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Russian River Cruise

Odyssey Unlimited Small Group Travel

August 12 - 27, 2004

 

The Russian Rivers cruise started in St. Petersburg.

After a stay of 6 days in St. Petersburg we started the cruise part of

the trip.  It was nice being on board the M/S Litvinov

while docked in St. Petersburg.  It was a floating hotel

for our tour.  We had our meals on board.  When we

had free time it was possible to travel all over town

on the underground Metro that was nearby.  There

were many interesting sights to see in this

city that has been renamed a couple of times.  The Bolsheviks

named it Leningrad for a long period of time.  Now it is

back to the original name.

This arrival time at the dock.  This is the afternoon

after an overnight flight from Washington, to JFK and then

a stop in Helsinki.  The coming and returning take a lot of

the fun out of international travel.  I started out of Binghamton

at 6:14 am because you cannot get to JFK from our little

airport!  It felt good to have a shower and hit the sack.

The M/S Litvinov was one of 24 similar ships traveling the Rivers of Russia. 

We were docked with several similar ships like the Litvinov as we

sailed toward Moscow.  It was just and adequate experience.  These

cruisers are not like the River cruisers of France and Germany.  The

food was just acceptable.  The ships chef to the passengers that if they

expected three star dining the were on the wrong ship.  There were three

small lounges to relax in and only 1 public TV, so I missed the Olympics

and the melt down of the NY Yankees.  The sights of rural Russia, St Petersburg

and Moscow we visited more than made up for the ship's shortcomings.

 

The following pictures were taken on our morning city tour that was taken on our first full day in St. Petersburg.  In the afternoon, we toured the Hermitage Museum.  It was rainy and I could not take pictures inside the museum so I retired my camera for the afternoon.  The art of the great masters were very interesting to view.

Russian naval ship Aurora that fired the first shot of the Bolshevik revolution.  Doc Moore is posing next to the ship.  He is a big time historian!

The resurrection Church (Church of the Spilled-Blood).

Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Shopping Russian Style!

There were hundreds of shopping areas and little booths

throughout the places we visited.  Sales were strictly cash transaction.

The good old USA dollar was very popular with the Russian

peddlers

Decembrist's Square. Monument to Peter the Great

(The Bronze Horseman)

The green drape in the rear of this photo is the site of

where United States Secretary of State Seward signed the papers to buy

Alaska from  the Russian government.

 

This is a typical Russian apartment building found

in St. Petersburg and Moscow.  These were constructed

after WWII.  There were no single family dwellings in St.

Petersburg or Moscow or other larger cities.  Everyone

lives in apartment building like these.  There are hundreds

of similar buildings in St. Petersburg and all other large cities

of Russia.  In many cases, there are still multiple families living

in these apartments.  Apartments for single families is still very

difficult to find.  One outcome of this living arrangement is

that the Russian's who can afford to do so are building Dasha's

out in the countryside.  It is difficult to travel around the cities on

Friday's afternoons when the citizens leave for their Dasha's for

the weekend. 

 

 

In St. Petersburg, there were many of the Russian made cars on the streets.  In Moscow, there were mostly imported foreign cars traveling about.

St. Petersburg is a sea port and cruise ships dock there all summer long.

The swimming opportunities along the River were many and

we saw lots of people swimming in what had to be very cold water. 

The water in the lakes and Rivers was the color of tea. 

We were assured that the water was very pure and safe to drink.

On the third day in St. Petersburg we bussed to Peterhof for a tour. 

Peterhof was the summer residence of the Russian Emperors.

A visit to the Palace of Peterhof outside of St. Petersburg was our first tour into the Russian countryside.

The fountains and gardens were very beautiful at the summer palace.

 

Musicians dressed in period costumes at Peterhof.

Counting the take from the tourists!

Another view of the gardens and fountains

Looking toward the Baltic Sea.

A photo opt with Sasha our tour guide.  She is a resident of St. Petersburg.

Some local young people playing for tips in the gardens of Peterhof.

~

 On the morning of the fourth day, we had a tour of the

Catherine Palace located in Pushkin.

