Thursday 28 May 2009

Beauty in the metro...or Московский метрополитен!

The metro in Moscow is famous as the "the people's palaces"...and this has a reason. If London metro is the oldest, then one can claim that the Московский метрополитен is the most beautiful one!

One feels like in a castle, overwhelmed by the elegant designs and lavish and profuse use of marble, mosaics, sculptures and chandeliers.Built during Stalin's rule, these metro stations were supposed to display the best of Soviet architecture and design and show how privileged the lifestyle of the Russian people was. It was inaugurated on 15th May 1935, boasting just 13 stations. Today the Metro system has grown into an enormous network of 11 lines and over 160 stations, with new stations opening every year.

My favourite one is the Novoslobodskaya Station (just above), which was opened in January 1952. Designed by the architects Dushkin and Strelkov, the station is perhaps the brightest and most ornate station on the Moscow underground and features beautiful stained-glass windows crafted in Riga! enjoy this beauty with your eyes and dont miss a metro-tour, once you get there:-)

Monday 25 May 2009

About Sergiev Posad and the locals...

Sergiev Posad (Се́ргиев Поса́д) and its cultural&art monument The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius (Russian: Тро́ице-Се́ргиева Ла́вра) is the most important and a very loved monastery complex in Russia...Its history started in 1345 with the building of a small wooden church in the woods north of Moscow. Through the years it served as a refugee place to ome kings and helped Russians win some important fights.

We were really happy to make the 70 km to it in around 2 hours as traffic in and around the city is terrible! The sun also came out once we arrived there, so we could enjoy in full glance the blue cupolas covered with golden stars of the Assumption Catherdral, the little fountain bringing water from deep, the colourful icons decorating the inside of the churches...

The complex reperesents a small fortress and once entering the main entrance one feels in another (definitely quietter than Moscow city) world...Sergiev Posad is still functioning as a man-monastery and some monks were moving between us (there are around 300 still living there). We tried the typical drink kwas(квас), which is made from rye and barley (very tasty) and just relaxed in the calm garden of the complex.

On the way back some cute typical Russian wooden houses caught our eyes.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Priwet from Москва/Moscow:-)

The city not just big but gigantic!!!
After 9 years Russian at school, then 11 years break (of speaking or reading the language), I was glad to have finally made Russia:-)

Be ready to fall in love with its architecture, hold yourself in the metro (its speedy) and enjoy this amazing mix of historical and cultural beauty in the middle of a ...crowd: its a 12-million-world metropole, busy, beautiful and buzzing(up to humming)!

The monument of Dostoevski in front of the National bibliothek.

In front of the famous St Basilius cathedral on Red Square...which looks indeed as made out of sugar!

....and last but not least the most beautiful metro in the world!!!

Sunday 17 May 2009

Quick Munich-impressions from a business traveller...

How much one see or/miss from a city when traveling to it on a business trip...I had to ask myself this question, actually I do ask myself the same question almost every time when I am at Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) and I am part of the huge amount people in suits on the phone or reading their mails before getting on the plane.

This time in Munich (with busy, busy schedule) I still managed to admire for some seconds/minutes:
1. The cute and funny airplane-looking kiosk selling Bratwürste, between terminal 1 and 2 at the airport;-)
2. The huge and colourful "Maibaum" (second picture):
on the way between 2 buildings of work, while crossing the Viktualienmarkt, one of my favourite market places
3. The trees in blossom fitting to the fassades of the building in Haidhausen (next to my hotel)...

Monday 11 May 2009

Spring is in the air of ... Den Haag and Rijswijk!

I could finally smell it! The green, fresh and unmistakable taste of spring is in the air...Its been around for some weeks now, but yesterday one could enjoy it 100%: with sunshine and lovely blue sky!!!

Trees and bushes are in blossom, ladybugs are flying around, some birdies are singing, some others are already taking care of their new born little ones.
In the last pic I got one duck just after it had caught a fish for its little one:-)

Friday 8 May 2009

About really old books and other funny stuff in Nothing Hill...

It is indeed kind of weird...the older i get the more interesting all old stuff becomes to me:) Lately I started to be fascinated by old books with yellow pages, printed some 50 years ago or even a century. Thats why i was really excited when, while walking on the really busy Portobello Road Market, I found on sale a box of old looking books for 15 Pounds each (or even better 2 for 25, yeahhh!).

The first one I opened was "British poems" from ....1833. Next one was even older: it was from 1799...Wow, the book I was holding was more than 200 years old!!! Now thats something impressive (it was like finding a treasure on a lonely island, but still being bit squeezed in the crowd, hihi)...After some grubbing around at two different stands for all possible old stuff I found one book that looked really appealing to me: "The Heaths Picturesque annual, Travelling sketches in France, Belgium and Holland". The book was published in 1833, look really well preserved, but the price came a bit shocking. "90 Pounds, this book has 26 beautiful engravings" said the Italian salesman....Ok, price went down till 80 after 3 minutes, but still quite over the average of 15 next 2 tables...So i noted (secretly) the name and did some google search a day later at home. To find an earlier book from the same writer (from 1822) about another region of Europe in a PDF format online!
So lucky me, I am enjoying now a lovey travel read (printed on normal paper), almost 200 years old about the adventure travelling in the North of Italy, the Tyrol and on the Rhine...

At the end of the Portobello Road i could not oversee the store with oldfashioned signs...In case u have not laughed today, read the ones below...The one about "...I can please only one person a day" kind of makes my day and do put a smile on my face...

Saturday 2 May 2009

Orange craziness in the Netherlands...

Dutch people get really orange and crazy (and very friendly) every year at the Konniginnedag(the day of the Queen). The national holiday is celebrated all over the country with free concerts and other events in all big cities from the evening of the 29th till the (actual day) April, the 30th!

Why orange you might ask...Well, the Dutch royal familiy of Nassau-Orange used to own the principality of Orange. But there is no etymological connection between the word orange (the fruit and colour) and Orange (the name of the principality), the similarity is completely fortuitous:-)

With the pics I share some orange impressions with you from the sunny Konniginnedag in Delft.

P.S: It is still not clear if the tragic incident, when a man drove in the crowd, while the Queen+family were passing by, was a planned attack on the royal family or not. However 4 persons were killed and some more injured in Apeldoorn, most of the celebrations continued (as people got the news just in the evening), although some were also cancelled.