Posts Tagged With: Museums

2nd July: 2nd day in Amsterdam

Later breakfast again at 9:3,0 nice not having to be up at 6 am. A bit strange that there is no more biking until I get home.

We left the hotel and walked to the metro to head back into town to look around a bit more. We needed to make a change after one stop to get onto a different metro, as there is part of a line closed. As we got onto the next train we realised we were on the wrong train and went to get off, but only Shellbe got off before the doors closed! So much easier these days with cellphones in this situation. Very quickly worked it out and then ended up back on the same train heading into the central station.

I had wanted to go to the Anne Frank museum but had been unable to get tickets on line. They appear to be sold out for months (I later discovered more are released online daily at 8:45 and 11:30am). The website said you could buy them at the actual museum for after 3:30, so we headed off to the museum.

Outside the museum were some guides, so I asked one where we went to get tickets. His reply was “Where they are sold, when they are selling them”, so I asked when are they being sold, and no lie his response was “When we are selling them”! What a great asset he must be.

Thankfully we found another guide who had an understanding that their role was to be helpful, who advised they go on sale at 3:30 if there are any left. They don’t know until that time how many there will be. Sometimes very few. As it was only 11am I was not inclined to start queueing, and Shellbe had been there before when she was here as an exchange student.

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Outside Anne Frank House

We went off and continued looking around and came across a cheese museum. We had great fun looking at the different cheeses and trying some. The cheese came in all colours, including green (pesto as an ingredient), bright blue and bright red (not sure what was in these). We also enjoyed trying on the traditional cheese making clothes and taking photos.

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Dutch cheese maidens

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Coloured cheese anyone?

 

After this we went to a tulip museum and then decided to have a cold drink. We stopped at a place by a canal (but I guess hard not to in Amsterdam) and watched people going by.

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A’noon beverage time 🍺

At this stage Shellbe headed off for the rest of the day to catch up with a friend who was an exchange student at the same time as her, who has not longed ago moved to Amsterdam from Turkey. Brett and I had lunch and watched the crowds for awhile.

We then headed back to the Anne Frank Museum as as an ex-work colleague of Brett was in Amsterdam with his wife and they had tickets at 3pm to the museum. It was about 2:30pm and quite hot, so while we were waiting I decided to sit against the wall in the shade, and found a suitable space and sat down. I felt people tensing around me and looked up to see people glaring at me from all directions! Oops! I had just sat two spaces from the front of an exceedingly long queue of people who had been waiting for hours to get museum tickets! So I moved from there very rapidly, apologising and assuring people I wasn’t trying to get tickets. Brett caught up with his friend and wife (which was when I discovered tickets were released online twice a day).

We then went off and continued sightseeing. Later in the afternoon we caught the ferry from the central railway station to north Amsterdam, where the annual TDA alumni dinner was taking place. Given these are generally across the other side of the world from me I haven’t attended one before, but it seemed a good opportunity given we were already in the city (which of course was the reason for the timing).

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Party boat on the Brouwersgracht

The ferry that we caught was just for foot passengers and bikes. At the dinner we sat with Yvonne, Scott, Ruth, Peter and John H, who had all been on our ride. Apart from that, the rest of the diners were TDA staff or Dutch, bar one other rider who had flown in from England.

There was not really any mingling, and apart from a quick welcome from Henry and auctioning of a book, it was pretty much like any other riding day dinner of the past month, so not high on my priority list to attend another one. The food was Tapas.

A number of us shared a taxi back to the hotel.

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Bikes, bikes, bikes everywhere near Central Station

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Day 27: Wesel, Germany to Arnhem, Netherlands

89 km and basically flat.

Had to put on riding shoes that were still damp, but everything else is dry and hopefully will stay that way. The forecast has 4% chance of rain 👍.

Today riding was mostly on levees on bike paths. We went through a town called Rees where there were concrete statues of town people so had to stop and take a photo.

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Rees township

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Riverside path in Rees

Then back on the bike paths. Some bike paths are shared with walkers and some are just for bikes. This changes frequently and occasionally you are not sure which is the correct path for bikes. So a couple of times we accidentally went on the wrong path, and within a minute or two a German striding along – often with walking sticks – would politely or extremely rudely wave sticks around to direct us to the correct path.

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Countryside after Rees

There were lots of people walking dogs, and they were frequently off the the lead but when there were riders approaching they were all called to heel and sit, waiting for them to go past. Well almost all of them, a couple were joyfully ignoring any commands from their owners.

