Mar 17, 2014

Last Stop: Saint Petersburg (Part 2)

 The beautiful Caucasus Mountains of Russia are nestled between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The highest peak is Mount Elbrus with a range of 18,510 feet making it the highest point in Europe.

Climbers, hikers, and skiers are drawn to this region for the outstanding outdoor activities. For those seeking a ski resort town compared to those of the Alps "Sochi" is the answer.

                                             


Located on the Black Sea coast "SOCHI" is a winning destination. Often called the "Russian Riviera"this popular resort town has recently been the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Whether you come in the fall, winter, spring or summer you'll find plenty to do in Sochi while enjoying the stunning scenery.

Amfibius Aqua Park is one of the best water parks in Russia. It's huge and there are lots of activities to keep you busy.

Dagomys Tea Plantation is a unique place. Sochi is the only place in Russia that produces tea. Take a tour of the tea growing farm and than enjoy a tea party in a country log home.

Dolphinarium is where you can watch sea creatures such as lions, seals, and dolphins entertain you.

The Singing Fountains consists of a small pool and several water streams with a rhythm of dancing and singing from a sound/visual system.

Sochi National Park is a habitat for many animals. There are high alpine meadows and wonderful hiking trails throughout the park. This park has many gems; Agursky waterfalls, Mt Akhum, a nature museum, Vorontsov's caves, mineral springs, and ravines.

Sochi National Park www.wild-russia.org


From five star hotels to budget hostels Sochi ranks high when it comes to accommodations:

                                      
                                                Grand Hotel and Spa Rodina (Luxury Hotel)


                                                                                                   Nairi Hotel (Moderate)




                                                      







      Sochi Hostel (Budget)




                                             Sochi, Russia....A Winning Destination!





Mar 14, 2014

Last Stop: Saint Petersburg (Part 1)


RUSSIA encompasses one sixth of the world. With an area of 17 million square kilometers it is currently the world's largest country. Russia measures 8,000 kilometers from east to west. A country that sits on two continents; Asia and Europe, Russia extends from the Baltic to the Pacific and the Arctic to the Caucasus Mountains.

One of the least visited areas of Russia is the  "Far East" region. Getting to the "Far East" of Russia is a journey in itself. The vastness of the region makes it difficult to travel by bus or car between cities and towns. There's a mixture of about 70 cities/towns in the Far East region of Russia. The most populated is Vladivostok. This city has the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean and isn't far from the borders of China and North Korea. 

Far East Russia is remote and cold. The climate is subarctic and it's not uncommon to have six months of sub-zero temperatures. The acres of untouched wilderness makes this region of Russia exceptional for cross country skiing, dog sledding, fishing, and hiking. It's truly an outdoor's paradise but speaking fluent Russian is highly recommended in this part of Russia.

Far East Highlights:

Amur Cliff, Khabarovsk
Railroad Terminal, Vladivostok
Valley of Geysers, Kamchatka Krai
Golden Horn Bay, Vladivostok
Mask of Sorrow, Magadan
Kamchatka Peninsula, Kamchtaka-Krai
Eagle's Nest Mount, Vladivostok
Gornij Vozduh, Yuzho-Sakhalinski

You'll want to keep warm while exploring the Far East region and there's nothing more satisfying than a bowl or two of famous Russian Borscht.




R U S S I A N   B O R S C H T

2 cups beets, peeled & chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups cabbage, shredded
2 large potatoes, diced
4 cups beef broth
4 cups water
2 cups tomato puree
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
salt & freshly ground pepper
sour cream, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except the salt, ground pepper, & sour cream in a large soup pot.
Bring to a boil and simmer about 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaf, add salt & pepper to taste.
Serve with a spoonful of sour cream.

Up Next: Exploring the majestic Caucasus Mountains and the fabulous city of Saint Petersburg!

Mar 8, 2014

S is for S U Z D A L

SUZDAL with the winding Kamenka River, flowing streams, meadows at every turn and a eye-catching skyline is one of the oldest villages in Russia. A religious town, Suzdal has about as many churches as it does residents.



Sights:

Savior Monastery of St Euthymius, Suzdal History Exhibition, Intercession Convent

Lodging:

Hotel Pushkarskaya, Vasliyevsky Monastery, Kremlyovsky Hotel, Guest House Kolodvorie

Restaurants:

Graf Suvorov, Korchma, Trapeznaya (in the Kremlin)

Although small in size, Suzbal is big on making you feel at home! You'll see plenty of monks and nuns walking the streets too.





Aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway!

The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway in the world. It consists of three major routes.
1) The Trans Mongolian goes from Moscow, Russia to Beijing, China via Ulaanbaatar.
2) The Trans-Manchurian travels through Siberia and Chinese Manchuria to Beijing.
3) The Trans Siberia goes from Moscow to Vladivostok.


How to book a ticket for a journey of a lifetime!


What better way to fill yourself with food than with Russian sandwiches during your travels. They're economical and tasty. Purchase some sliced bread, vegetables, cream, mayonnaise, canned pineapple, and tomato ketchup. To make the sandwiches mix together 1 cup of chopped cooked vegetables such as carrots, peas, and boiled potatoes (peeled) 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tablespoons of cream, 1/4 cup of pineapple, and a dash of salt. 

Spread some butter on bread slices than put the vegetable mixture between the bread slices. Add some tomato ketchup for extra taste. 

Now for some Russian words (with English pronunciations)

Yes (da)
No (Nyet)
Please (poZHAlusta)
Thank You (spaSIBO)
Excuse me (proSHU)
Hello (priVET)


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