Stockholm- A Culture Capital

Stockholm- A Culture Capital
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moscow + Summer Sunshine = LOVE

I have been living in this city for quite a while now, and after months of summer and only a few posts I thought it would be a perfect time to shed new (sun)light on the Russian Capital. Here are some fine-weathered photos from my parents' recent visit to Moscow.

Tsar Cannon- The world's Largest

The Giant Bell that fell from Ivan the Great's Bell Tower

The Kremlin Wall in Alexander's Gardens- it shows the exposed rock which lies underneath the building.

GUM- Perhaps my favorite part of Red square is this grogeous shopping center which is still catering to the Russian Elite but allows even the poppers to use the restroom and enjoy 2 dollar ice cream like they have for decades.

Soldiers in Moscow are as plentiful as ants, but probably don't work as hard. However it is always interesting to see them performiong a well-rehearsed ceremony.

Piggy Backing Momma in front of St.Basil's

My Dad with a lovely Babushka demanding money for photos on Old Arbat Street.

The Drowning Horses fountain comes from old Russian Folklore.

A great shot of one of Stalin's Seven Sisters. 7 Skyscrapers comissioned by Staling to be built in a similar style. I have heard they go as deep into the ground as they are tall and that some of them are connected with a secret 'metro 2'

The most famous tower surrounding the Kremlin-It can tell time!

A colorful shot of Gorky Park on the bank of the Moscow River

A picture of Moscow City, the new development of high rises in Moscow. Taken from 'Sparrow Hills' by the University.

A statue in honor of Alexander the Great

The Church of Christ of the Ascension- Built about 20 years ago after a church on this site was destroyed by Communists.

A controversial statue of Peter the Great in the Moscow River. Many Muscovites hate it and think it should be sent somewhere else. Other think that is deserves to be in St.Petersburg as it was founded by Peter.

Gorgeous gardens at Tsvetnoy Bulvar

Tsvetnoy Bulvar

Enjoying some beers and live music from on the Garden Ring in Moscow near Chisti Prudy.

Hotel Metropol near the Bolshoi Theater and Red Square

My lovely parents in front of the gate to Red Sqaure

Good eats have always been the most important thing in my family, other than perhaps the family itself. Since the food didn't change much with the season it's photos were neglected. So here is a shout out to all the great food and coffee enjoyed in Moscow.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Taste of the Grand Tour

{Isola Bella}
There are so many countries I would love to re-visit but usually the urge to see somewhere new keeps me from a second journey. However I had someone to visit and hopped on the plane for northern Italy. I split my time between the hustle and bustle of the fashion capital Milan and a peaceful sojourn on Lago Maggiore.

{Isola dei Pescatori}
Lago Maggiore is a gorgeous lake surrounded by quaint villages and stylish cities that became wealthy and popular back when the area was part of the ‘Grand Tour’ in Europe. It was nice to relax in the town of Luino with my friend and his family- catered for like a kind with traditional Italian dishes.

The main attraction here is taking the ferries around the lake and visiting the islands in the lake. There is a 3-island 2-islet cluster in the west of the lake, each with its own specific draw.

{Isola Madre}

The first, Isola Madre, is actually an enormous botanical garden that is home to hundreds of gorgeous peacocks and other pheasants.

Next my boat bunked upon the shore of Isola dei Pescatori. Isola dei Pescatori is half residential, half fish-eating paradise with a ring of world class eateries lining the shore of the island and serving up fish caught fresh from the lake.

{Isola Bella}
The last and most impressive island is Isola Bella where most of the island is consumed with an enormous palace commissioned by Carlo III from the House of Borromeo in honor of his wife Isabella. Even more impressive are the statue adorned gardens attached to the nautical beauty of the palace.

{Milan Duomo}
At first I didn’t want to leave the tranquility of Lago Maggiore but once I arrived in Milan the energy was irresistible. Fashion, food, young blood and architecture are the games to be played. I gladly saw the main attractions of the town- Castle, Arc of Peace, the central Duomo, as well as a dip into the clubbing and music scene. Milan, usually deemed a waste of time in tourist books, is exactly the opposite. I will agree that Milan is not a place for people who want to run around taking tours and snapping endless pictures with their fanny packs tied on tight. It is rather a place to see Italian cosmopolitan life and appreciate a city as a local would.

{Arc of Peace}
This time going back to Italy made me realize that a second trip back can turn out nothing like the first one and visiting a country is often more rewarding than getting acquainted with a new one.