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"From Russia with Love!"...

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Hello Everyone,


I do not want this thread to deteriorate into a slugfest with threats and profanity like what happened to poor dear Hedy Lamarr.


Please keep postings relevant to Russia and/or Russian movies, if you know any.

Adult repartee is something I look forward to always.


Yes, I will have a Black Russian and a vodka, although they aren't particularly my drinks.




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Today (14th), Sasha and I went back to The Kremlin and toured the rest of it.

We made a beeline past all the cathedrals and went up into the Ivan Bell Tower, the tallest building in The Kremlin. You can see all over Moscow from here. It really is a beautiful city; many people don?t realize it has several parks and green spaces and a large meandering river, the Moskva.

Below the Tower is the Czars Cannon, a very large gun; and the Czars Bell, which fell from the Tower during the revolution. It?s partially broken and damaged but it is big.


There are three large palaces at the south eastern portion of The Kremlin:

The Grand Kremlin Palace

The Facet Palace and

The Terem Palace

and, you need a visa for each one.


The Facet Palace is the oldest ? a white crennallated stone two stored building, where the early Czars lived and ruled. Built in the 13th century and expanded in the 15th. You enter through The Red Staircase, coloured by the blood of those Peter the Great hanged, then beheaded there after the Strelsky revolt in 1682. Apparently, the blood was so ingrained in the stones that it could never be wiped clean and that?s what we?re walking on.. Yohzus!!

Inside, the 6 audience rooms and throne room are large and very colourfully decorated in murals, frescoes and mosaics. There are beautifully inlaid and parqueted floors. Upstairs are the Czars bedrooms and living quarters, very sumptuous!!


Connected to the Facet Palace by a lavish corridor is the Terem Palace.

This was built in the early 17th century to house the Czarina and the women of the Court. Terem = harem in Russian.

This palace is built around a two story court yard with a garden and fountains, sort of a cloister. The inside is more splendid and colourful than the Facet Palace. There are more windows and more comfortable furniture. And!, there an indoor bathroom with toilet and tub ? oh the luxury!!!


The grandest building in The Kremlin is The Grand Kremlin Palace:

A huge 3 storied gold coloured building with a small dome on top overlooking the Moskva River. Built in 1838-48, it is the newest building in the fortress.

All the last rulers lived here, when in Moscow.

This place is used for greeting foreign dignitaries and all ceremonials as there are over 600 rooms here and many vast, ceremonial ornamented Halls and corridors ? St. George?s Hall, all in white marble; The Vladimir Hall, with jasper columns; and The Alexander Hall, with yellow marble walls and green malachite columns.

Some rooms are red, some blue, some purple and everything is covered in silks, satins and brocades. It took 3 hours just to go through this palace alone.

We were kept to a tour of 20 people only and mostly, all this is ?off limits????


Once outside, the tour company took all of us to the Beklemishev Tower on the south wall for tea and cakes at 3:00PM. Here we could overlook the Moskva (Moscow) River and enjoy our tea, just like the old Czars and Czarinas and their courts.


I came home and went to sleep and woke up at 8 o?clock. I ordered supper in, thank you.


Tomorrow, Sasha and his wife Nina and I go for a driving tour around Moscow. It?s going to be leisurely ? you can bet on it!!!!



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I was naturally never a fan of Russia, being a child of the 50's - 60's cold war, but it sounds fabulous to me now.

The Red staircase - How ghoulish!!


It's almost criminal when you realize how poor Russia has always been, then consider all that finery and jewels hidden from the people.


Thanks again,




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Hi Larry just a weather report for you it was snowing in Calgary today and temp was 3 degree's In Winnipeg it was 30 and hot and sticky I would rather have the 3 degree's when it is like that in Winnipeg I hope you are enjoying good weather on your trip , Carol

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Just a quick note before I go out to Gorky Park today and take a few trips on the Moscow Underground.

The stations are like works of art and architecture. Superb??


Yesterday, my guides ? Sasha and his wife, Nina ? took me on a long car trip out east to St. Sergius Monastery for lunch and some wine tasting. Interesting.

These monks here are very poor and serve lamb and pork and some beef to tourists for the money. They make wine and sell that too. Emeril Lagasse need not panic; the food and fare was quite bland and sparse. I ordered 4 extra lunches besides ours and then gave 4 young, very skinny novices the extra ones. Nina said they probably thought I was God?..


