Other Stories

The “Song of the Princess”

On our way out to the Adachi Museum of Art in the Tottori Prefecture, our guide began talking about how the founder had made his money in the building industry, progressing to the most auspicious manner in which to situate a house; she said that homeowners often consult a fortune-teller before building.  From there she […]

A Walking Tour of Moscow

Some places here in Moscow are just easier to reach on foot.  For today we dispensed with the bus and set off, our first stop the Kremlin. As it was a Saturday, the streets were crowded, even more so once we reached a long park-like area in front of the Kremlin.  Somewhere a loudspeaker shouted […]

Moscow, Day 1

Some days are just a blur.  Hopefully no one will hold it against me if I have trouble recounting this one in a meaningful and worthy fashion. We met Anna at 9:00 A.M. in the hotel lobby for a bus tour of Moscow.  It was dark, but of course that’s normal for this time of […]

St. Petersburg to Moscow

Today was a travel day.  Larissa escorted those of us who were to continue the Russian adventure (by heading down to Moscow) from the hotel to the train station.  We felt as if we were parting from a family member when at last she left us well settled on the train.  She herself said she […]

Russian Museum & Yusupov Palace

Here I am, my last full day in St. Petersburg, and it seems as if I’ve just arrived.  This has been an unbelievable whirlwind of a tour, with a group of people I liked more and more as we all got to know one another. We had our last lecture, as always fascinating not only […]

Traditional Russian Lunch and a Troika

I need hardly say that most of us were very grateful for the fact that our January 1st expedition did not begin until noon.  In point of fact, when I went down for breakfast at 8:30, not only was I the first person down there but remained the only person in the room for the […]

The Tsar’s Ball

No other outing on this trip provided me with such an exquisite blend of anticipation and horror as this one.  Imagine, if you can, passing from 2012 to 2013 at Catherine’s fully restored Palace out in Pushkin, complete with a six-course meal and entertainment such as opera and ballet excerpts, never mind a welcome reception […]

St. Petersburg, Day 3

Due to the fact that we were attending a black-tie, New Year’s Eve event tonight, we didn’t have much planned.  After another excellent lecture, we climbed on to the bus and set off for Pavlovsk.  This was the first time we’d been out in the Russian countryside during what passes for daytime over here (sunrise, […]

St. Petersburg, Day 2

(photo: St. Isaac’s at sunrise from Menshikov Palace, 10:45 A.M.) I somehow managed to be the first person down to breakfast and they tucked me away in a corner then proceeded to seat everyone else in the middle.  It was funny. This morning’s lecture was quite good; an excellent precis of Russian history from Ivan […]

St. Petersburg, Day 1

An incredibly busy day. We were supposed to have a lecture from 9-10 this morning but due to the fact that the lecturer didn’t arrive until after 11 the night before, we were “spared”.  So, around 10 A.M., we climbed on to a bus and headed for The Hermitage Museum.  The Hermitage (properly pronounced French-fashion: […]