Tag Archives: parks

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!

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Spring!

16 Apr

Springtime in Moscow

It’s been just over two weeks since our last snowfall and it is FINALLY feeling like spring outside.  I am on spring break this week and it could not have come at a better time.  I am thoroughly enjoying the blue skies and sunshine and can already feel a difference in my overall attitude.  I cannot describe how amazing it feels to leave the house without having to put on boots and a puffy jacket.

This photo was taken this afternoon in a park a few blocks from home.  I had already run my errands for the day, but figured if I was going to spend some time reading I really should take advantage of the weather.  There were so many people out, some with baby strollers, others with friends or significant others, and a few out alone like me.  It really is incredible to see the difference in the neighborhood so quickly.

In case the weather was not enough, another reason to feel confident that it’s finally spring is that the city has started painting!  This morning I noticed the smell of paint coming in through the window and, sure enough, when I left home they had started repainting all of the gates and curbs outside my building.  This is an annual event in which bridges, gates, curbs, and statues citywide are given a fresh coat of paint.  It is a major contributor to how beautiful Moscow looks in the spring.  Click here for an example of the freshly painted gates outside my building.

I hope the weather is equally lovely where ever you happen to be reading this. 🙂

до свидания!

Copenhagen!

27 Jul

As I mentioned in my last post, Ben and I went to Copenhagen, Denmark to celebrate our anniversary. This was the first time either of us spent a vacation in a European city, so it was pretty exciting.

The city was lovely. From what we saw it was clean, easy to navigate, and friendly. It was amazing to see a city that was overwhelmingly bicycle-friendly, too. Supposedly a third of the population of Copenhagen commutes by bike and we certainly saw everything from casually dressed tourists to men and women in business dress and fancy shoes.

We did not have any specific plans for our time there and mostly walked around the city for the two days. We saw a lot, but didn’t necessarily do a lot. We did manage to pass/see Tivoli Gardens, The Little Mermaid, Kastellet Fort, City Hall Square, Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen Opera House, and Christiania.

We were warned ahead of time that it was a bit of an expensive city and found this to be true. We ended up not doing too much that actually required money, but we did treat ourselves to a very nice dinner at the Brewpub on our anniversary. The food was amazing and they offered beer menus that matched beers with your specific courses for a complementary taste.

We also saw The Dark Knight Rises while we were there. This may seem like an odd thing to do while on vacation, but it was actually the best way for us to see it in English. From what we have found, unlike Moonrise Kingdom, a movie this big would only be found dubbed in theaters here. In Copenhagen, it was subtitled in Danish so we could still watch it in English.

Which leads me to one of the nicest things about the trip: how English-friendly Copenhagen is. I don’t think we encountered a single person who did not speak English and there appeared to be no ill-will towards us for requiring it. I was always nervous about the idea of traveling to a city in which English was not the first language and Moscow did nothing to change those feelings. Copenhagen, though, reminded me that Moscow is special.

Here are some photos. Enjoy!

Out for a Walk

27 May

With no destination in mind, Ben and I went for a walk yesterday afternoon to enjoy the beautiful weather. I think I have mentioned this before, but we love our neighborhood. We haven’t taken nearly enough time to explore, though, and hope to remedy that this summer. All of these photos were taken along our walk and the furthest we went was about 2 km/1.25 miles towards city center. 

до свидания!

Novodevichy Cemetery, Convent, and Pond

20 May

Today was spent at the Novodevichy Cemetery, Convent, and Pond. The weather was warm, but beautiful and made for an enjoyable excursion. I decided that the only way this blog would be posted tonight was if I made it light on words, but heavy on photos, so if you would like more information about the cemetery or convent use the links above.

The tombs below include Nikita Khrushchev, Alexander Lebed, Raisa Gorbachova, Sergei Eisenstein, Peter Kropotkin, Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol, Constantin Stanislavski, and Boris Yeltsin.

Here are the photos!

до свидания!

Another Day in Moscow

26 Feb

Yesterday, we took a field trip to the Russian State Library (Российская государственная библиотека).  Our attempts to see the Library without dealing with administrative hassles were thwarted, but we managed to register for five year memberships with surprisingly little trouble.  What we saw of the Library was amazing – aisles and aisles of card catalogs mixed with electronic catalog stations, scholarly reading rooms, collections of art, and, of course, lots of marble. 

The Russian State Library's Main Building

Here, books are requested and sent to designated reading rooms for users to access, not browsed/self-collected and checked out.  With over 43 million items in the collection, including some in English, I hope that Ben and I both have the opportunity to use the resources available during our stay here.  If nothing else, it will be an amazing place to go if we need to get away from our usual workspaces.

Since we were near the center of the city, we decided to walk to a park that was about 2 km away.  This walk included a “Wow, we live in Russia” moment when we quickly popped into the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour simply because we were walking past and, well, why not?

"War" Vice Statue

Our destination was Bolotnaya Square to see the sculpture garden entitled Children are the Victims of Adults’ Vices.  It is pretty much as crazy as it sounds with sculptures depicting the following vices: advocating violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, exploitation of child labor, for those without memory, ignorance, indifference, poverty, prostitution, pseudoscience, sadism, theft, and war.

Also in the park, there was a very small Maslenitsa festival happening with blini carts, pony and horse rides, and folks dressed in traditional outfits singing and dancing.  This is a week long celebration that will conclude today with the burning of Lady Maslenitsa, a straw effigy that looks like a babuska.

Newlyweds' Locks on Luzhkov Bridge

Next to the park is Luzhkov Bridge, which contains metal “trees” on which newlyweds affix padlocks before throwing the keys into the river below.  Once filled, the trees are moved to the path next to the river where they remain while the locks rust with age.  It seems like an amazing tradition and we were able to see at least four couples celebrating with family and friends.  Shouts of “горькa!” (pronounced gorka, meaning bitter) could be heard to encourage the couples to kiss to make it sweeter – a tradition that we learned at our friends’ wedding last October.

It was an amazing day of appreciating and enjoying the city.  The gallery below has some more photos from the day.

до свидания!