Then went to Arkhangelskoe, the Moscow estate of the Yussopov?s. Prince Felix Yussopov was one of the men who murdered Rasputin. Toured around there, very rich and large estate and then hopped on a river boat and sailed down the Moskva River south to Kuskovo Estate, the old home of the Sheremetsov?s, another wealthy old Russian family. Toured around that too.


We then went by car to Sparrow Hill in south Moscow and had a late dinner at Rytzarsky Klub (Knights Club) in the very elegant White Room overlooking Moscow. Had liver and bacon with onions and eggplant with walnuts. Loved it!! ? it was so delicious. This is where I had my Black Russian and a vodka chaser!!

This hill is where Napoleon watched as Moscow burned in 1812.


Bid goodbye to Sasha and Nina and gave them a $100.00 tip each (2500 rubles) as well as their fees. (They thought I was God!!)??


Today, I?m going to Gorky Park and then on a few more underground train trips just to see some of the interesting stations.

In the afternoon, I am going to the Museum of History to view an Exhibition of Maria Feodorovna?s personal belongings. This is in conjunction with her return to Russia next week.

Some of her property that was confiscated by the Soviets is being shown ? artworks, sculptures, porcelain, albums, clothes and jewellery. There is a reception afterwards. I was given a personal invitation by the hotel. They have treated me very well.

Then tonight I?m going to Caf? Pouchine (Pushkins Caf?) for dinner with my cousin, Carol, who teaches in Moscow; and then we?re going to the Turandot, which is the hip club for swingin? Moscovites. That?s us!!


Tomorrow, at noon, I leave Moscow for St. Petersburg, my favourite city. Moscow is OK, but St. Petes is sublime.

Although I?ve been to Russia 5 times before, I?ve only been twice before to Moscow and now makes 3. But, I?ve always gone to St. Petes. This will make my 6th time.


Catch you later.


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Hello Everyone,


Here I am in St. Petersburg...... It is chilly, where Moscow was quite warm and sunny.

Got here yesterday at noon and checked into the Grand Europa Hotel, very nice & large suite.

Went across the Nevsky Prospect to Kazan Cathedral. There was a Sunday service going on so I strolled through the colonnades at the front - like St. Peters only smaller.

Sat under a statue of Catherine the Great and had a sandwich - gave most of it to the birds, even they didn't finish it.

Then, went inside Kazan Cathedral and looked at the murals and statues. Everything is marble and gold.

Left by the back and went into the Stroganov Gardens, behind the Stroganov Palace. There was a concert going on, so listened to that for an hour.

After a little snooze at my hotel, I had dinner in the restaurant and had ortalon. Small birds, very delicious.

Today, I went out to Peterhof Palace by hydrofoil.

Just got back and am pooped.

Snooze time again!!! Will tell you all about it later




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Sept. 18th -

Went out to Peterhof Palace by ?Meteor? hydrofoil. Very fast but wet and windy and cold.

Peterhof is a huge palace and park on the Gulf of Finland.

It has a water cascade going down the north side from the palace to the ocean, with fountains and water spouts and beautiful gardens, acres of trees, bushes and flowers. The Grand Cascade contains the Samson fountain with him opening the lions mouth and water shooting into the air. Very impressive.

The palace is just as ornate and loaded with gold and marble as all the others, I just wish I could put pictures in here to show you.

Coming back on the hydrofoil, the Russian Navy tried to outrun us. It was funny seeing all those sailors waving at us ?touristi?s?.


Sept. 19th -

I went for a walking tour, with a group, to St. Isaac?s Cathedral, the biggest in Russia, built between 1818 -1848, to celebrate Russia?s victory over Napoleon.

And then down the Moika Canal to the Yussopov Palace. This is where Rasputin was murdered (we saw the room), toured the palace which has a very ornate tukish bath and a cinema that seats 400. There is also a beautiful, huge ballroom that holds 14,000. I knew the Yussopov?s slightly and there are portraits of them in the hallways.

Had lunch at the ?Idiot?s Caf?? a cozy ?hip? dining place and had halibut steak. Former guests have been Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Charles Aznavour (their pictures are on the walls)?.

We then went back up the Moika Canal to the Maryinski Palace. This is now used as the city hall and so not everything is open. The square in front of the palace is where demonstrations were heldfor democracy in 1991. Both these palaces are very expensive buildings, as usual.

