Monday, April 27, 2009

Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery

Please read about the Convent that was built in 1524... Another Unesco World Heritage Site (other was the Lavra in Kiev) that I was able to visit! Apparently Peter the Great put two unwanted wives here :)

Ok, we are going backwards again... Below is the cemetery - this is Boris Yeltsin's grave. It is the Russian Flag waving. The cemetery was quite interesting. The headstones all (except this one) are very personal, and many have pictures of the person - like etchings, and some sculptures...

This was the walkway between the convent and cemetery. I thought these little ducks were cute!

This little dog - his stick was much bigger than him!

I know - so many pictures of flowers... but these had bloomed! Funny thing - they were by the mens toilet....Not sure what that means.

Here is the Convent. There were several buildings and if you read the link above, you will know what they are.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Today, I spent the day at a park near the Kremlin and at New Maidens' Convent and Cemetary. Today, I'll probably only post the first set of pictures.
Here is a nice fountain near Red Square - not sure when they turn the fountains on - but I think probably in May.
Picture of person sleeping on a bench while no one seems to notice... See the guy - the second to right of the sleeping man - well, he had a boombox, and was playing some CD that seemed to be for sale.
I'm not really sure what these people were doing, but they were singing a song about Stalin.
Nice fountain inside GUM mall. Notice the blooming cherry trees - they are not real! But, they sure are pretty!
I am quite proud of this picture. Remember before I told you of a spot near Red Square that is supposed to be the center of Russia - where you toss a coin? Well, here it is without the snow. So, here we have a babushka (grandmother) and a devushka (like lady - not a young girl). I think the babushka was trying to pick up the coins that were being tossed for luck. Notice how nicely the devushka is dressed, pretty coat, belt, and high heels... Oh, here, it is quite acceptable to yell, "devushka" when trying to get your waitress' attention in the restaurant.
Fairy tale fountain!
The garden outside of the Kremlin is going to be beautiful when all of these tulips bloom! I can't wait to see it. Bulbs are coming up everywhere!
View from right outside Kremlin wall.
When I walk to the Kremlin from my apartment, this is where I go. I really like this area. People sitting around on the benches, the hill, just a peaceful area. That is what I realized today, people will just sit for hours and talk here in the parks - I don't really think we do that too much in the US. I think our parks are designed with something other than sitting in mind.

On my way, today I went a street over. I saw this sign in flowers for Yakimanka Street. There is also a flower sign for Moscow, and a clock, but it seems the flowers are not there yet.

I'll post the other pictures tomorrow. The New Maiden's Convent was really nice, and I saw Boris Yeltsin's grave. Very, very nice spring day in Moscow!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday - Shopping and Spring

Usually I sort my pictures in chronological order, but I am tired tonight. I heard some fireworks going off tonight, and looked out my balcony - here is a picture of my view.
Some spring flowers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!
Nice green grass!
Sparrow Hill
So, I told you before that people get married, and then go around Moscow taking pictures and drinking at all of the tourist spots. Since Lent is over, the weddings are happening again, and we saw alot of people taking pictures today!
Drinking in public is very acceptable here. Notice the champagne bottles on the ledge. Amazingly, it does not seem to get out of hand. I mean, you do see people really drunk sometimes staggering in the metro - but they are not aggressive.

Make your own party!

Sparrow Hill is a look-out point at Moscow State University. Here is the main building of the University.
This seemed to be a gathering of super-cool cars and their owners. I realize my picture cuts off most of the good part of the convertible section - sorry - but there was a group gathered, music was playing, and there seemed to be some breakdancing going on...
Another example of drinking in public.
Nice rows of birch trees!
More builidings of MGU
So, I was shopping today at a really nice mall - and came across this Tshirt that had "Tennessee" on it, so of course I bought it. When I got home, I researched if this place was real.... I did find information on "Joe's Farm," but so far no "Joel's Farm"... oh well - pretty cool to find here in Moscow!

I do feel a huge relief that it seems spring is here. Everyone who knows me, knows I love spring time - all of the wildflowers and being out in nature. Seeing the flowers today gives me hope, and reminds me of renewal.
I don't talk about work here, but it is quite challenging and things move very slow here. I love the people and the city - but it seems that every day, I revise my strategy of how to move forward.
Tomorrow it is supposed to be 70F - I am trying to learn Celsius - that is maybe like 20 C?. I think I will walk up to the Kremlin in the morning, and spend the afternoon in another park with a friend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pictures for the men!

These pictures are from St. Petersburg, and I did not take them. Stacy did. There was some war/military musem that was closed, but these tanks and rocket launchers were around to look at and climb on!

I really don't know what any of these are, but if you want to know, I'll ask Stacy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Birthday!

Was yesterday. Here, it is quite a celebration. It is sort of the opposite of the US (and seems to be Europe) - as when it is your birthday - you do something for other people. If you invite people out - you are expected to pay for it all. In return, you get beautiful flowers and a very sincere congratulations!

So, in one office, I ordered pizzas, the other office, I had cakes and candies.

Here is a picture of my first bouquet of flowers!

Then, at the other office some of my neighbor co-worker girls left me these flowers and candy!

Then, yet more flowers! And a gift certificate to a spa!

I like birthdays in Russia!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Happy Easter to those following the Catholic schedule. Orthodox Easter is next Sunday here in Russia.

In my family, every year we make this bunny cake. It is made using two round cakes, and then you cut the ears out and what is left is a bow-tie! Dad sent me a picture of the cake this year. Sometimes we use different things to make the whiskers and the tie - looks like Dad used alot of icing this year!

Next Saturday night, I am hoping to do this tour - EASTER NIGHT IN MOSCOW. Celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by going to four of the oldest Russian Orthodox churches in Moscow. You will visit the Church of the Archangel Gavriil, the Church of All Saints, and the Church of the Deposition of the Lord’s Robe as each prepares for Easter service. The decoration of the alter and the blessing of the Easter Cake are two of the Russian Orthodox traditions you will witness. Finally, you will attend Easter night service at the Church of John the Warrior.

I'll let you know how that goes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My next trip & Spring in Moscow!

In a few weeks, I will be going to Italy. I've had this yoga retreat on my list for awhile, but now it is much easier to get to, and everything just worked out.

I look forward to wandering around eating pasta and pizza and going to the hot springs.

Afterwards, I will spend a few days in Rome.....

Right now, my current travel list contains the following cities - Prague, Budapest, Istanbul, Krakow, Split Croatia....

Today was the first really nice day in Moscow. Warmer and sunny. It was probably in the high 40s. I walked up to Red Square and looked a the gardens near the Kremlin. There were little bulbs poking through the ground, and that was a nice re-assurance that Spring is coming. I can't wait to see things in bloom!

When I walked home, I did see some crocus that had bloomed. Very nice!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Caves of Thousand Buddhas

This was quite an iteresting exhibit - Russian expeditions on the Silk Road. There were alot more displays, but alas, you can't capture them all!