Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy April 1st

In honor of April Fool's day, here is a little video from 1957, where the BBC team featured "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" report:

Happy laughing to all :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Artisan Well

Last few days I had some nice opportunities to get out of the apartment. I already wrote about the trip to Sergiev Posad, and on Monday a friend of mine invited to take a half hour trip to an artisan well just outside of Alexandrov. He goes there few times a month to stock up on the water he drinks - not that the city water is bad, just this is his preference.

We drove about 10 minutes outside of town and took a 5 minute walk (mind you, it is still freezing outside!). The well is in the field and was blessed a few years ago. So you can't get to the actual well, it has a little church-like construction around it for protection from the weather elements and litter.

Then the water is transferred from the well via an underground pipe. I must say it is a bit disturbing to see someone's bathtub and drinking water in the same place! :) But I guess, that provides a cheap and easy way to fill your water bottles.

The last shot is what the area round the well looks like. I am starting to like these frosty, sunny, winter days away from the city.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sergiev Posad

Last weekend my sister, my niece and myself went to Sergiev Posad - one of the historic towns close by (about 50 km / 32 mi). My sister, who is a chemical engineer by education, is an excellent seamstress and wanted to check out some of the fabric stores in that town (I can just see Adam rolling his eyes at the mentioning of a fabric store... ha ha). And I lost a button from a coat last fall and hasn't been able to replace it out of what's available in our town (seriously?)... so we made a go of it. It was a sunny day, but boy was it cold! I think this was karma paying me back for laughing at everyone freezing in Wisconsin :)

It was a day trip, the ride on the train took only about 45 minutes, then few hours browsing outside, stopped at a new mall. Turned out that my sister never been to a mall before and never really understood the idea of "going shopping". Guess what, she loved it and wants to go shopping some time to visit stores, get some coffee, try out some clothing. I think we won't be using fabric and buttons as an excuse the next time :)

The town itself is a major Russian Orthodox church destination. Besides some really old buildings, the town hosts one of the major monasteries in Russia called Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra (The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius). The monastery territory is huge (you can see an areal photo of the landmark here), has lots of churches, buildings with frescos, etc. - very beautiful! My advice is to visit in the summer though.

Feel free to check out my picasa web album for more pictures.
Cold and pretty outside
Marina (niece) and me
Fresos inside the monastery entrance (had to watch out for surprizes from the sky because of the pigeons)
The Assumption Cathedral inside the monastery

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I haven't stopped by the blog in a while, but wanted to wish everyone a very happy New 2009 Year! Although Christmas for my U.S. family has already passed, I am still wishing them a blessed holiday season. Since Russian Orthodox Christmas is still ahead (January 7th), I'm wishing those who observe it a very merry Christmas. It is kind of nice to have the holiday season be stretched for so long ;)

Looking back at 2008, I immediately think of all the "not so nice" things that happened - making hard decisions, feeling disappointed and remarkably distracted, wishing others not going through painful moments of their lives, and so much more. On the other hand, I can't say good bye to 2008 without thanking it for "good" moments, those that taught us so much and that are so easy to overlook among all of the unpleasant memories. I am grateful for realizing how many people love and care, for the family that surrounds me with support and keeps me mentally afloat. I am grateful for my coworkers that enabled me to make the best out of the worst. I am grateful for friends that have been making me smile on a daily basis; albeit it is now a bit more "virtual". And I am grateful for everything not going as badly wrong as it could have.

So here is a toast to the 2009 and my heartfelt hope that in about 12 months we'll be toasting only to the warmest memories of the year.

Happy Holidays!!!