Went for afternoon tea at the Astoria Hotel with friends (some who are here for the reburial ceremonies).

Went over to the Museum of Russian Art. There are so many rooms in here and after 4 hours of it, I went home (just down the road) and collapsed. No dinner!!


Sept. 20th ?

Had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, a bacon, cheese & mushroom omelette, whole wheat toast, tomato & beet slices, orange juice and coffee - $38.00? I knew things were expensive here but I wasn?t expecting that!!!! I told one English couple later, ?I may be rich but I?m not stupid!!??. They said they also were outraged at that breakfast cost. No more breakfasts here for me. I?ve eaten room service here and it?s expensive but I expected it??

Walked up to the Church of the Spilled Blood; it looks similar to St. Basils in Moscow and rather out of place in St. Petes. This is where Alexander II was assassinated in 1881 (a bomb was thrown at his carriage). It is a very beautiful church covered entirely in mosaics and gems in the wall with jasper columns. You are blinded by the colour and the splendour.

Walked past St. Michael?s Castle, where Czar Paul was murdered in 1801 and into the Summer Gardens, set out like Versailles. There?s a Coffee House and a Tea House, both competing for business and both too expensive. Walked around here for awhile and then went over to the Field of Mars, which was the Czars parade grounds. Went horseback riding along the horse paths; had a very nice horse, Bruno. Bought him some extra carrots and half a dozen sugar cubes, I think he loved me!!!!

Walked over to the Marble Palace. This is the second largest palace in Russia after the Winter Palace, which is just down the street. This palace belonged to the Constantinovichi branch of the Romanovs. Nell married one of them.

It is entirely built and decorated in marble ? white, pinks, golds, purples and greens. Unbelievable!

I met up with my English friends from the hotel and invited them to dinner. We went to Taleon Club and had some good steaks and lots of garlic bread. Dinner there cost the equivalent of breakfast at the hotel.


Today ? the 21st, I went to the Winter Palace with a private guide and spent the whole day. Will write about it later as I am typing this in bed propped up with pillows, with a hot water bottle for my back and one for my feet and I am pooped.



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Hello again,


Sept. 21st ?

Met my private guide in the lobby and walked down the street to The Winter Palace, situated right on the Neva River, a very wide waterway indeed.

The Winter Palace was started by Peter the Great, expanded by his daughter, Empress Elizabeth and further enhanced by Catherine the Great and then again by Nicholas I. It has 1038 rooms, three as big as football fields! It was the main residence of the Czars in Russia and each room is done in either marble(s), agate, jasper, malachite, gold and/or lapis lazuli. Parquet or mosaic floors and coffered ceilings.

The Hermitage Museum is attached to the northeast with the Winter Garden and the Winter Canal beyond. North of that is the Vladimir Palace and the Marble Palace. East of the Winter Palace is the Victory Arch and Palace Square with the Alexander Column ? this is where we enter.

There is art work and sculptures in every room now, since the Palace is now taken over by the Hermitage. Things from Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Renaissance, Impressionists to modern.

I have been here many times before so I didn?t want to see every room that?s why I needed to hire a private guide to bypass the rabble ? oops, I mean tourists!!!

That?s also what I did in Moscow with The Kremlin and how I got into several places that others can?t.

We made a beeline for The Venetian Hall built to commemorate a victory, allied with Venice, over the Turks. This is a long hall with a semi-circular ceiling in reds, maroons and gold. Walking through there, we get to St. Georges Hall, a football field size room with a throne at the north end. This is where ambassadors met the Czar and presentations were made to him of gifts ?eg ? that jeweled sword I told you about in The Kremlin from the Shah of Persia.

Now through The Victory Gallery with portraits of the Russian generals from the War of 1812 (they all look the same and not very happy ? {smile, you?re on candid portrait!}) ? and into The Pavilion Hall, one of my favourites. Here is the huge bejewelled Peacock Clock, a large golden bird with every jewel known to man and a tail that fans out with more gems when the hour strikes. It?s head then goes back and it crows (screeches) out the hour while it?s right leg stomps out the same. At the end, it then stomps with both feet and yells out again. It?s a hell of a noise and would wake the dead if it was an alarm clock. Kids just love it and I just love it ? I can?t get enough of it??..