There are lots of dogs here, they are allowed on trains, buses, in restaurants and hotels.

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Bike paths, good riding, with climbing today of only 48 metres!

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Loaded coal ship passing Emmerich am Rhein

We crossed the border into the Netherlands at 49 km. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, riding on levees lots of other cyclists, walkers and dogs. Lots of canals appearing, and the pasture was very green.

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Border crossing

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Crossing the border from Germany into the Netherlands

There were quite a lot of sheep grazing along the river banks. Different from our sheep in NZ, there was one that had black spots, and quite a few black sheep.

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Black and white sheep

We got to the Hotel at 2pm, and quickly got changed and went by taxi with John W and John H to Kroller Muller museum and Sculptor park, 40 km away. When the taxi arrived I thought “this cant be for us” as it was a gleaming new Mercedes S something series, with sunroofs and leather seats. The driver (also called John) was immaculately dressed – this is nothing like the Wellington cabs. John agreed to also pick us back up at 430pm so we would be back at the hotel in time for the riders meeting.

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Driver John

The Kroller Muller museum has the second largest collection of Van Gogh in the world – 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Plus works by Monet and Picasso and many other artists. There are 25 hectares of sculpture gardens, plus a surrounding 5,500 hectares of forests, grasslands, and sand drifts. These are home to deer, mouflon (wild sheep) and wild boar. There are over a 1,000 white bikes at various places around the park that you can use for free to ride around the park. We could have spent all day here but we only had 2 hours.

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Vincent Van Gogh – Terrace of a cafe at night

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Vincent Van Gogh – Self portrait

The Kroller Muller museum represents the life work of Helen Kroller Muller. Between 1907 and 1922 she and her husband Anton bought 11,500 works of art. One of the largest private collections of the 20th century.  Helen’s dream was to have her own museum where she could share her passion with other art lovers. This dream was fulfilled in 1938 when the Kroller Muller museum opened.

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Claude Monet – Monet’s Studio Boat

I had a great time looking around but I felt like I only skimmed the surface.

John the taxi driver picked us up on the dot of 430pm, and drove us through the park grounds on the way back.

We got back to the hotel just in time for the riders meeting and dinner. I had dinner with Brett, John W, Graham, and Henry Gold. I had bell pepper soup which was rich and tasty, steak and salad with fries, cream brûlée, and red wine.

Tomorrow is the last day of riding!

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Tolkamer, The Netherlands

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My last day as a tourist

I woke up really early today, with a mixture of being excited to be going home to see the family, and sadness about saying goodbye to Europe, the tour, the tour crew and the other riders.

I had to leave at 2pm to make sure I was at the airport on time so I tried to make the most of the time I had. I went the Fado Museum; it is really worth a visit.

The Fado Museum

They had instruments on display plus a tour with head phones in English giving the history of Fado. There is also a couch area you can sit in and go through 30 of the most famous Fado artists with photos, information on them and audio recordings. It made me wish I had pushed myself a bit harder and gone to one of the many Fado bars last night.

A sign at the Fado Museum

Fado instruments, they have double stringing

At the museum on the wall there was a saying that I really liked:
“Fado is sung as if tomorrow would not happen, as if this was the last song one would ever sing”.

A picture at Fado museum – looks very relaxed

I looked around the wharf and saw the Atlantic Ocean, the river Rio Tejo, and the Ponte 25 de April Bridge, plus saw more buildings with amazing ceramic fronts.

View from the wharf area of Lisbon

The Rio Tejo (River Tagus) just as it meets the Atlantic Ocean, with the Ponte 25 de April Bridge in the background

Last night we had hugs good bye with the tour crew and Danya and Jan, and then I bumped into them all again today, so the farewell hugs were repeated. Then before I knew it, it was time to go to the airport for the long flight(s) home.

Interesting buildings in Lisbon

As many of you already knew, and others have discovered, I am a specialist at getting lost so I really appreciated the email Christiano sent to us all today:

“Getting lost will help you find yourself”

 

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Day 39: Rest day in Ljubljana

I was awake before I had to be, of course on a rest day, but was excited as I was planning on Skyping my children at 8:30am. I had breakfast and came back to the room to Skype, we chatted for over an hour, it was good to catch up! I am going to talk to them again soon but probably by phone instead of Skype, depending on what time we get to Venice.

I had arranged to go out straight away afterwards so that I would not get homesick. I met Walli and we headed off to sightsee. We spent ages (about 3 hours) at Ljubljana castle, we visited the museum up there, and went up and down on the funicular railway. We also had lunch up there.

