Sunday, December 9, 2012

Russia Trip, 2012

Dates of Russia trip:
August 30, 2012 through Sept. 13

First day in Russia:
Arrival at Moscow. Huge traffic jams called "propki".
Although we arrived in Moscow at 5PM, we did not get to our hotel "Peking" until 9PM.
The hotel is just two metro stops from the Kremlin.

Saturday, Sept. 1
Visit to the Kremlin.
Saw two palaces inside Kremlin, Cathedral Square.
Also went into the Diamond Fund. Saw Imperial regalia on display.
Imperial State crown has almost 5,000 diamonds.

That evening set off to Borodino to avoid traffic jam on Sunday.
Checked into "Yantar" hotel.

Sunday, Sept. 2
Huge re-enactment of battle of Borodino. 200th anniversary celebrations today.
Over 6,000 re-enactors. Canon, cavalry and Putin.
Grand Duchess Maria Romanov was there with her son, Grand Duke George.
My brother is on video with Putin.
Got back to Moscow at 2AM. Huge traffic jams.

Monday, Sept. 3
Private tour of Christ the Savior Cathedral
Private tour of Novodevichy monastery and Smolensk
Cathedral. Beautiful 16th century frescoes adorn the church.
Saw "Pussy Riot" grafitti.
Saw tomb of Empress Evdokia Lopukhin-first wife of Peter I "the Great".
Dinner with Prince Lopukhin. Lavish banquet with gifts!

Tuesday, Sept. 4
Tour of Armory museum in Kremlin.
Sent into St. Basil's church on Red Square.
Private tour of historic Varvarka St. in Moscow.
Novospassky monastery.
Moscow River cruise.

Wed. Sept. 5
Depart on bullet train "Sapsan" to St. Petersburg.
Arrived there just under four hours. Train went over 200kph.
It's about a 400 mile distance. Great train-smooth and very, very fast.
Checked into Hotel M in St. Petersburg, just off Nevsky Prospekt the main street in the city.

Thursday, Sept. 6
Went on a half day city tour of St. Petersburg.
Went into St. Isaac's Cathedral, saw the Winter Palace, took a photo by the statue of Peter I by Falconnet, went into St. Peter and Paul church.
Saw the necropolis of the Russian emperors since Peter I.
Saw the sepulchre of Tsar Nicholas II and His Family. It rained.

Friday, Sept. 7
Hired a local tour company to take us into the Winter Palace for a tour. Saw Hall of Heroes of 1812.
Took photo by painting of my famous ancestor General Konovnitsyn.
Got soaked walking back to the hotel. Very cold and rainy in St. Petersburg.

Later that afternoon, went to see friend from Estonia at the Roerich Museum. Had tea with the curator. Rained again in the evening. Caught a cold.

Saturday, Sept. 8
Hired a local tour guide to drive us to the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, about 45 minutes south of the city. Saw the Amber Room and the Alexander Palace where Tsar Nicholas II lived.

Sunday, Sept. 9
Went to the Kazan Cathedral for services.
Had lunch with Princess Obolenski and her husband at Cafe Singer. Cafe has great view of Kazan Cathedral.
Went to Church on Spilled Blood and Roman Catholic church of St. Catherine.

Monday, Sept. 10
Went to Gdov and former Konovnisyn estate at Kyarovo.
Was greeted by priests and local museum curator and journalist.
Spent whole day here. Saw church where General Konovnitsyn is buried.

Tuesday, Sept. 11
Met friends for lunch at Romanov restaurant.
Did some souvenir shopping. Met with Mr. Blinsky who will publish book on Konovnitsyns in 2013.

Wednesday, Sept. 12
Went to Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Saw military parade in his honor.
Visited famous cemetery to see tomb of Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin  and others.
Went on metro-subway. Much nicer than in Moscow. Easier to grasp and navigate.

Thursday, Sept. 13
Left for LAX. Flight lasted the whole day.
Glad to be home.