We quickly go along the northwest corridor to a series of coloured reception rooms ? The Yellow Reception Room, The Mauve Drawing Room, and The Green Drawing Room. Then, suddenly you enter a huge space - The Nicholas Hall, all done in the whitest marble imaginable; this is the largest room in the Palace, about 2 football fields, and is where magnificent balls and court receptions were held. As many as 5000 people gathered here sometimes and the Imperial Family promenaded the length and breadth of the room.

Next to it is The Grand Reception Room all decorated in gold and pale green. Then one goes through another series of coloured reception rooms ? The Crimson Drawing Room, The Blue Room, The White Room, and finally The Malachite Room (2 tons of malachite in columns and vases and lamps and some furniture).

After this, come the private rooms of the Romanovs, which are boring and decorated badly (none of these people had very good taste, really!!) and since I was through them once in 2002, I chose to skip them.

So back we went and to my favourite place on Earth ? The Jordan Staircase. Three floors of the most beautifully decorated white marble and gold plastered images ever. I have been up and down these stairs every time I?ve been to Russia. We went to the top and then slowly descended to the ground and out onto the Neva Embankment. However, since there?s a restaurant inside the Hermitage passageway, we went back inside and had lunch ? fish & chips!!

Then, I just had to go back up and then come down those stairs ? man! I love those stairs.


Now, we took a riverboat for a cruise along the Neva River. This really is a huge and deep river. We sailed north and then east and then came back and went west and south. Lots of wonderful old architecture and some modern structures too.

Landed at the Winter Palace docks and walked back to my hotel.

Went out to a concert at The Maryinsky Theater and heard Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich conducted by Yuri Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. It was magnificent.



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Sept. 22nd ?

Walked down the Nevsky Prospect, east to the Fontanka Metro station and went out to the Alexander Nevsky Monastary at the east end of the Prospect. The street is named after Alexander Nevsky, who defeated the Swedes in 1240 and became a Russian saint.

Toured a bit through the monastery, visited the his mausoleum, which is encased in gold and then went out to the attached 2 cemeteries ? the Lazarus, where there are several beautifully crafted monuments over the graves and then into the more famous cemetery, the Tikhvin, where Borodin, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky and Rimsky-Korsakov are buried. Very elaborate tombstones.

Took the Metro back to the Fontanka Canal and the famous Fontanka Bridge with its 4 bronze horses at each corner ? Impressive!

Had lunch at Portek Rusca. Since it was a cold day, I had borscht and golubtsy and a hot sauced apple studel.

Spent the afternoon at Dom Knigi, a famous bookstore. It used to be Paris Singer?s mansion; Isadora Duncan once lived here with him.

Taxied over to the Astoria Hotel for dinner with friends and partied with them for awhile. Then home to bed ? big day tomorrow.


Sept. 23rd ?

Met my private guide, Lucien, again and drove off to Tzarskoe Selo, the village 24 miles southeast of St. Petes. Here, enclosed in a huge park with lakes, fountains and woods are:

The Alexander Palace, the real home of Nicholas II and Alexandra and their family.

And the huge Catherine Palace, which contains the famed Amber Room.

Walking through the vast park (1400 acres), one spots all kinds of rare and beautiful plants and trees and a nice peaceful grotto with lots of big colourful koi and goldfish and a giant tortoise that actually knew the Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great.

Arriving at the newly renovated Alexander Palace, built by CG for her grandson, Alexander I. It?s a medium sized palace coloured yellow.

This palace contains many of the same kind of rooms that I?ve already described in The Winter Palace. The one exception is Alexandra?s famed Mauve Boudoir and her reclining purple coach, where she languished away the day while Rasputin ruled the country.

Leaving through the back portico onto a large terraced patio and crossing the Great Pond, really a lake, by the Marble Bridge, we come to the Catherine Palace. Built by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine I, and then expanded by their daughter, Empress Elizabeth and further enlarged by Catherine II (the Great), it is the 3rd largest palace in Russia. It is painted blue with white columns and at the north end of the palace is the Royal Chapel with it?s five golden copulas on top (onion domes).

Inside are hundreds of rooms ? Agate Room, Green Dining Room, Cameron Gallery, Great Hall for receptions and balls, etc.

Going up the Main Staircase and on the north side is the famous Amber Room.

It is newly completed and has taken from 1979 to 2003 to carve and install. It?s not open to everyone only those with special visas, which I had. (I applied for it 6 months ago)?..

