Well it started with three VERY busy days in hot steamy Hong Kong ,
  • Day25

    Moscow

    July 28, 2018 in Belarus ⋅ 🌧 23 °C

    Had two very hectic days as such a dense living city of 12 million.
    Good organisation to get us all off train from 4 dif carriages and out of the station to our waiting bus Hotel location was near the Olympic games area of 1980, meaning that it was a bit out of city.
    We had opted fir a night tour which consisted of a local guide taking us on and off the metro trains to look at several stations. - the decor was mind boggling and when we came out to the top we wandered down a street full of overhead lighting which featured for the World Cup
    This led into Red Square and then we glimpsed the famous St Basil’s Cathedral,,,, so many photos such memories on a warm balmy night
    Next a m we had a drive by tour with important buildings pointed out to us . A memorisable part of being in Moscow was being in Red Square and going inside The Kremlin walls . So very hot and crowded. We have the use of earphones and speaker boxes referred to as Whisperers which allow the guide to speak in A quiet voice and for us not to have to group around
    So much information , such sights - can’t believe I am here
    Liz n I didn’t do a tour on the last day but walked in high humidity in city to have a better look at the Bolshoy theatre and area, being close to 10 trip with a bit of extra exploring and shopping, not much for me, no room in case( damn those unused winter clothes)
    Our last extra tour was to Victory park and an enormous building dedicated to war and the Russians victory. It featured a range of dioramas - quite spectacular to famous Arabat Street for some evening atmosphere. Unfortunately a storm came in which helped cool things down but now I have sodden sandals
    Next stop, across the border to Belarus
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  • Day24

    Minsk . Capital of Belarus

    July 27, 2018 in Finland ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Left Moscow early to be first coach at border. Took about 45 mins to get vehicle paperwork checked
    We had get out once at Belarus side of Russian border and pay over $100 for the right to be there for 2 days!!!
    Thrilled with hotel and we dad a great room
    After in house dinner, which happens after. A long haul two of us walked around a lake with waterside activities , balmy atmosphere, thrilled with our room
    Next morning local guide took us around for two hours and then later we returned to do it in more Detail. Umbrellas handy for shade as concrete paving radiates the heat
    At 5we headed off to a farmhouse set up for tourists with info food and entertainment
    Once again, an early start to be first across the border to save time lining up for formalities. We had to take all our possessions and go through a pokey room which had a non functioning scanning machine. So now into Lithuania
    To Vilnius where we had local guide for two hours. liz and I stayed in town to wind our way back through the UNESCO old city. We stopped at a cafe which was attached to a disused church, now a theatre for a lovely light meal. It seemed a somewhat depressed city as we were 3 kms out from centre and much maintenance of buildings and roads were needed.
    I think another day here would have been good
    But on to Latvia with an insignificant border as in EU
    It first we had a half day trip to Tracai Castle on a large island on a large lake about 45 mins from town. It was amazing,
    Back into town then a lunch stop before a long afternoons drive. A significant detour was made to view the Hill of Crosses, but it was ever so hot walking our to it. Check it out,
    Fell into hotel about 6.30 with an in house meal.

    I
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  • Day21

    Russia

    July 24, 2018 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Now in St Petersburg
    Have done a detailed Facebook entry tonight
    So some of these pics may be similar

    To get here - a five hour bus trip from Helsinki taking 40 mins to clear 48 passengers and a bus through customs. Yes it is a full bus, I’ve never been in a group as big but tour leader is on top of it all,
    Liz and I miss the friends we made on last group but take off on our own when not organised although we are doing most of the extras as language crowds and shortage of available time have made it necessary.
    Most of my case comprises of winter gear and no room for extra bits n pieces.
    First we did Peter and Paul fortress and chapel with a guide with a light hearted approach then we took a canal cruise to view the spectacular buildings from the water instead of glimpses through bus windows. This area is known as The Venice of the North . It was great fun
    Today we had three sites, St Isaacs Cathedral. The 4 th largest in the world with its interior comprising of malachite and other precious materials, then The Church of the Saviour of Spilt Blood , so many tiny mosaics covering huge areas which had been frescoes .
    After a lunch break we gathered for a guided tour of the iconic Hermitage, and yes Rodger, I did see the Golden Peacock but it only moves once a week, and we had five minutes in the room , shuffling in crowds for two hours, collapsing back at the hotel on 5
    A big day tomorrow with a folklore evening to follow then off to Moscow the following day by high speed train
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  • Day9

    Scandinavia and Finland

    July 12, 2018 in Russia ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Sorry not to have done entries as planned
    Takes ages to edit photos , do diary and the odd Facebook and email,
    It was a wonderful trip of 18 days and with a great group of people , just 27 in a huge bus . Fabulous driver and tour leader. Did a few of the extras on offer but also did exploring with a few. Clocked up a lot of kms each day but not today as we entered Russia , but more on that later as I’ve broken the ice with this entry, my room mate gets one away each night so I will include a few pics of the last few weeks and may do this section on my return home!Read more

  • Day1

    Hong Kong

    July 4, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Did 37 kms ,nearly 60,000 and 46 flights of stairs UP and oodles down as we located the largest undercover escalator stretch in the world which only went down.
    Day 1 saw us at Lantau Island using a cable at system which was t there when Ken and I visited in 1996. Walked up series of steps to walk around the Big Buddha before light lunch in grounds of the monastery . This was out from the Ngong Ping township.
    Due to the 21 st anniversary of Hong Kong being handed back from the British (Separation Day) there were hoards of people walking by, 100s of police and photographers about which turned out to be a full blown parade with groups of various backgrounds and interests, a few bands and onlookers of course.
    Into Central area, caught ferry across to view lazer Symphony of Lights show highlighting city buildings then joined large numbers in leaving the area. Collapsed back to base After being out for most of such a hot steamy day.
    Monday was a public holiday, took a tram ride to anywhere which looped us around The Happy Valley race course. Then we headed over to The Peak, senior’s discount for return trip and not much of a wait for the funicular train ride. So MUCH development to this iconic spot includes scenic railway in progress, 5 D display a huge complex which charges to go onto top Terrace level for more extensive viewing , not very clear so we gave it a miss. Of course many commercial outlets included in this massive update. Once back to base we saw huge lines of people queuing up to just get a ticket
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