Russia

inside the world famous hermitage

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To see every piece of artwork in the Hermitage in one visit is impossible. Apparently to look at every piece (of the 3 million collection) for 30 seconds each, would take up to 9 years. We did not have that much time on this trip!

Russian Empress Catherine the Great founded the Hermitage in 1764 when she purchased masterpieces from Western Europe. The museum has 4 of its 6 buildings open to the public; Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage and New Hermitage.

As we walk through the rooms and hallways, the opulent lifestyles of the Russian past smacks us in the face! But in saying that, the lavish and exquisite interior of the museum is the perfect home for the masterpieces.

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Considering that we would not be able to see every single piece in our one visit, there are a few must-sees in the collection. And the beauty of what we saw is simply worth sharing. The first several are masterpieces of Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

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Hermitage is closed on Mondays. It also can get very busy and we heard pickpockets use the opportunity to pounce so be sure to keep an eye closely on handbags and wallets. Also remember, backpacks are not allowed in the museum.

For photos of our trip to Russia, see our Facebook page.

Have you visited the Hermitage? What did you think?

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weekend walks: moscow’s metro stations

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Although we were on the metro to get to the different stations, our weekend walk is taking you through some of Moscow’s most decorative metro stations.

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Each one of the Metro stations is unique and grand in their own way, we just didn’t know where to look! There are statues, there are ornate ceilings, there are mosaic artworks, there are fancy light fixtures – Stalin’s vision of brilliance and radiance certainly was fulfilled! Each of the artwork represents different elements of the Soviet Union’s past.

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The underground system opened in 1935. And really is an attraction in itself and worth witnessing. It left us in so much awe and gobsmacked!

The metro system is so efficient with trains arriving every minute (or so) during peak hour.  Its cleanliness is also noticeable. There is no graffiti or rubbish anywhere! It certainly highlights that our train system in Sydney has room for improvement. Not that we are asking for marble or stain-glassed walls on the train platforms – just punctual and frequent trains 🙂

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travel memories on our tree

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We LOVE this time of year because we LOVE Christmas! It’s 2 weeks from Christmas and our tree is now up – yes it is an artificial one 😉

Our humble Christmas tree that may need to be upgraded if we get more ornaments
Our humble Christmas tree that may need to be upgraded if we get more ornaments

As we added the different ornaments, we began reminiscing about our travels because some of our decoration are our “souvenirs” from our travels. It was only back in 2009, while we are at the Empire State Building did we think it would be a good tradition to start.

And since then, we have added several more to our tree. It’s not always easy to find Christmas ornaments, as it can depend not only the time of year but also the place you visit. But these are not the only things we pick up as our souvenirs 🙂

Not King Kong but Santa scaling the Empire State Building
Not King Kong but Santa scaling the Empire State Building
A knitted llama from Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca in Peru
A knitted llama from Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca in Peru
Two Turtle Doves from China
Two Turtle Doves from China
From a ceramic workshop in China
From a ceramic workshop in China
We picked this up from Grand Turks & Caicos while we were on our Caribbean Cruise
We picked this up from Grand Turks & Caicos while we are our Caribbean Cruise
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Jiminy Cricket DisneyWorld
Jiminy Cricket, DisneyWorld
Mr & Mrs Potatohead
Mr & Mrs Potatohead
Indigenous Australian Art from the Red Centre
Indigenous Australian Art from the Red Centre
Evil eye from Istanbul, Turkey
Evil eye from Istanbul, Turkey
The cames on the sand dunes in Dubai
The camels on the sand dunes in Dubai
Kiwi Santa from NZ
Kiwi Santa from NZ
A crest from France
A crest from France
An Estonian hut
An Estonian hut
Blue skies in Singapore
Blue skies in Singapore
St Nicholas from Russia
St Nicholas from Russia
From Latvia with love
From Latvia with love
A camino pilgrim
A camino pilgrim
From Switzerland
From Switzerland

Our families are in Sydney so Christmas is great because we get to spend time with both sides – minor downside is that its always hot! Maybe one day, we get to experience a true white Christmas somewhere…

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

HOPE next year brings you all lots of joy and travels 🙂

Thanks to GlobalMouse @ GlobalMouseTravels for inspiring this post during our twitter conversation.