Red Square.  “Red” isn’t a reference to Communism but a translation of “beautiful” in Russian.

Tour was 5 or 6 hours of walking!

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GUM Department Store, which now is a shopping center of luxurious brand name shops.

Pronounced “goom,” the initials are short for Gosudarstvenny Universalny Magazin, or State Department Store was built in 1889–93 and has long been one of the more famous sights of Moscow.

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Inside GUM.DSCN1327

The toilet at GUM.


Gastronom No. 1, which runs the length of one side of the ground floor. It’s a nostalgic supermarket with pricey caviar and champagne.


The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral,in Red Square.

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Great Kremlin Palace  –Kremlin means “fort” in Russian.  The palace complex encompasses five palaces and four cathedrals. The main section built between 1838 and 1849. Its 375-foot-long facade faces south, overlooking the Moskva River. This was for centuries the site of the palace of the grand dukes and tsars.

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Cannons captured from Napoleon

Putin’s office and helipad

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The other buildings of the Great Kremlin Palace include the 17th-century Terem (Tower Chamber), where the tsarina received visitors, and the 15th-century Granovitaya Palata (Palace of Facets).

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Moscow Metro – The Metro features 12 lines and nearly 200 stations, many of which are impressive aesthetic achievements.

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Note Nike and Starbucks under the portrait.




A tribute to Columbus


Our ship, Viking Akun

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I purchased two bottles of Vodka for only $8.64 !! ?


Moscow view from our stateroom.

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First of many locks.

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Sites of the Kremlin of Uglich and the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, built on the site where Ivan the Terrible’s son Dmitry was mysteriously killed.

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Ancient town rich in monuments with a covered food market.

Governor’s House.  Concert and tour in period costume.

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Church of St. Elijah the Prophet, featuring detailed frescoes and icons.



Macy’s ?

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First we visit a children’s school in Kuzino.

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Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, founded by Saint Cyril in 1397.

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The myth is, if you wash your hands and face in this lake you’ll look younger!  Lady below is 83 years old!

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Yum, yum!!  Ice cream, beer and fish!


Spend the remainder of the day cruising along the Volga-Baltic Waterway. This system of rivers and canals, spanning 229 miles and seven locks, links the Volga River with the Baltic Sea.


Cruise Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake, and arrive this afternoon at the island village of Kizhi. Set out on a walking tour through the Open Air Museum of Architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visit a collection of wooden houses, windmills and churches representing ancient Russian architecture, highlighted by the famous three-tiered Preobranzhenskaya (Transfiguration) Church, a fairy-tale-like structure built in 1714 without a single nail.

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White nights!  Moon in full daylight at 2 AM



Sail the scenic Svir River, traveling the 139-mile “Blue Route” as it takes you southwest from Lake Onega.

Continue along the Svir, then cross Lake Ladoga, Europe’s largest lake, on your way to the Neva River.

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Stacks of firewood!  Any doubt it’s really cold here during their 8 months of winter?

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Pyotr, “Paul” and Malinda


Russian lunch on the ship’s Sun Deck

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Sail on the Neva River into St. Petersburg early this morning.

Visit the Winter Palace to tour the legendary Hermitage Museum, one of the world’s largest museums, with  a  vast collection of art, antiquities, jewelry and sculpture.

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The ballet!  Great seats.

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Pushkin area for a visit to Catherine Palace, the elegant rococo 18th-century summer residence of the Russian tsars, named for Catherine I (widow of Peter the Great). Tour its various halls, including the storied Amber and Agate Rooms, and see the ornate decor throughout.

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The St. Petersburg Metro.  Not as lavish with art as Moscow, but efficient.

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Food emporium with caviar, wine, cheeses, etc.

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A bird in the hand …


Unique parking situation.  How does he get out?

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How do these paparazzi get into the Palace?

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The Faberge Museum

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Transferred to our hotel in St. Petersburg and left clothing on the ship!  Canal tour.

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Dinner in St. Petersburg at Gosti (means “guest) – “country” Russian food!  Bakery downstairs and the restaurant upstairs.

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25Jun – 27Jun

Malaya Morskaya St., 24 | Isaakiyevskaya Square, St. Petersburg 190000, Russia
Very central location and the sister hotel next to it, ASTORIA, has a great bar and dining room!

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St. Isaac’s Cathedral

According to Genesis, Abraham brought Isaac to Mount Moriah, where, at God’s command, Abraham built a sacrificial altar to sacrifice Isaac. This event served as a test of Abraham’s faith.  At the last moment, Abraham was stopped by the angel of the Lord.

The grandly proportioned St. Isaac’s is the world’s third-largest domed cathedral.  The French architect Auguste Ricard de Montferrand devoted his life to the project, and died the year the cathedral was finally consecrated, in 1858.

The interior of the cathedral is lavishly decorated with malachite, lazulite, marble, and other stones and minerals. Gilding the dome required 220 pounds of gold.

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

The architect, Alfred Parland, of this highly ornate, old-Russian style of this colorful church was consciously aiming to copy Moscow’s St. Basil’s.

It was commissioned by Alexander III to memorialize the death of his father, Alexander II, who was killed on the site in 1881 by a terrorist’s bomb.  The church opened in 1907 but was closed by Stalin in the 1930s.  The interior is as extravagant with glittering stretches of mosaic from floor to ceiling (70,000 square feet in total). Stone carvings and gold leaf adorn the walls, the floors are made of pink Italian marble, and the remarkable altar is constructed entirely of semiprecious gems and supported by four jasper columns.


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Last of the clothes left at the hotel.  Light suitcases now on their way to Paris and Los Angeles.