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...


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.


Another, 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!

Baltic Cruise: St. Petersburg, Part 8 (Yusupov Palace)

I actually wrote the text in this post *before* Part 7, not realizing that it hadn't been published yet.  Oops.  But here it is anyway.

We get our household goods tomorrow, yay!  I can't decide what I'm most excited to get.  The bed?  The couch?  All my crafty supplies?  It's a toss-up.  Here's hoping our stuff is all in good shape when we see it tomorrow.

But for tonight, let's go back to St. Petersburg.  Today's post is all about Yusupov Palace, which was the home of the Yusupov family, who were kind of like the Russian equivalent of the Rockefellers.  I think the Russians are a bit more free with the term "palace"; this place was a very large and grand house, but certainly not on a level with Versailles or the Catherine Palace.  But it was still probably larger than all the houses I've lived in put together : )

These two were the last Yusupovs to live in the palace before the Russian Revolution made being an aristocrat a seriously dangerous business.  However, more famous than any of the Yusupovs is one of their guests:  Grigori Rasputin.  Yeah, that guy!  Yusupov Palace is where Rasputin's murderers conspired to do the deed.

Three of the co-conspirators waited upstairs while Rasputin was being entertained in the basement and presumably poisoned.

The conspirators got nervous that Rasputin wasn't expiring fast enough, so Felix Yusupov panicked and brought down a revolver and shot him.  He was also clubbed, maybe stabbed, and then thrown into the frozen river, and since then a legend has sprung up about how the conspirators tried to kill him six ways from Sunday but that in the end he drowned.  However it happened, Rasputin was murdered, and this is where it happened.

The rest of the palace is much less murderous.

Quite the chandelier and staircase.

And there's another light fixture for you, this one I think in Irina Yusupov's bedroom.  Irina was Tsar Nicholas II's only niece.

And there's her whole bedroom, which is at least as big as all of the bedrooms in my house put together.

Let no surface go unadorned!  The ceiling.

Fancy furniture...

I want a harp!  Actually I think it would be cool to learn how to play the harp.  Then I could be just like Amy Farrah Fowler.

Unfortunately I've forgotten what part of the house this is exactly.

'Nother ceiling.

And there is the very posh theater inside the house.  And nowhere in this post are there pictures of Lee or me to prove we were actually there.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Baltic Cruise: St. Petersburg, Part 6 (Metro Ride & Miscellany)

I figure if I don't get a move on, I won't get through the Baltic cruise pictures before the end of the year, so I've got another post ready for today.  I think this one's gonna be a little light's some miscellaneous photos from the start of the day on our second day in St. Petersburg, and in all the moving chaos I'm not sure where my trusty lil travel notebook is, so...well, the pictures are going to have to speak for themselves, that's all.  And I think they might be out of order.

It's a church...with onion domes!

The first thing we did that morning was head to the subway, our guide was insistent that we ride the subway though I'm not really sure why.  I think he did mention that St. Petersburg has the most deeply underground subway system in the world though (it goes under the Neva River, so maybe the Neva is deeper than the Thames and the Seine?  Because Paris and London have subway systems going under a river too).  It did seem to take a LOT of stairs and escalators going down to get to the platform.  So we rode the subway one stop, then got back on our van.  Anyway, the two subway stations that we saw were a.) very clean and b.) decorated with some pretty fancy mosaics, like that one.

Lee and my dad play this game online called World of Tanks and if you click on that picture to see it larger, you can see that we found the world headquarters for the game.

There's another church...that I don't remember the name of...but I like the blue domes!

Ok, maybe the photos are out of order because I did all the ones from the big camera first and these are from the smaller camera, but here's another subway mosaic.  Lots of the ones I saw depicted characters from Greco-Roman mythology.

Like Poseidon (Neptune) here.  I have another Scarlet Quince cross stitch pattern that depicts Neptune and his horses coming in on a wave in the sea; maybe one of these days I'll get to that one : )

Yeah so I totally don't remember what this is.  Sorry.

I think it's another church.  We had a bit of time before our next item on the itinerary so the tour guide squeezed in a quick visit to a couple of things where we could take pictures outside.  It was COLD and a bit drizzly though.

This is a statue of a famous Russian writer, but I can't remember who.  Seems like it wasn't Dostoevsky or one of those ones that Westerners would recognize, but a dude who's famous in Russia.

And that's it for today!  Next one will be better, promise.