Tag Archives: monuments

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Part Three

26 Aug

This summer feels like it just flew by.  It was a bit shorter than last year, but it was also significantly busier.  It was filled with travel and visitors, family and friends.  I have split this post into three parts in order to share photos.  This is the third of the three posts!

The third, and final, big event of the summer was a visit from Ben’s parents.  We spent a few days in Moscow, a week in St. Petersburg, and then a few more days in Moscow while they were here.  We managed to visit a TON of museums in both cities including the new Tretyakov State Gallery, the Armoury Chamber in the Kremlin, the Hermitage, the Trubetskoy and Alekseyevsky bastions and the Museum of Torture at the Peter and Paul FortressKunstkamera, the Zoological Museum, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, and the Russian Museum of Ethnography.  We covered A LOT of ground in those two weeks and I’m so happy that they were willing to make the trip over here and were up for so much site-seeing.

We happened to have good timing when we were in St. Petersburg.  Ben had previously heard that there is a day when paratroopers gather in parks, get drunk, swim in fountains, and maybe start fights.  Turns out that day is August 2nd, VDV Day, the celebration of Russia’s Airborne Forces.  We were in St. Petersburg for this and saw the gathering, drinking, and swimming, but, fortunately, not the fighting.  This holiday was actually only a few days after Navy Day which was a huge celebration in St. Petersburg given its location on the water.  We saw more gathering and drinking, and a bit of fighting that day, but not as much swimming in the fountain.

до свидания!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Part Two

22 Aug

This summer feels like it just flew by.  It was a bit shorter than last year, but it was also significantly busier.  It was filled with travel and visitors, family and friends.  I have split this post into three parts in order to share photos.  This is the second of the three posts!

After my trip to Florida, I had only one day back in Moscow before Ben and I headed off for a long weekend in Riga, Latvia.  Although it was about 10 days early, the trip was an anniversary celebration for us (nine years!).  We have managed to travel for the majority of our anniversaries, even if it was just a day trip to a nearby city.  It is nice to have a tradition that allows us to take time and do something just for us.

The weather was lovely and it was a great city to walk around and explore.  We visited the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation and the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia to learn a little more about the country.  We enjoyed dinner at another medieval restaurant and drank so much delicious (and inexpensive!) beer.  We also tried Riga  Black Balsam which was quite interesting.

We also took advantage of the timing of our trip and went to the movies to see Pacific Rim since it was in English with Latvian and Russian subtitles.  It seems that seeing blockbuster summer films in foreign countries is becoming another anniversary tradition, last year it was The Dark Knight Rises in Copenhagen.  Honestly, I think this may have been the highlight of the trip for both of us, which just goes to show how perfect we are together.

We decided on Riga after visiting Tallinn in February.  We thought it would be nice to see all three Baltic states while we are living here.  We just have to get in a weekend in Lithuania now!

до свидания!

Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

21 Jul

Space travel is kind of a big deal here, so it’s no surprise that there is a museum dedicated to it.  Yesterday, we visited this museum, the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, here in Moscow.

The museum mostly walked through the history of the Soviet/Russian space program and included a section dedicated to worldwide space endeavors.  There were original artifacts, replicas, models, photos, personal belongings of scientists involved in building the first spacecrafts and cosmonauts/astronauts, and even the actual, taxidermy bodies of Belka and Strelka, the first dogs to go into orbit and safely return.

Belka and Strelka

Belka and Strelka

The Soviet space program boasted many firsts, including the first man in space (Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, 12 April 1961) and the first woman in space (Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, 16 June 1963).  Interestingly, Tereshkova’s flight occurred only two years after Gagarin’s, but it would be another nineteen years before a Soviet woman went back into space (Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya, 19 August 1982).  The third and only other female Soviet/Russian cosmonaut to go into space to date is Yelena Vladmirovna Kondakova on 4 October 1994.  In contrast, the United States did not have a female astronaut in space until 18 June 1983 (Sally Ride), but has had a total of 45 female astronauts in space since then.

I learned a lot from our visit and would highly recommend this museum to others.  There is a lot of history, science, and fun to be had there.  The bigger models and displays included translations in English, but some of the smaller bits of memorabilia were only in Russian.  We were with a Russian speaker, but I would still have enjoyed it without translation assistance.  See below for a few more photos (all photos in this post are courtesy of Ben).

до свидания!

Friendship Is Magic

16 Jun

Ben and I were fortunate enough to have some friends visit Moscow recently.  They are friends that we met when living in Southern California, though they have also found new homes outside of Orange County.  It was so much fun to spend time with them here and to show them the city that we now call home.