Apparently, these newly formed panels are highly susceptible to bacteria, so only 2 to 5 people a day are allowed in and not all at the same time.

Lucien and I went in at 11:30AM and stayed only 20 minutes, longer than normal since I am a VIP tourist. It?s nice to have clout!!

The Amber Room was given to Peter the Great by Prussia?s King Frederick William I in 1716 in exchange for several dozen very tall Russian soldiers. FW liked tall soldiers and collected them from all over the world.

There are exquisitely engraved panels of yellow, butternut, gold, orange and reddish brown amber all forming a medium to large room. Some panels form the senses, some musical instruments and others fruits and vegetables.

The Nazis stole these panels and they were eventually destroyed in a fire in Konigsberg Castle in Germany. So feared of Stalin that a whole myth was made up about how the panels were hidden in various places and created a whole search for them in a silver mine and beneath the Baltic Sea.

Finally, the Russian government decided to recreated the room and it was completed in 2003 and finally opened spuriously to the public.

Many artists worked on these panels and most went blind from the intricate work of minute carving and several died of lung infections from the amber dust.

Leaving there we walked along the never ending Picture Gallery (everybody who was anybody from 1682 to 1917, I figure) and then there is a series of reception rooms and then the Throne Room in white and red and then The Chinese Dining Room in blue and green stucco. Then The Royal Chapel with its 5 golden onioned copulas as seen from the outside.

A late lunch at Staraya Bashnya in the village ? a great little restaurant, where they have the best vegetable dumplings and beef stroganov. Yummy!!


In the afternoon, we drove out to another suburban palace, Pavlovsk, the place Catherine the Great built for her son, Paul, to keep him away from her and the court. Nice mother!

Pavlovsk is done up like a greek temple with curved wings at the side. This is much like any of the other palaces I?ve described, so I won?t.

Also, further south and west is another palace, Gatchina, where Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna lived when they were the Russian rulers because of security reasons. I didn?t go to this one as it?s smaller and I?ve seen it before.

Both Pavlovsk and Gatchina are situated in enormous parks.


Came back into St. Petes and took Lucien and his wife, Clara and 3 of their friends to a great Russian restaurant called Podvoriye. They serve wild boar, bear and elk and moose there. I had wild boar for the first time in my life; it was OK but that?s probably the last time I?ll have it, although I didn?t say so.

Went to bed stuffed and somewhat tipsy.



Sept. 24th ?

Sunday ? I went over to the Smolny Church, beside the Smolny Institute, where Nell went to school from 1902 ? 1908. (A very high class finishing school overseen by the Dowager Empress). Nell said, ?I think it finished me alright!??.

There was a small Russian Orthodox mass going on, so I sat in Nell?s old seat in the church. Her name is engraved on the back, ?Maria Eleanora?. I sat there watching the very elaborate service and wondering what she thought of it all. She was the worlds number one atheist.

I then backtracked and went into Gostiny Dvor, a large mall on the Nevsky Prospect. There?s really nothing to buy for a North American but souvenirs in Russia and I have enough junk already to worry about.

So, I sat at a sidewalk caf? and had a whiskey sour and a hamburger and then another whiskey sour. Since Monday to Thursday I will be busy with the rest of the guests for Minnie?s reburial service, I came home and vegetated with a book and watching Russian TV.

I saw a rebroadcast of the ceremony taking The Dowager Empresses coffin from Denmark to Russian. Very well done and impressive. She arrives here by ship on Tuesday but I don?t know if I?ll involve myself in all that ?goings-on???


Time to snooze,



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Sept. 25th ?

Walked down to the Anichkov Palace with Lucien, my guide. It faces the Fontanka Canal at Nevsky Prospect and is Nell?s old stomping grounds in St. Petes. This was the home of the Dowager Empress but is now a Youth Club and is mostly off-limits. They do allow small tours in the mornings sometime so I decided to investigate where Nell hung out so many years ago.

We were shown all the public rooms and then the Dowager Empress? private quarters; here were several scrapbooks with old photographs of all the Romanovs and others and saw a large porcelain exhibit also.

Found Nell?s 4 room suite and stayed in there for a while. She had a small balcony off her drawing room overlooking a garden, very nice. She lived here for 6 years, very happy ones too, she told me, before being summarily cast out by her husband!

