Tag Archives: travel

Jewish Museum, Berlin

Travels with Tim and Lisa

We began our day in Berlin with a rather forgettable city sightseeing bus tour.  To put it charitably, perhaps because Berlin is designed to be pedestrian and bike-friendly the roads don’t go past very interesting places?  The route mostly took us past dull apartment buildings and shops rather than places of historic or artistic interest.  I think it’s a shame that in a city where they had/have the opportunity for post-reunification rebuilding, their architecture is so unimaginative.

Anyway, we got off the bus at the Jewish Museum.  It is a very moving experience to visit this place, which consists of two buildings.  You enter through the old Berlin Museum and go downstairs to enter the new building which is a twisted zig-zag reminiscent of a misshapen Star of David.  But we didn’t enter straight away: there was a cafe where they were selling real Jewish cheesecake, the kind my neighbour Mrs Kuperholz…

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Marriott Hotel, Moscow 25.8.12

Travels with Tim and Lisa

Moscow 25.8.12 011

Moscow 25.8.12 012Today we said farewell to the lovely staff at the Swissotel Krasnye Holmy and moved to the Grand Marriott where tomorrow we will meet up with the rest of the tour.

Once we were settled in we had a bite of lunch in the one of the hotel restaurants, and I had a manicure in the beauty parlour. Travel is very hard on the nails, and the hard water here has made my hair strangely curly too, so I could easily have spent the whole afternoon being pampered but we took a walk instead.

The Marriott is right in the centre of Moscow, a stone’s throw from the Kremlin and surrounded by dozens of shops and restaurants – including MacDonalds.  Compared to the Swissotel, the pace here is positively frenetic, and what’s really interesting is that there’s a whole lot of street life going on underground as well, as we…

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Tretyakov Galleries Old and New, Moscow 23.8.12

Travels with Tim and Lisa

Most tourists with only a day or two in Moscow see only the permanent collection at the Tretyakov Gallery, because it’s centrally located near the major hotels and everybody recommends it.  It houses Russian Art from the 11th Century to the beginning of the 20th Century, so it has all the gorgeous icons and the kind of 18th & 19th century paintings that most people really like.  Of course it’s a must-see, but if you can venture a little further afield, it is well worth going to see the other Tretyakov Gallery as well…

Nobody here has even mentioned the New Tretyakov Gallery which houses the collection of Soviet art, and we would have missed it too if we hadn’t had a copy of Frommer’s Moscow Day-by-Day which showed us that it was nearby.  Our hotel (the Swissotel Krasnye Holmy) is in the business district and so for us the  New Tretyakov Gallery was just a short taxi…

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Moscow 23.8.12, Tolstoy and Chekhov Tour

A pleasant day in the Russian countryside.

Travels with Tim and Lisa

It is beginning to dawn on us that here in Moscow, Australians are exotic. It is standard operating procedure for us to announce our origins, lest anyone think we are Americans, and each time our announcement is met with surprise, a broad smile and an effusive welcome.  Nobody really knows where Melbourne is, and they all think we must be missing the hot weather, but they are delighted we are here, and are even more delighted to show off their fascinating country.  It’s very nice.

Anyway, today we made our pilgrimage to Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy’s estate outside Moscow, and in the afternoon, to Chekhov’s.  The tour was excellent, and even though it was rather expensive, it is probably going to be the highlight of our trip. It was a private small group tour in an 8 seater people-mover, but Tim and I were the only tourists so we had it…

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Grand Tour of Moscow 25.8.12

Reminiscing about Russia, for no particular reason.

Travels with Tim and Lisa

This was the first day of our tour with Cox and Kings and so we met up with Irina our guide and set off on the coach with our driver Sergei for the Grand Tour of Moscow.  I think we saw everything of significance that there was to see – the Seven Sisters which are mega buildings commissioned by Stalin, Moscow University, the ring roads, assorted bridges, lots of gorgeous churches and many fine buildings dating from the 18th century and so on.  We went to the Arbat which is a pedestrianised street in central Moscow where tourists like us buy silly Russian hats and drink complementary shots of Vodka (and yes, we did both, and bought some nice presents for our friends), but we resisted buying any Babushkas.  It’s very late now and I’ve had a cocktail or two so it’s all a bit of a blur, but what…

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Ten Best Things about Russia

Travels with Tim and Lisa

Back home again, and still scrapbooking our trip to Russia … I’ve had time to reflect and share my thoughts about it all.  While Aussie tourists have been ubiquitous on all our previous travels, in Russia we found ourselves exotic.  ‘From Avstralia’, they would say in delighted astonishment, ‘a long way!

Well, yes, of course it is, but Australia is a long way away from everywhere and the long-haul flight to Moscow isn’t much different to a long-haul flight to London or Paris or Rome.  The tyranny of distance doesn’t explain why so few of us venture to Russia.  So, here are my Ten Best Things about Russia to entice you!

1.  Visiting Russia will clear your head of all those obsolete grey Cold War preconceptions that you have from the movies.  Moscow is a dynamic, exciting city full of interesting things to see; St Petersburg is one of the most beautiful…

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