – Arrived at Yaroslavl early in the morning to be taken on a city tour by bus. Enjoyed some free time in the town market, and can recommend the pickled cucumbers! We sailed retracing the Volga to continue the journey. Pictures of Yaroslavl

Wednesday – Arrived mid-morning at Goritsy and taken by bus to the monastery at Kirillov. We left here mid-afternoon. Pictures of Goritsy & Kirillov

Thursday – Up until now the weather had been very good, but today it is raining and we are due to arrive at the island of Kizhi at 5pm. This is supposed to be the most beautiful part of the trip. All the buildings are built totally of wood. The large church has 22 cupolas and the small one, which is the only one open, has10. The quality of these pictures is way below the standard that I expect from myself, but the rain was pouring down the whole time! Pictures of Kizhi

Friday – Midday arrival at Mandrogi, a reconstructed peasant village set up as a “kitsch” catch! Here you see all the art and crafts of Russia demonstrated and sold to tourists. We did see one artist from the St Petersburg school of art and broke our vow not to buy a picture. I can only describe it as a modern Breugel. It is a view of Uglich in the winter and a horse has fallen through the ice. All the villagers are out trying to help and carrying on with whatever Russians do in the winter. Pictures of Mandrogi and other events whilst cruising, including the Captain’s farewell dinner. We think he jumped ship that nigh! Pictures of Mandrogi & Cruising

Saturday – The First Mate brought us into St Petersburg early in the morning and we were taken on a tour of the city, including the Peter & Paul Fortress. In the afternoon we went on a trip to Pushkin, the modern name for the town of Sarskoe Selo where the Catherine Palace is to be found. WOW! What a palace!. In the evening we went to a Folklore performance of traditional song and dance. This was the old Russia. Pictures of St Petersburg

Sunday – We went on the official tour of the Hermitage until lunchtime and then stayed on in the afternoon. This museum is like no other I have ever visited. They say that if you spend one minute looking at each artefact on display during all the opening hours of the museum; it would take you 8 years to cover everything! Having been there, this is not difficult to believe. We travelled back to the ship by Metro which is quite an experience in itself. St Petersburg is built on marshland, so the Metro has to be very deep. It is about two and a half to three times as deep as the London Underground and the ride down on the escalators – faster than London - takes at least three minutes. A quick shower and change of clothes and back to the Hermitage Theatre for a performance of “Giselle”. There is no doubt that when Catherine the Great built this theatre for her friends, she certainly did not intend that they should go to sleep. These were the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in!

Monday – Lazy morning this morning and then into town to the Yusopov House where Rasputin was killed at least four times! We then walked to the great synagogue and then by taxi and metro back to the ship.

Tuesday – Departure from the ship and transfer to the Moscow Hotel. This is an enormous edifice with at least 1,000 rooms at the lower end of the Nevski Prospekt. We eventually settled in and slipped next door to McDonalds for lunch. After this we went over the road to the necropolis of the monastery to view the tombs of the great writers and composers. It is overwhelming to think of the amount of talent buried in this one cemetery. The photos will list the main ones we saw. Dinner at the hotel and packing for departure tomorrow.

Wednesday – After looking forward to a real hot shower, we were disappointed to find that there was no hot water! The floor service assured us it would be back by 9 am, but it did not arrive until 11.45! We had to be ready to leave at 12.30, so there we were ready to fly out having settled for cold showers in the morning! What a way to end the holiday.

Posted by jeff at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2007

From Russia With Love!

St Basil's Cathedral

Yesterday we arrived back from twelve days in Russia. We started in Moscow for two days and then on a river cruise to Saint Petersburg for the final three days. I have a mass of pictures to sort out and will post these as soon as I have edited them. I will also post a journal of the trip.

Posted by jeff at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)