FriendshipIsMagic_03

Photo courtesy of Remy and Svetlana

We did some sight-seeing, hitting Red Square (I actually went into St. Basil’s and GUM this time and we saw Lenin!), the Arbat, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.  Much food was consumed.  Many stories and laughs were shared.

FriendshipIsMagic_01

Horseradish and Honey Vodka!

Between this visit, my sister and brother-in-law’s visit, and my trips to London and St. Louis, year two has offered me the chance to catch up in-person with some really amazing friends and family.  We have definitely made incredible friends here in Moscow, but having time with all of these people has been really important.  During our first year I didn’t leave Russia between October 2011 and June 2012.  It was too much of a separation from life back in the States.  I am certainly anxious to get back to Florida again this summer to see more family and friends, but having time throughout the year to connect with people really has made a difference in my enjoyment of living here.

More photos below!

And, yes, I did reference My Little Pony in the title of this post.

до свидания!

London Calling

21 Apr

I recently had the opportunity to visit London for a long weekend.  This was my first time traveling to England and while the trip did not go exactly as planned, I still got to spend time with friends and see some sites.  The weather was beautiful for the weekend, too, which was a major bonus.

So Helpful!

So Helpful!

So, knowing that cars drive on the left side of the road and experiencing it are two very different things.  I cannot express how helpful these street signs were.  Sure, you should always look both ways before crossing any road, but this doesn’t help in actuality when you are still expecting the cars to be coming from the direction that they have come from for your entire life.

Flags Flying Half Mast for Margaret Thatcher

Flags Flying Half Mast for Margaret Thatcher

I was there the day that Margaret Thatcher died.  This shot was taken shortly after the news broke and shows some flags that had already been lowered to half mast.  By the time I heading back from taking photos here many more flags had been lowered all over the area.

When Ben asked me before the trip what I planned to do, I honestly told him that I had no agenda except to get close enough to Big Ben to take photos.  These photos were taken specifically to be posted online with this (modified) National Lampoon’s European Vacation reference.  The Griswald family’s various adventures are the source of many quotes within my family and I could not let this opportunity pass.

The gallery below has some more photos from the weekend.

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Moscow with H&K: The Metro

17 Feb

So. Many. Photos.   While this is definitely a good thing, it also means that it is going to take some time to sort through it all.  I have decided to share photos and stories from our vacation in pieces.  Hope you enjoy!

Without a doubt, one of my favorite things about living in Moscow is the metro.  It is easy to navigate, covers the majority of the city, and most of the time I do not have to wait more than two minutes for a train.  These are all of the practical reasons that I love the metro, but the added bonus is that most of the stations are beautiful.  Even the most boring stations have a significant amount of marble involved.

It can be easy to overlook these details when commuting.  There is so much hustle-and-bustle to get around  that I have been wanting to ride some of the lines from one end to the other, stopping at each station to appreciate them.  I mentioned this to Heather and Kevin, and since they wanted to see some of the stations as well, we decided to take the circle line around.  The pictures below come from the stations on this line, with the exception of the last three which are from the Mayakovskaya station on the green known.  This station was added in because it is considered one of the most beautiful and is one of the most famous in the world.

This post also marks the end of my vacation recap.  Sorry for stretching it out so long, there were just so many photos and so many adventures to share.  The good news is that I am wrapping this up just in time for our next vacation: Ben and I leave soon for Tallinn, Estonia!

Reminder: the photos are a mix of all of our photos, so big thanks to Ben, Heather, and Kevin for their contributions.  See below for the gallery!

до свидания!

Moscow with H&K: Part One

6 Feb

So. Many. Photos.   While this is definitely a good thing, it also means that it is going to take some time to sort through it all.  I have decided to share photos and stories from our vacation in pieces.  Hope you enjoy!

As much fun as it was to explore St. Petersburg, I was so excited to show Heather and Kevin where we live.

These photos are from the first part of our time in Moscow, from 30 December to 2 January.  We spent our time exploring, eating, and lounging; finding plenty of time for all three.  Some of the highlights from these days were dinners at Taras Bulba and Khachapuri, drinks at Help Bar and Dolka Bar, a metro tour (this will have its own post), taking a midnight stroll on New Year’s Eve, and visiting the main collection at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

This post is overdue, so here are the photos!

Reminder: the photos are a mix of all of our photos, so big thanks to Ben, Heather, and Kevin for their contributions.  See below for the gallery!

до свидания!