She did love the old Dowager though and always spoke lovingly of her.


I then went to an afternoon concert at Alexandrovsky Theater of American film music. Very well played and with great flair.

After dinner, I attended a reception given by the Romanov Family Association at Vorontsov Palace for guests attending the re-burial services. No Putin though; we don?t know if he?s coming or not. I hope so ? I kinda like old Puttie!!!! He?s a murderer but then so is Bush??.


Tomorrow the coffin of the Dowager Empress arrives by ship from Denmark. Then, I have to be in my best bib and tucker and on my best behaviour and try and figure out who?s who and who to bow to!! And, these people don?t come with a scorecard or ID tags??.




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Sept. 26th ?

Took a taxi over to the Astoria Hotel and hooked up with several of the invited guests for Maria Feodorovna?s return to Russia.

We all went by car out to Peterhof for the arrival of her coffin in the morning.

The Danish ship carrying the Dowager Empress? coffin had stopped at Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland and it was transferred onto a Russian naval craft for the journey to Peterhof.

Met Prince Michael Ilyinsky, the son of the late Prince Paul, who was once the Mayor of Palm Beach. Also, there was Prince Nicholas Romanov, the head of The Romanov Family Association. His brother, Prince Dmitry is the one who invited me to this event; Dmitry accompanied the body from Denmark onboard ship.

The ship landed and an Honour Guard of Russian and Danish guards flanked the coffin, which was carried by younger members of the Romanov family. Little Prince Sebastian, 6 years old, carried a candle in front of the procession.

The Governor of St. Petersburg, who is a woman, accepted the coffin and we all followed it into the Peterhof Chapel. After briefly paying our respects, we filed out and I went over to say hello to Dmitry and thank him for including me. He?s an old friend from my childhood and knew Nell very well and immediately set up a dinner date with his wife and himself and me. Happily, they are in the same hotel.


After changing at the hotel, I hiked over to The Hermitage for the afternoon and spent several hours among the Egyptian and Roman artifacts and then went to look at some Impressionist paintings.


At dinner with Prince Dmitry and his wife, Princess Dorritt, we had some wonderful prawn appetizers and thick butterflied steaks with broccoli and cauliflower and a baked potato, lots of red wine and a big piece of chocolate cake. They never eat like this, as the live in Denmark, so I treated them and we had some good laughs, reminiscing about all our great and grand times with Nell all over Europe. He said, ?I loved that naughty girl so much!???

Thursday, the 28th, is the big day for the reburial ceremony. Dmitry has spent a great deal of his life arranging the repatriation of Minnie?s body back to Russia and now a lifetime?s work is over. He is to be congratulated, especially working with the Russian government!



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Hey, Larry. Haven't posted yet on this thread, but I wanted you to know how much I enjoy it. Love to read about royalty! And, Russia was one of the countries with the most fascinating royals! You are continuing that interest, along with the food and travel log! Thanks!

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Hello James,


I will now call you by your given name as I see that you have 'outed' yourself publicly now. I haven't been reading a lot of the threads lately but today I see some very rude apparitions on your Garbo thread - surely not again??


Well, you'd love it here in St. Petes now; there is more royalty here than you can trip over.

Tomorrow, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark will be here to official represent the Danish crown. And, the King and Queen of Greece plus Prince and Princess Michael of Kent to represent The Queen.

Every hotel room in the downtown area is now full. I'm not going to worry about bowing as, guess what, I have been bowed and curtsied to myself - - I loved it. I was born to have my **** kissed!!!



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Hi Aftermath,


I didn't see any statues of Stalin anywhere. Of course, I'm not really looking for them.

Stalin used to be buried along with Lenin in the Mausoleum in Red Square (two tyrants hanging out together!) but now he's inside The Kremlin.

Didn't go and visit him nor any of them really. Except Krushchev in the Novodevichy Cemetery, which I described earlier. I only visited him because he was very kind and accommodating to Nell and me in 1960. He wasn't such a big boogeyman as everyone thinks. And, his wife, Nina, was a sweetheart.




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Ha, Larry! You're so funny. Well, enjoy it, and the rest of us can live vicariously through your adventures!!