This is the The Great (Catherine) Palace.  It is the Imperial Palace which is also known as Tsarakoye Selo (Tsar's Village).


 

A picture of the destruction at this Great Palace after World War II.

One of the many rooms that have been restored.

Another Grand Ballroom scene.

The famous amber room in the palace.

A rear view of the Palace of Catherine the Great.

St. Petersburg's War Memorial is very striking and celebrates the

contribution of the Russian soldiers in World War II.  It was a

hard monument to photograph.

A monument to Peter the Great in front of the Mikhailovsky Palace.  It is now a museum in St. Petersburg.

Vasilyevesky Island from the Neva River.  The fortress of Peter and Paul is in the foreground.

The New Hermitage Museum as seen from the Neva River.

 

After several days in St. Petersburg we are sailing toward

Lake Ladoga, the largest fresh water lake in Europe.

Sailing to Moscow on the Neva River.  An abandoned church trapped by rising River water.

Dacha's along the River bank.  We are sailing on to Ladoga Lake.  It is  a very large fresh water lake.  Next stop is Svirstroy on the Svir River.

Native musicians greeted us in the shopping area of Svirstroy.

Svir River traffic.

Enough said in photo!

Our next port of call.

Our first port of call was at the village of Nizhi to visit the Transfiguration Cathedral and the Church of Intercession of the Mother of God (A winter church).  The transfiguration Cathedral was built in 1674.

An amazing wooden structure!

This wind mill and all the building except for the Cathedral were moved to the island

to create a museum. 

Another day ends!  We are heading for the Volga-Balt Canal.  Next port of call is Coritsy on the River Sheksna.

We were bussed 8 km from the village of Goritsy to the town of Cyril-Kirillov.  This photo shows the entrance to the fortified monastery of St. Cyril's.

Passing through a lock.  We traversed 16 locks in our sail from St. Petersburg and Moscow.

The Church of the Kazen Icon of the Most Holy Theolokos.

Typical Russian apartments in a city along the River.  They were build during Stalin's time in the 50's

St. Elijah's Church in Yaroslavi.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Ipatiev Monastery in the town of Kostroma on the Volga River.

We toured the Museum of Architecture at Kostroma.  It was behind the monastery.

A photo opt, with smiles and no tipping allowed.

Small city tourist shopping opportunity.  There were dozens of stands like this at every stop along our route.

This was one of many Lenin statues we saw while traveling.

Uglitch founded in 937.  This is the Church of Prince Dimitry the Martyr (Church-on-the-Blood).

Kaliazin Bell tower of the St. Nicholas Cathedral-on-the-Zhabana.  This part of the town has been flooded after construction of the Uglich River lock.  It is a reminder of how villages had to be moved as River improvements occurred.

 

After Uglich, we sailed on the Volga River to Moscow.  Our last day or so of River travel we traversed the Moscow Canal.  This included going through 6 steep locks.

Behind me is the Cathedral of St Basil in Red Square near the Kremlin.  This was our first stop tour stop in Moscow.

GUM or the State Department Store facing Red Square.  The shops inside were like those found in our city shopping malls.

Lenin's Tomb in Red Square.  The square was shut down whenever the tomb is open for viewing of Lenin's body.  I did not stand in line to see a corpse!

The Tsar's bell cracked as hell!  This bell was cast to prove that Russia could cast large cannons.  Needless to say it was not a big success.

Tsar's Cannon, 1586.    They did make some good sized cannons in that time frame.

In front of the arsenal building in the Kremlin.  All of these cannons on the wall were captured from the invading French armies.

In many cities we visited, we saw wedding parties being photographed.  Both church and state weddings were being held.

This spot with the Kremlin in the background where many of the newscasts from Moscow are taped.  This is not a place for winter tapings!  But does lend itself to a great summer shot.  I thought this was a great place to end my trip photos.

 

I found Russia to be very interesting.  Nothing like I imagined.  They are even with us in many ways.  There is a certain energy in the new Russia that is easy to see.  If you did not know better, you would think you were visiting cities in our country.  I would recommend a trip like this to anyone interested in travel!