View from Castle Ljubljana

Tourist train Ljubljana

We then went on a boat trip along the canal (or Kanal in Slovenia). There has been just about no rain this summer (usually they get lots of thunderstorms in summer) so everything is dry. The canal is lower than usual and quite stagnant. The highlight for me of the boat trip was seeing a musk rat – also called a nutria – they are really big and look a bit like otters. They can grow up to 10kg but the average is about 4kg. It was swimming along, and then just as we got our cameras ready it dived under the  water into a pipe. (Photos of these rats can be found here).

View from canal trip in Ljublijana

Canal trip Ljubljana

Church in Ljubljana (forgot the name of it)

Afterwards we looked around town, and watched a few street performers and buskers. I had dinner with Daphne, Shirley and Walli. We went to a Pizzeria called Ljubljanski Dvor – it had 102 different kinds of pizza, and we had some nice red wine with it. I had a mixture of sardines, cheese, pepperoni, tomato and onion. It was really nice but even though it was the small one, it was too big for one person.

Then it was back to hotel to pack up again, it is an early day tomorrow, with our bags out by 6am.

I have really enjoyed being in Slovenia, and Ljubljana is a beautiful city. The people are friendly, and the city is not too big and not too expensive. Slovenia has t-shirts and all sorts of other tourist stuff that says “Slovenia the only county with LOVE in its name”. A lot of people from neighbouring countries come here for honeymoons, stag dos and hen parties.

There is a large student population; the total city population is 280,000 of which 60,000 are students. Readers Digest 2008 called this the world’s most honest city. I must look up what that was based on. The national symbol is a dragon (green). Anyway, it is 10:30pm so I better go to bed.

Here are some links:

Dragon Bridge (Zmajski Most)
Old Town
Julian Alps, Slovenia
Butcher’s Bridge
Ljubljana Castle (Grad)
Copyu
Črniče
Landkarte – ÖAI EN

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Friday’s sightseeing adventures

Today I went to Peterhof to see the palace and the gardens. I went by hydro boat and went out to the Baltic Sea near the gulf of Finland. It took 30 minutes to get there. When I got there you could only buy tickets to the lower gardens at the first gate. I had a good look around – they go forever: fountains, statues, moats, small amazing buildings, also there is a beach.

Peterhof Lower Gardens, from Stephendanko)

I sat on the beach and rang my daughter Kelly as I was having trouble checking my credit card balance and needed her help. It was pretty amazing sitting on a beach in the sun talking to Kelly in winter in New Zealand. I was lucky enough that Kelly was with two of my other daughters – Tracey and Shellbe – so I got to talk to them quickly as well.

After looking around the gardens I decided to see the palace. The notice in English said “tickets inside” so I joined the line and waited for ages. Every ten or so minutes a women would pop her head outside, have a look, and duck back in. Finally the line started to move, I got near the top and asked the lady at the door if tickets were inside and she pointed that way so I gave my bag to the cloakroom and joined the line. So I get to the entrance and the women starts yelling at me and pointing, and to the Japanese chap behind me. I figure out where I have to get tickets and ask where, at which points she starts screaming in my face. The Japanese man started having a major melt down so I left him to it. It was strange – none of the tourists even blinked an eye at the commotion.

So out I go to find the ticket office, I get to an office that says clearly in English “ticket office open”. There is a queue of confused looking people, and there is a Russian guard moving a crowd control fence backwards and forwards, and lots of people trying to talk to him. I finally get up to him and after 5 minutes of him moving the barrier backwards and forwards he gets frustrated with speaking Russian to me and says in English “tickets are closed, come back at 1600”. I don’t think so, it’s only 11:30am, I will not hang around till then!

I do lurk around for 30 or so minutes visiting the chapel etc and go back past the ticket office just in case. There he is moving the crowd control barrier backwards and forwards, speaking Russian, and there is another crowd of confused people. I wonder to myself why not just lock the door and put “come back at 4pm”?

The Peterhof Palace (from Wikipedia)

So I caught the boat back to the mainland and walked around for a couple of hours taking random photos, watching the crowds, and enjoying the sun – 20 degrees today! I then returned to my mission of finding the third floor at the Hermitage Museum and I do! I am pleased I found the third floor, there were some very nice paintings and statues including some paintings and pots by Picasso. I stayed at the museum for a couple of hours looking at stuff I had not taken in the previous time, and I also found my way back to the Peacock clock. I bought a DVD that has the museum and the clock opening in it.

