April 30, 2010

First day in Moscow

After a 14 hour plane ride (which really wasn't too bad) we arrived in Moscow, met Aunt Glo and Cannon at the airport and then met the driver Maxime and got something to eat. I had this idea of what Moscow would look like but since we were on the outskirts of the city it wasn't what I expected. There are tons of huge cement apartment buildings. Tons. Made during soviet times to house thousands of people, they're not too pretty.

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We passed this building painted like a cabin everyday, it reminds me of Courage the Cowardly Dog.

AG wanted to keep us awake so we wouldn't get on a bad schedule so we stopped at a mall and had our first Russian meal. Most people don't like Russian food but I think it's quite good. The soups are amazing, and the mushrooms are great here. So we had soup and little pies filled with meat, cabbage and apples. Crepes and dumplings are everywhere too. Everything has dill, I don't mind it but seth can't stand it, not that he minded it before but since it is sprinkled on everything he got sick of it really fast. Also sour cream comes with most dishes as well.

We went to Cannon's school as well and I thought this playground was so cute. All the playgrounds look like this, and after thinking about it doesn't really make sense for them to look like American playgrounds.

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When we got home seth fell asleep, I stayed up until 11, which brought my total time of being awake to about 24 hours.

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April 26, 2010

St. Petersburg - Day 3

Yusupov Palace

Our first stop was the Yusupov palace, a family who was one of the richest families in Russia outside of Royalty. What's neat about this place though, is that it was where Rasputin was murdered, after many attempts. I didn't get any pictures because it was too dark, but they had wax statues of Rasputin and all the conspirators who killed him. It was dark because sometimes men would have these rooms where they did dude stuff, and it would be all creepy looking, like a dungeon. There was also a small room that had about 10 doors and some would go places and other were just a wall. It was weird, but awesome.

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Winter Palace - The Hermitage

I could not stop taking picture of this place! I had a ton to choose from. It was right next to our hotel so we passed it a lot. It's a lot like the Summer palace we saw the previous day. Inside the winter palace was awesome because not only do you have some of the rooms that the royal family lived in, but you have a museum with some great works. I was disapointed though because two Picasso's I was hoping to see weren't there, but I did see some amazing Van Gogh's, and a Renoir I really liked.

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This building is facing the winter palace, with the big obelisk in the middle. It's a lot of fun to just walk around, let alone go inside.
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This is us attempting to do a jumping picture, seth was too embarrassed but I honestly never felt like a tourist taking these pictures, because everyone is taking pictures, and all the Russian girls like to pose for their pictures like models. Besides everyone knows jumping pictures are the best pictures.
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This statue on the left was one of my favorites, also the first Michelangelo I've seen.
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This concludes our St. Petersburg trip, we spent one more day here but I put too much faith in my camera battery and didn't bring the charger on this trip, so I only have film from those days. We visited my favorite church so far, the Church of the Spilled Blood, and we also went to this other cathedral that had steps going up to the top dome, that gives you a fantastic view of the city (I am spacing on the name of it but I'll put it in when I remember).

Moscow has been a bit different, we've been to Red Square twice now, and I've been taking more pictures of people which is a lot of fun, we did the banya which was amazing and we've been to a really cool cemetery, among other things. So stay tuned.

April 23, 2010

St. Petersburg - Day 2

Peter Paul Fortress

The second day of our trip we met our tour guide and went to the Peter Paul fortress. Russia likes their fortresses. This one is on a tiny little island, you have to walk along a bridge to get to it.

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Inside the Chapel where the family of Nicholas II is buried.
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After the chapel we visited the jail
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This is just moments before the canon went off, (it goes off at 12 everyday) and it was crazy loud.
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We went through the gate that they take prisoners to be executed, this is the view from the dock

Catherine the Great's Summer Palace

After the Fortress we made our way to Catherine's summer palace, which is about an hour drive outside the city, which wouldn't have been bad but if it wasn't spent with our lovely driver. When I first saw this palace I was blown away a bit, it's massive and totally fabulous.

I'll tell you know what I know about this place, it was built by Elizabeth the I (I think it's the Ist anyway) who owned 15,000 dresses, one for each day for 40 years. She never lived in it though, it was Catherine who lived here. She also has a Winter palace, which was right next to our hotel, I'll post pictures of this place next time, and a palace in between where she can rest. It's pretty shocking to see the extravagance these people lived in, while so many people were suffering and didn't even have food to eat. It is beautiful though, the attention to detail is amazing. Still I can't help but think how messed up it all really is. Does that make me negative?

Before going into the palace we stopped and got blineys, which are crepes with different filling, mine was mashed potatoes and mushroom, but the chocolate and banana was the best. Right next to the restaurant they had a little mini museum and I saw this anti nazi poster that I liked, a lot of the soviet art is pretty neat actually.
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This is the first room you see when you walk into the palace. So lush.
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Every palace and every church we've gone into has had fantastic ceilings, like I said the detailing is crazy, thinking about how much work went into it is mind boggling.
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As amazing as the ceilings are, you have to also appreciated the wood work in these floors.
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I liked that they didn't put any space between these paintings.
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Everything so far has been in the Baroque style, but we got to these set of rooms that are in the classical style and I liked them a lot better.
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Portrait of a young man
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If it looks like we didn't want to take this picture it's because we in fact did not want to. Aunt glo asked if she could get a picture of us with the guide, I didn't realize until later that this was for her own amusement, I had no idea why she wanted use to do this at first. She had to keep telling us to get closer.
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We took some pictures while aunt glo went to get more blineys. Tip: After walking for a whole day do not attempt to take a jumping picture. My feet hurt so bad after this shot.
In the states we have pretty much one sign for the girls bathroom and one sign for the boys, here I've seen several variations, this being one of them.

Phew. That was a lot of pictures. I am trying to keep up on blogging, I've only gotten to day 2 of our trip and we have done so much since then! I need to be better about not getting behind or I'll forget what we did.