Yes, I was attacked again, well actually the whole board was, last Friday night. HE came back and wrote discusting things, including threats and PICTURES! There was a guy named the Riddler who came on my thread to fight him. I guess HE provokes people into that. Anyway, it kinda seemed like this Riddler was just another Alter-Ego, but turns out he is just a college student (I guess college, cause he works, too), so I guess he is ok. Anyway, TCM came and cleaned up the boards including my thread, so you missed all of the really juicy stuff, but consider yourself lucky. It was very stressful for many of us.


If you read in General Issues, TCM came out and apologied to everyone for the distressing episode and gave their word to try to keep an eye on it and stop any further disturbances, so we are all kinda calming down now.


Have fun getting your a** kissed! And, kiss one for me!

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Larry, this is the most interesting and detailed thread I've read so far. I enjoy all the visual details and appreciate the time it takes to keep us informed of your itinerary. It all seems very grand, impressive, and very educational. I can't wait to read about the rest of your experiences this week. Enjoy, and many thanks.

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Hello All,


Sept. 27th ?

Slept in till 9:00AM and was wakened by the chambermaid. I am fairly exhausted; all that walking and standing and my feet are giving out. I can assure you all that if I wind up an old man in a wheelchair, I will be one miserable, cranky old bastard.

Right now, I?m having an early night because tomorrow will be a very busy day. I am typing this in the bathtub with my laptop on a board across the tub just like Waldo Lydecker - - now there?s a vision for you!!! If this thing falls in the bath, I?ll be fried toast??..


Well, this morning I went back to the Hermitage and slowly went through about 40 rooms, each beautifully and grandly decorated and with some of the world?s biggest and riches art. Several places you could sit but mostly it?s stand and admire and then keep on walking. It is estimated that to see each exhibit and painting and sculpture here, if you spent 1 minute on each, would take you 10 years?? The place is immense.

I went for a late lunch (3:00PM) at McDonalds on the Moika Canal near the Stroganov Palace (how ironic ? beef stroganov & a big mac)?..

Returned to the Hermitage and got caught up in the mob that was being shooed ahead of the Crown Prince & Crown Princess of Denmark, who were touring the place. I hadn?t realized that they?d even arrived in town yet. Lots of security and quite rude; I could see how people wind up in Siberia??. So, I left; to hell with their damn art, I?ve seen it all before anyway.


I think I?ve come to realize that at 64, I can?t do long trips anymore. I was thinking of doing the QM2 world trip out of NYC in January that goes for 187 days but I?d probably be so bored that I?d jump off the stern like Kate Winslet??


Well, tomorrow is the Dowager Empress? big day here. I am only going to St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in the afternoon and not the other ceremonies as it?s too much standing around. Her funeral cort?ge passes by my hotel in the morning and I have a balcony so some of the other guests and staff are going to watch from it. Maybe I?ll serve coffee and sandwiches & cakes or maybe not. Just depends if I?m feeling bitchy!!!!!!!



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Hi Cinemabuff64 & Cinematech,


Thanks for tuning into the further adventures of moi!!


I bought some postcards and I wish I knew how to get them in here. You wouldn't believe some of the rooms and buildings here. Breathtaking.....



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I just want to take this moment to to praise your informative/creative postings.


Who needs a TV when we have such entertaining and descriptive information?The Travel Channel should give you a spot and I guarantee it will be a ratings success.


I'll be the first one to watch.Keep 'em coming Larry!!

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Hello Everybody,


Sept 28th ?

Well, it?s all over. The big day has come and gone and the reburial all went off splendidly. That?s what I told Prince Dmitry, ?It was all splendid!??.. ?Very well done as befits an Imperial Lady!??.

And, I must say I was thrilled for Dmitry and Minnie and myself. It was exhilarating to watch an Imperial procession!!


Lots of pomp and pageantry:

Canons boomed out 101 gun salute from the Fortress.

Church bells rang out.

Flags flew at half mast throughout the city.

There were several large placards of Maria Feodorovna near the Winter Palace.

Motorists honked their horns as her coffin passed by.

People clapped and crossed themselves in the Orthodox sign of the cross.

It was all quite impressive and stirring and it brought a tear to everyone?s eyes, including mine.

Everyone seemed to know ? this was an event!!!!!!


I woke up early and got ready, in my mourning suit and grey cravat tie and went downstairs and to have another $38.00 breakfast (fool!) and then ordered an urn of coffee and some small sandwiches to be delivered for 10:00AM.

I had guests from 4 rooms and the cleaning staff from our floor all come to watch the procession from my terrace on the top floor.