Peacock Clock (from Wikipedia)

I also saw the hanging garden again which I imagined as different from the reality. There are a number of hanging gardens at the palaces, they are gardens above the ground floor that the rooms open onto like an upstairs courtyard.

I then decided to go back to a restaurant that Igor had taken me to on the first day called Terrassa. It is on a roof top with a nice view so I thought it would be a great place to have a meal and a cold wine. I was pretty pleased I managed to find it! I got shown to a table and there I sat. I got the attention of the wait person a few times but no menu, after 40 minutes of no service I got up and walked out. I did tell the maitre d’ why I was going – clearly the Russians do not like single women in their nice restaurants by themself either.

Instead I went to a place along the Nevsky Prospect and had a cold beer called a Blanc and seabass and vegetables and watched the crowds.

I was walking around with my headphones playing the music on my phone today. I am not sure what I have done but the music is a mix of a continuous one song of the Doors and one of Ludovico Einaudi  and so on.

Thoughts for the day

  • The Russians have lots of coins, they have 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c, and they also have smaller than 1c – one of which says 10. The metro ticket office people get quite excited if you try to use one of those by mistake.
  • When you go to the ticket office at the metro or the museum or anywhere, you can’t actually see the people, there is a gray screen with a slot in the bottom for you to put you money in. It’s quite disconcerting especially if you not really sure what you’re doing. They don’t like you looking up at the screen trying to see in either.
  • In Russia the tourist attractions are set up for Russians,and there is an assumption that if you are not in a tour you can speak Russian.

So please note, that is two days in a row I have not got lost! I am now going with Daphne, Shirley and Wally to have a drink. Tomorrow (Saturday) we meet the other riders and have our riders briefing.

Discover Catherine’s Peacock Clock (skip to 1:16 for the clock)

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Quick Friday morning update

This morning I met a number of the tour riders at breakfast: Rob a retired accountant, and Jenny a Doctor, both from Australia, John a retired professor from Canada,  Michel from Montreal – Michel has done two of these rides already including the tour d’Afrique (the tour that originally piqued my interest in all of this), Brett from Australia, and three  ladies in their 60s who have done 3 rides before – Daphne, Shirley and Wally. They look like they will be a lot of fun. Wally’s bike did not arrive with her but thankfully it arrived a day later. The riders are friendly and seem a down-to-earth bunch, my fears of being surrounded by gazelle-like athletes clad in Lycra that will be too fast for me are unfounded.

I am off to find the boat to Peterhoff and then plan on to returning to the Hermitage this afternoon. There is an amazing clock there I want to take a photo of, it was a gift to Catherine the Great (from one of her 22 lovers). It is the size of a phone box but longer. It is gold and has a peacock, an owl, a monkey and birds. When it strikes the hour the peacocks tail opens, the owl blinks and the monkey waves its hand – hard to explain but I think it is fantastic.

Plus I do not like things to defeat me so I am going to have another go at finding the third floor at the Hermitage!

Categories: Russia | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Lost in Russia II

Today I went to visit the Hermitage Museum (the main museum here). I caught the Metro, I popped out at  Neski Prospect and met Igor as arranged. The Hermitage opens at 10.30 so we got there at 10am, even so the queue was over an hour. Igor says it can be up to 3 hours sometimes. There were so many people, an endless sea of swarming tour groups clearly trying to see the place in an hour as they barge through stopping for 30 seconds at the pictures. I spent 5 hours there, it was fantastic but also overwhelming. There are 4 floors including the ground with one corridor on each but the rooms mostly flow into each other. The ground floor has 90 rooms, the 1st floor has 189, the 2nd floor has 303 and the 3rd has 85.

The Main Staircase of the New Hermitage (from The Hermitage)

What a place! It used to be a palace and one wing is still set up like when the Tsars lived there , glorious ballrooms, reception rooms, gold and marble columns marble floors with 12 types of wood inlaid.

There was a wing of Italian painters, a wing of Dutch, rooms filled with Rembrandt, Reuben, Leonardo de Vinci and other famous artists, and many priceless ornaments. On the ground floor were artefacts from Egypt – a room full of stuff from 4 BC !!! There were rooms full of Greek statues. It was unbelievable and well worth the visit.

