Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Baltic Cruise: St. Petersburg, Part 11 (Peterhof again)

I am almost done with the Russia pictures, I promise!  Only, like, two more posts after this one.  So here's some more fountains from Peterhof.


I think this might be the Eve fountain mentioned on the Wikipedia page.  Very cool photo by Lee, though, am I right?  By the way, Mom, Lee says you totally missed out by not going to the gardens at Versailles.  Good thing you had us there taking pictures for you.


We were on a bridge that goes across the canal here.



Lots more gold statues...



I like this picture.  The only thing I wish I could change is to make the sky blue, but if you believe our tour guide it's gray 355 days out of the year in St. Petersburg.



There's a view from the top.


A little photographic proof that we were there.


And to end your tour of the Peterhof gardens...


One very weird sign.  I mean, I know it's a beware of pickpockets sign, but when I first saw it I was like so the dude on the right is copping a feel and the dude on the left is happy about it?  But then I figured it out.  And I had to take a picture of the sign because it still looks a little bizarre to me.

Cheers, peeps!  And props to me for blogging again so soon :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Baltic Cruise: St. Petersburg, Part 10 (Peterhof)

My father-in-law totally busted me for not posting over here : )  And I'm still in the midst of Russia pictures!  Man, we got a lotta pictures still to go through.  Anyway, today I'm sharing the photos from Lee's favorite part of our St. Petersburg tour:  Peterhof.  That's the palace complex built for Peter the Great at the insistence of his advisors to impress foreign dignitaries; ol' Pete himself would have preferred to keep on keepin' on in his three-room wooden house.  That is, at least, according to our guide; Wikipedia makes it sound like the giant complex was all Peter's idea.


Gloomy gray weather the whole time we were out in the gardens, but...


The gray skies just seem to make the golden domes that much shinier.


Happily we were able to borrow an umbrella from the driver of our tour van; Lee and I took turns following each other around with the umbrella while the other one took pictures.  Except this one it wasn't sprinkling when Lee took it so that's why the umbrella (and I) are both in the shot.


I had to gigantify this one because I liked it.  Nice job on the photography, Lee.


Proof we were both there : )



Ok wow, I wanted to make *really* sure you saw that fountain, didn't I?


The palace complex was looted by the Germans during World War II and restoration is still ongoing, but the Russians spruced it up pretty good for St. Petersburg's 300th birthday celebration in 2003.


We walked around some of the buildings in the complex but didn't go into any of them; mostly we spent time in the gardens.  That's okay though, because like the ones at Versailles, the Peterhof gardens are definitely worth a visit.


Fountains everywhere!  Not that we needed any, since the sky was bound and determined to rain on us.  Peter had a sense of humor too, quite a few fountains are designed to spray water at unsuspecting passersby when they get too close.


Another gigantified picture because I thought it turned out really well; love the vivid colors.


Lee tried really hard to get a good picture of this fountain; the gray skies kind of made it difficult and then again there were all the tourists with giant umbrellas in the way.



Maybe this is the statue of Nicholas I mentioned on the Wikipedia page?  I don't know, I can't remember.  Maybe it's Peter the Great.  Either way, I'm betting it's some important Russian dude.

Next time:  more Peterhof!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Baltic Cruise: St. Petersburg, Part 9 (St. Isaac's Cathedral)

Oh yeah, I do have a blog here.  I'm really going to have to work to get all the rest of our Baltic cruise pictures posted before Thanksgiving : )  (Notice I'm not even *trying* to do it before Halloween...)  But anyway, here I am again with some more pictures from St. Petersburg, and today it's St. Isaac's Cathedral.


No one in the picture for a size reference, but the doors are huge.


Always fun to look at the ceilings in Europe.  They decorate everything.


The interior of the cathedral is impressive, what with all the paintings and the marble and of course the gold.  This is Russia, everything is gilded.




See the bright green columns there?  They are made of malachite, which is totally gorgeous and possibly my favorite color of green ever.  I think our not-great tour guide said something about it being on the rare side, and I snarked that it's rare because they used it all in the columns (but I said it so he couldn't hear me).


There's a dove in the top of the dome to represent the Holy Spirit; our guide said it was a pigeon and I was like uh, NO.  Dove.


Proof I was there!  You'll just have to take my word for it that Lee was the one who took my picture.  And you can see the gorgeous malachite columns behind me.


The cathedral is pretty much huge, so it's difficult to get a good picture of it without moving at least a half a block away which of course we didn't have the time to do so you'll just have to accept this picture instead.  Next up:  more Russia pics!  Yep, I've got FOUR more St. Petersburg posts.  But wait till you see 'em.

Cheers, peeps!  By which I mean, HI MOM!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dragon Boat Races

Wow, I've been neglecting this blog for too long.  We've been in Alabama for a little over two months now, and we've got most of our stuff organized and moved in (except for getting pictures on the walls).  So today I thought I'd upload the pictures from the dragon boat races that Lee participated in in August.  Yeah, I hadn't even looked at the pictures until today.


Just so we remember what we were doing.  There were quite a few teams signed up, and about 20 people per boat; you'll see the boats here in a bit.


 Lots of teams had shirts made for the event; thought Dad would like this one since a.) he's an accountant and b.) he likes to tell me that he slays dragons at work (though I like dragons, so I think he should switch careers to killing spiders or something.  Spiders can die.)


That's my honeypie!  It was RIDICULOUSLY hot that day; I wasn't even rowing or doing anything more strenuous than walking around a little bit and I was sweating buckets.  It's the humidity that gets me.


Captain America here (ironically, she's British) was the drummer for one of the boats; the drummer sits at the front and keeps everyone rowing in sync.


So here's a couple of the boats rowing out to the starting line.


Get ready, get set...


 Go!!
 

So I've got quite a few shots that look pretty much like this.


I snagged a spot up at the front to watch Lee's first race and I wasn't too far from the finish line.  However I was so busy taking pictures I didn't know who won the race until it was posted a few minutes later :)



I caught a ride back home after the first race; Lee had to stick around to do two more.  His team got faster with each race but so did everyone else ; )  Still, they made a pretty respectable showing.


Team pictures after the race!



And there's Lee's team.


They couldn't quite come up with something to do for their "fun" picture.  The team that won the entire competition was a bunch of CrossFit ladies; I saw when they took their team picture and HOLY COW welcome to the gun show.  I have arm envy.  'Course, with my stupid wrist I can't do pushups so I can't get arms like theirs : )  But that's okay.

So, I've got a half an hour until I have to leave for the gym (to not do pushups) and I'd better get ready.  I'll be back sometime soon with more Russia pictures...gotta get a move on if I want to post all the cruise pictures before Christmas!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Baltic Cruise: St. Petersburg, Part 7 (Neva River Cruise)

Wow, so I just typed a bunch of stuff on Part 8 and then realized that Part 7 hadn't been published yet!  Oops.  Guess it's going to be a two-fer today.

After the ride on the St. Petersburg metro, we met up with some other tour groups and did a cruise on the Neva River.  It was too cold to really want to spend a lot of time out on the deck taking pictures, though, so mostly Lee and I stayed inside the boat.  Lee did brave the cold for a little bit to take some pictures.


There's part of the Hermitage.  Seriously huge.


I think that red tower-y thing is a lighthouse?


There's the Peter and Paul Fortress; we visited it later on in our tour.


Boat...


Another boat...man, my commentary is fascinating.


Another building along the canal and sadly I have no idea what it is.


Lee tried very hard to get a riverside shot of the Church of the Spilled Blood, but there was always something in front of it.

Ok, keep scrolling down for Part 8!