I had no intension of going to the big Requiem High Mass at St. Isaac?s Cathedral as it is 3 hours of standing and boredom. So we watched the cortege with a military escort, the coffin draped in a yellow standard with the Romanov double-headed eagle on it, on a catafalque drive down the Nevsky Prospect toward The Winter Palace. She had just passed her old home, the Anichkov Palace down by the Fontanka Canal.

As she passed the Nicholas Cathedral and then the Kazan Cathedral their bells rang out. It was a pretty booming sound and then the huge bell at St. Isaac?s Cathedral sent shock waves right through my suite. Nobody was asleep in St.Petersburg this morning!!!!!! It was all very spine-tingling as our very bones started vibrating??.

There were quite a few people crowding the street and many knew what was happening. Some older ones cried out, ?Little Mother of Russia? in Russian and waved white handkerchiefs. Some men took their hats off. Quite respectful for a nation that doesn?t really know what?s going on?.

I bowed and so did a couple of others with me. I told the cleaning women to curtsey but they didn?t know how properly. It was kind of funny.


The rest we watched on TV:

There was a military salute at the Winter Palace in Palace Square and then the procession proceeded to St. Isaac?s Cathedral and a congregation of nearly 1000 people. There were about 200 Russian Orthodox priests and bishops there alone in their rich vestments. Once the Mass started, I turned the TV off and dismissed everyone ? out!!!


Two hours later, I left by taxi for the Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul and toured around there for about 15 minutes and then went into the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul to witness the reburial ceremony.

The outside of this building looks like a plain little old Dutch church but the inside is pure opulent Russian Orthodox. Everything is covered in gold baroque and rococco design. The walls are covered in marble and gold and the floors are all marble. I walked around the cathedral and visited the sarcophagus? of the Emperors and Empresses of Russia.


The tomb of Peter the Great is behind the main alter and then in order starting form the right along the walls are the rest. They are pure white onyx marble with a large gold Orthodox cross on top and their names in gold on the side. They are all fenced off by bronzed railings, so you can?t touch them. There are two tombs between each pillar and they continue around to half way up the left wall, where Nicholas II and Alexandra and three of their daughters are buried. Missing still are the Czarevich Alexis and the Grand Duchess Maria.

The Dowager Empress was buried on the left wall next to her husband, Alexander III and beside her son, Nicholas II.

The only odd one out is Alexander II, whose tomb is bright red marble, since he was assassinated. Spooky.


I took my place just as the dignitaries and guests were arriving from St. Isaac?s.

President Putin did not appear, nor did Boris Yeltzin, who was rumoured to be coming also. The Russian Minister of Culture, Sokolov(?) represented Russia.

The Crown Prince Frederick and the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark walked to the front followed by King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Prince Nicholas and Prince Dmitry Romanov lead their relatives to the area where The Dowager Empress was to be interred. I was about 3 rows behind them with a fairly good vantage point. Here there were only about 200 people gathered ? much more intimate!


Everyone was given candles and a white rose and an orchestra played solemn music.

Mr. Sokolov spoke of the great works Minnie performed for Russia during her time here from 1866 to 1919 as Empress and Dowager Empress. She built hospitals, orphanages, schools and cultural facilities around the country. During WWI, she personally outfitted 3 hospital trains to aid the soldiers.

He addressed the Empress with splendid homage and respect.

After a blessing, her coffin with the Imperial Standard was lowered into the white marble sarcophagus and then the Crown Prince put in a silver box full of Danish soil and the marble lid was lowered on top.

It was over ? after 87 years, Minnie had come home to her rightful resting place 140 years after she first set foot in Russia.


It was now later afternoon and we all adjourned to the Marble Palace, directly across the Neva River from the Fortress for a reception. Very, very chic canap?s and beautiful champagne, golden and rose, and I was introduced to everybody. CP Mary is quite beautiful and she?s from Australia; we talked about Steve Irwin. I told Prince Michael that I was going to explore the Vladimir Palace tomorrow, my last day in Russia. He is the great grandson of the Grand Duke Vladimir and the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, who used to live there. He laughed and said he might see me there!


Tonight there is a concert at the Maryinski Theater and a late supper served afterward just like when Maria Feodorovna herself entertained there. The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra is playing Mahler and Strauss. I will look forward to that but now I need a nap.





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