Art of Ancient Rome of the 1st century BC – 4th century AD (from The Hermitage)

I had wanted to go to the 3rd floor, but Igor left to go to work after we had seen the other floors and I went to the cafe for a much needed break. And then to the great surprise of all who know and love me I could not find the 3rd floor!  I went over the Museum backwards and forwards, I asked directions at least 10 times and ended up in various parts of the Museum. Once I thought I was getting it finally but no, I ended up in the cloakroom (which of course I could not find without a few attempts when I went to leave). So after visiting the rest of the Museum – some of it multiple times – the Russian roomminders that I had asked for directions starting talking fast and jabbing their fingers mostly back to the way I had come. So I decided with the swarms of people to call it a day (then of course searched for awhile to re-find the cloakroom).

I then went and sat in the sun by the canal and had a cold beer. It was $20 – but a very enjoyable setting. I sat there reflecting that there is nothing I have to do for the rest of the day, nowhere to be, no one expecting me, the time is totally mine.

Observations of the day

  • I am really bad at walking on the wrong side of the pavement. Good practice for when I bike. I am ok when concentrating but start to drift once I start looking at the sites.
  • Russian supermarkets are called Cynermarkets and they are like our 4 Squares.
  • At the rivers and canals you see students painting and sketching the amazing buildings.

Tomorrow I am meeting Igor at the Neski Prospect Metro stop again, at 10am. I am not sure where we are going, he did tell me while we were at the Museum but I did not want to tell him that not only do I get lost, not really know any of the Russian poets, writers or paintings, but I am also fairly deaf, and very deaf in background noise. So tomorrow will be a surprise.

I have not yet seen any of the other bikers yet, I have been keeping an eye out and have not seen anyone who looks likely. They should start arriving from now onwards. Mind you, I guess I probably don’t look like someone who is going to bike over 6,000 kilometres either. For all I know could have sat next to a fellow biker at breakfast already.

Categories: Russia | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Today started with good news and bad news

Good news: I found the (previously lost) instructions to make phone calls with the travel sim, so I can now do that
Bad news: The charger for phone has gone on holiday as well, and refuses to work.

Note to self: always bring two. I was confident that Igor would be able to help me find another, however it is disconcerting to not be able to find out the time, I spent the first 1/2 of the day twisting my neck at angles to see people’s wrist watches.

Today I set out to catch the Metro to town to go to the The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and Russian Art Museum and then meet Igor at the palace square at 3.30. Well, much to my surprise, and anyone who knows me, I did so without a hitch 😉

The cathedral is amazing, all mosaic panels on the inside and spectacular on the outside. It was very badly damaged in the second world war, and work was only started to restore it in 1972, it was open to public in 1980 but the restoration it is still ongoing.

Church of the Saviour on Blood (photo from FanPop)

Next I went to the Russian Art Museum, it was full of Russian art work, there were paintings dating back to the 12th century, unbelievable. One artist Valentin Serov died when he was 46 but has 5 large rooms of his art in this museum, and that’s only what’s in the ownership of this museum.

At the museum, and every other attraction, in every room is a Russian women employed to ensure you do not touch any of the walls or art. They have a chair and sit all day watching you.

I met Igor at 3pm and we went to a phone shop and I got a charger. It cost NZ$200 but at least I will now have the time and a phone again.

After getting the phone we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress built in 1703 by Peter the Great. Amazing views from the top of the battlements and interesting to see some of the places I have visited from the other side of the river.

Peter and Paul Fortress (from In Your Pocket)

A few observations of the city:

The St Petersburg traffic of course is on the opposite side of the road as what I am used to so I have to be careful. I also have to be careful as although the speed is meant to be 40km through the city, the cars are going much faster. I certainly would not recommend trying to duck across the road in between traffic like we do at home.

Smoking is very common here and people smoke every where – the restaurants, in hotel lobbies, taxis, even the ambulance crews drive around smoking.

It’s funny the things you miss when you are in another country and often not what you would expect: I miss being able to drink tea at the hotel, there are no jugs in the room or tea making facilities. So by breakfast I hit the restaurant like an addict looking for a fix. The cups are tiny so I gulp down 3 to 4 before even thinking about eating. Today I saw people using the porridge bowls as cups so they can get a decent size cup.

The Metros are amazing, they were built just before the second world war. You go down a very deep escalator to get to them, and they go under the river. There are 5 lines and they run constantly every 3-5 mins in the busy period and I asked Igor how often they ran off peak – he said every 10 minutes, unbelievable.
Also unbelievable is that on the way down the escalator all the Russians stand in single file so that if people are in a rush they can get past with no problem (such a rush they can’t wait the couple of minutes to the next train?).   I had not appreciated this system at first but after being nearly bowled twice I quickly learnt. The ride is very cheap, the equivalence of 10c (the only cheap thing I have found in St Petersburg but more on that later). Also the teenagers stand up to let the old women sit down. No, not me, I said old.

The weather is about 18 to 19 degrees, but although the weather report said it would be fine when I checked it before I left, so far each day there has been a couple of hours of very heavy rain. Unfortunately due to the weight restrictions with my luggage, the only water jacket I have is my riding jacket, which is a vivid yellow reflective jacket, which happens to be the very same style and color as worn by the street cleaners. So if I get rubbish that needs seeping pointed out to me I will know why.

The average wage in St Petersburg is equivalent to 6000 euro a year but it is a very expensive city, you could easily go through that in a fortnight. I have managed to spend $1500 in 3 days (this includes a trip to Pushkin to the Amber room, the 8th wonder of the world on Thursday). To give you an idea, a hamburger and chips cost NZ $40 at the hotel! Luckily for the bank balance this rate of spending will cease when the bike trip starts.

Categories: Russia | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lost in Russia

When I went to sleep last night it was light – and when I woke up it was light! Not surprising given it doesn’t get dark till 11:30pm and dawn is at 4am, but twilight finishes at 1:15 and starts at 2:30!

I woke up around 6am and sorted out some stuff then went down to have breakfast. There were all sorts of different foods, some I will try over the next week and some … maybe not … but I settled on porridge and pancakes. The pancakes were what we would call pikelets and came with jam and a type of sticky custard.

At 8:40am I set off with my fail safe directions to met Igor at the palace square.  I felt quite  confident at first , then it started pouring and then I realized I was lost. I spoke to a couple of people but they did not speak English. To add to my confusion, there was a marathon taking place so every time I wanted to cross the street I had to dodge runners! At one intersection the green light to walk was not going and when I was waiting at a major intersection, there were two traffic police, one was yelling at me but of course it was in Russian so I had no idea what he was saying and he started to sound quite angry, so in the end I ran across a gap in the traffic and the runners. Probably what he had been yelling at me to do as he didn’t shout at me when I was running.

After walking for quite a while I found a taxi and arrived at the square.  It took me awhile to find Igor as our meeting point was also the finishing point for the marathon, and there was a crowd of people (I should have just followed the runners!). Luckily Igor was still waiting for me, even though I was nearly an hour late. Igor had not realized the marathon was  happening, but he was a gentlemen to not mention that the first runners had just come in, and had I been on time there wouldn’t have been a crowd.

The first thing we did was to go for a walk and see so many amazing buildings, palaces everywhere and cathedrals and buildings all with the most amazing and detailed sculptures, turrets, and intricate design. There are so many museums and art galleries I would need to be here for a month to visit them all. There is a museum of curiosities, the main museum has paintings by many famous artists and there is a huge museum with art of only Russian artists.

Today I saw the famous statue of Peter that took 12 years to build, and we went into St Isaac Cathedral – first we went up 250 steps to the 2nd level where you can walk around the outside and see the views. My mind is reeling with all the cathedrals, museum, and art galleries you could see. We then went inside, oh my god it was so beautiful, I had tears in my eyes. A lot of the paintings are not actually paintings but mosaic works. This place took 50 years to build and is on the site of 3 previous cathedrals. We then had something to eat at a restaurant made famous as Pushkin used to write his poetry there. He had supper there before he left for a duel – he died three days later from injuries from this duel.  Then we set off to St Catherine cathedral, which was also beautiful .

We went on a boat trip around the waterways river and canal, and saw many beautiful things. We sailed around the Peter and Paul fortress. Igor took me and showed me where the Russian Museum was next to a cathedral that
was built for the memory of Alex the 2nd to commemorate the spot where he was killed.

Igor then arranged that tomorrow I will meet him at the same place as today but in the afternoon and I will visit the Russian museum and the above cathedral first.

To facilitate this happening, Igor took me to the Metro and caught the Metro with me and then walked me to where I could see the hotel, thereby ensuring that I would not keep him waiting tomorrow and would get back to my hotel safely. He also programmed his cell phone and a taxi number into my phone for me.

I have taken lots of photos but even if I could follow instructions in Russian, the internet terminal here was born long before this technology was possible. So I will do this when I am able.

Now I’m off to put plasters on a couple of blisters, have something to eat and then bed. It is 9:17pm here, so about 5am in New Zealand I think.

Categories: Russia | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments