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Carol A. Grice - Signed Articles of Agreement August 8, 2009, 44th Learner

United States Navy

This is my beginning to My Life, My Lineage, My First Paperback Book. I invite you to read my journey as I compose each chapter of the 14 Level Reintegration Program. My success is your success and our community's success. Thank you for your courage and support. To post comments you must register with our community. You can view this outline  I am using to map out my progess. Thank you for your comments, I value them.

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  • Saturday, August 11, 2012 17:11 | Carol Grice



    Milking 100 cows each morning and evening, Bailing hay, Feeding the cattle and slopping the hogs was all part of daily activity on the farm.

    However there was always time for fun per the photo attached.

    Left to right is brother Chuck riding Barney our shetland pony. Next is Carol in the saddle on her beloved spotted Indian pony Ginger. Standing on the ground is brother Bob. To his left is his spotted Indian pony Smokey. A friend on the saddle.

    The building in the rear that looks like a house is the country school we attended with all 8 grades in one room. I was the only student in my class until the 8th grade when joined by a boy that was held back to repeat his 8th grade studies again.

     

  • Thursday, August 02, 2012 13:50 | Carol Grice

    All in all, it is been a great ride!  Click on the sentence in red to read the story.

    I appreciate your support. My School of Nursing deleted this information. In my mind no instutition should delete it's histortical data. Thus it is now posted on the SWVBRC website by my request.

    Carol.

  • Sunday, September 11, 2011 14:29 | Carol Grice

    Tallinn, Estonia

     

    We left Leningrad by bus for a 51/2-hour trip to Tallinn. It rained most of the way. The countryside was pretty. We made one pit stop to use the bathroom, which consisted of trees and bushes at the side of the road. I have developed a bad head cold and feel terrible.

     

    We arrived in Tallinn at 1430. Scheduled to stay at Hotel Tallinn, but the tour company changed the reservations, which was a good thing. Hotel Tallinn was the pits. We ended up at Hotel Viru, which was Finnish built, and run by staff from Finland. It was considered the best hotel in the entire Soviet Union.

    Our room was very nice with plenty of space, and a decent shower. We rested for a while then had dinner at 2000, followed by a lecture with questions and answers with Dr. Feldman.

     

    Monday 17 July 1989. I decided to skip the morning city tour and rest. My cold is terrible and don’t want to spread my germs and make anyone else sick. Got up around 1030 and feel better.

     

    The site of Tallinn is thought to have been settled by Finno-Ugric people around 2500 BC. There was probably an Estonian trading settlement here from around the 9th century AD, and a wooden stronghold was built on Toompea (the hill dominating Tallinn) in the 11th century. The Danes under King Waldemar II (who conquered Northern Estonia in 1219 met tough resistance at Tallinn and were on the verge of retreat when a red flag with a white cross fell from the sky into the bishop’s hands. Taking this as a sign of God’s support, they went on to win the battle; the flag became their national flag. The Danes set their own castle on Toompea. The origin of the name Tallinn is thought to be from the Taani linn, Estonian for Danish town.

     

    With the start of the Protestant Reformation the German influence became even stronger as the city was converted to Lutheranism. There are many beautiful churches in the city.

     

    During WWII the city suffered greatly with thousands of buildings destroyed during Soviet bombing in 1944. After the war, under Soviet control large-scale industry was developed in Tallinn – including the USSR’s biggest grain handling port. The population of this city speaks 3 languages. French 5%, German 20-25% and the rest speak English. Although under Russian control from 1944 to the present, most of the people refuse to speak Russian. Tallinn gained its independence in 1991. It was a fascinating city to visit.

     

    After dinner we had several people from the city speak with us.  Five teachers and 1 physicist.

     

    This brings my 3 weeks in Russia to a close. Tomorrow we board the Ferry to travel approximately 2 hours back to Helsinki. My exchange student and her father will be meeting us to take us to the home in Pori, Finland for 3 weeks of sightseeing in Finland.

     

    I hope you have enjoyed this adventure.  I doubt however anyone has bothered to read it considering not one single comment has been posted.  Such is life. One can only make an attempt to post an interesting event even if no one is the least bit interested. 

     

    All in all, it is been a great ride!

  • Tuesday, August 30, 2011 15:36 | Carol Grice

    Welcome to Leningrad

    In this beautiful city of canals and bridges, the sightseeing was breathtaking. The former capital of a grand and Glorious empire, which stretched over much of the globe. It is chock-full of culture and history. Although just 300 years old it has an exciting history. Founded in 1703 by Emperor Peter the Great as his “window on the west”. Named then St. Petersburg. Sightseeing took us along the Nevsky Avenue. The main street of the city. Planned by Peter the Great as beginning the road to Novgorod and Moscow, the avenue runs from Admiralty to the Moscow Railway Station and, after making a turn at Vosstaniya Square, to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The chief sights include the Rastrellie Stroganov Palace, the huge neoclassical Kazan Cathedral, the Art Nouveau Bookhouse, Eliisseeff Emporium, half a dozen 18the century churches, a monument to Catherine the Great, an enormous 18th-century shopping mall, a mid 19th-century department store, the Russian National Library, and the Anichkov Bridge with its horse statues.

     

    The Nevsky today functions as the main thoroughfare in Saint Petersburg. The majority of the city’s shopping and nightlife, as well as the most expensive apartments, are located on or right of the Nevsky Prospekt.

     

    Summer Palace of Emperor Peter the Great. This private palace was built between 1710 and 1712. It contains just 14 rooms and was the summer residence of Peter the Great and his family from 1712 until the Emperor’s death in 1725.

    The two story yellow palace is very modest in appearance for a royal residence. Each floor of the palace consists of 7 rooms. Peter the Great resided on the lower floor of the palace while his wife preferred the upper floor.

    The palace stands on the bank of the Fontanka River where if flows into the mighty Neva River.

     

    Past History of interest. A socialist City: Leningrad (1924-1941). Shortly after the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin died the city was renamed from St. Petersburg to Leningrad (supposedly by public demand). During the years of the Revolution the population of the city had dropped dramatically and the city was slow to recover from the rigors and tragedies of war.

     

    In the late 1920’s mass construction of cheap housing for workers became a very prominent feature of the Leningrad landscape. Many cultural centers, palaces of culture, were built to provide the city’s people with entertainment, clubs and other social activities. In terms of architecture most of what was built was rather modern and less than inspiring. The large apartments that had been constructed during St. Petersburg’s Imperial era were turned into “communal” (shared) apartments, housing several families. Life was not easy in the socialist city of Leningrad, but the population was to suffer even greater hardships during WWII and the dramatic 900-day Siege of Leningrad.

     

    The siege of Leningrad lasted September 1941 to 1944. By the end of the siege, some 632,000 people are thought to have died with nearly 4,000 people from Leningrad starving to death on Christmas Day, 1941. The city, one of the primary targets of “Operation Barbarossa” was expected “to fall like a leaf” (Hitler)

     

    This was undoubtedly the most tragic period in the history of the city. A period full of suffering and heroism. The city’s almost 3 million civilians (including about 400,000 children) refused to surrender and endured rapidly increasing hardships in the encircled city. Food and fuel stocks were limited to a mere 1-2 month supply. Public transportation was not operational and by the winter of 1941-1942, there was no heating, no water and almost no electricity and very little food. Only about ¼ of a pound of bread per day.

    In January and February of 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and starvation. Despite these tragic losses and inhuman conditions the city’s war industries still continued to work and the city did not surrender.

     

    The treasures of the Hermitage and the suburban palaces were hidden in the basement of the Hermitage and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. For some extremely interesting facts (5 pages) google “The Siege of Leningrad.

     

    Other items of sightseeing included a visit to the palace of Catherine the Great. The palace may even be more impressive than the Hermitage. 

     

    Evening entertainment consisted of dinner at the city’s best restaurant atop the Leningrad Hotel with a magnificent view. We also were treated to an evening at the Opera and an evening of ballet. We completed our time in Leningrad on 16 July 1989 at 0930 and headed for Tallin. A 6 hour trip by bus.

  • Sunday, August 21, 2011 12:57 | Carol Grice

    Kiev

    The flight to Kiev was very pleasant. We were scheduled to stay at the first class Hotel Lybed. Kiev is the capital of the Ukraine, on the Dnieper River. Known in ancient times as the route between the “Varangians and the Greeks” in Constantinople, this city and its people have a long great culture and historic heritage.

     

    According to ancient legend Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine was founded by 3 brothers and their sister.

    The city was named after the oldest brother, Kyi, which is Ukrainian spelling. Kiev is Russian.

     

    Archeological excavations show evidence of the first settlements on the territory of Kiev, 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. During the 11th and 12th centuries ancient Kiev reached its greatest period of ascendancy. By the 11th century Kiev was one of the largest centers of civilization in the Eastern Christian world. At that time, there were about 400 churches, 8 markets and more than 50.000 inhabitants.

    Kiev suffered severely during WWII, when many unique architectural and artistic treasures were destroyed.

    As we explored various historical buildings many had photos at the entrance of the extensive damage done to the building. Then we were able to witness the restoration that had taken place in the following years. It was extremely impressive.

     

    Our only excursion this afternoon was of the Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Art. Approximately 17,000 artworks and 2,000 pieces. The day was ended with a very nice dinner, which included flowers and a birthday cake for Mrs. Grice. Dinner was followed with dancing.

     

    Tuesday 11 July 1989. We started the day with a nice breakfast and then went on a City Tour. First stop was St. Andrews church. It took 6 years to erect the church and 15 more to decorate its interior. When you walk inside, you cannot help being impressed by the lavishness and at the same time graceful beauty of the interior decorations, and looking at all these splendors one stops wondering why it took so long to decorate the church with paintings and stucco work. St. Andrews Church is a true architectural marvel and it would be futile to give it justice by trying to describe the exquisite gracefulness of its shape. One has to see it with one’s own eyes. It is unique in its design and there is not a single one like it anywhere else in the world.

     

    Directly across from St. Andrews church was the ruins of “The Church of the Tithes. At the time all buildings were built from wood. This was the first to be built of stone during the years of 989-996. The only thing that currently remains is the foundation and a few crumbled ruins. For additional history do a google search.

     

    Following lunch we visited the Friendship Society to speak with University students regarding the changes occurring in Russia.

     

    We had dinner at 1730 at an International Restaurant, which included a few cockroaches running around on the table and floor. One must be a brave person with a strong stomach to travel in 3rd World countries. After dinner we attended a performance of Russian Folk dancing.

     

    Earlier than the sovereignty of Peter the Great, dance in Russia subsisted only among the commoners, among the peasants and lowest classes living outside the city fortresses. The feudal aristocracy did not dance, but enjoyed the entertaining performances of dancing clowns, who were on the whole, men. First certified evidence of Russian folk dancing and Russian folk music goes back to the year 907 when Great Russian Prince Oleg celebrated his triumph over Greeks in Kiev. During the grand Dinner, 16 male dancers clad as bears and four bears clad as Russian dancers performed for the guests. After the dinner was over Great Prince commanded to release the bears into the wild and to execute all the dancers.

     

    After the civil war came to an end and the blood of the revolt had dried out, the Soviets fixed the funds to arrange the first state established troupe of the Russian folk dancers. In 1937 the first skilled group of Russian folk dance was born under the guidance of Igor Moiseyev. It is still believed to be the preeminent academic group of folk dance in the world. Moiseyev laid the establishment of the classic dance for the creativeness and elation of the Russian folklore. This initiative was victorious, the west loved it and nowadays the group is enormously famous. Almost all the choreographers in the world use the performance, tricks and concepts of this dance company.

     

    Wednesday 12 July 1989. Following breakfast we visited Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery and Catacombs, which is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery. According to the Primary Chronicle, in the early 11th century, Anthony as an Orthodox monk from Esphigmenon monastery on Mount Athos, originally from Liubech of the Principality of Chernihiv, returned to Russia and settled in Kiev as a missionary of monastic tradition to Kievan Russia. He chose a cave at the Berestove Mount that overlooked the Dnieper River and a community of disciples soon grew. Prince Iziaslav I of Kiev ceded the whole mount to the Antonite monks who founded a monastery built by architects from Constantinople.

     

    The Kiev Pechersk Lavra contains numerous architectural monuments, ranging from bell towers to cathedrals to underground cave systems and to strong stone fortifications. There are over a hundred burials in the Lavra. During the Soviet era the bodies of the saints that lay in the caves were left uncovered due to the regime’s disregard for religion. However after the fall of the soviet Union, the bodies were covered with a cloth and to this day remain in the same state.

     

    Today we had a very special lunch that included Russian folk music and wine.

     

    After lunch we visited St Sophia’s Cathedral. The first foundation was laid on 1037. It took 2 decades to complete. The history is long and complicated. If interested please google for additional information.

     

    Our next site was Babyn Yar Monument, dedicated to the Jewish people killed by Germans during the occupation of 1941. The Hitlerist bandits commented mass murder of the Jewish population. They announced that on September 29, 1941 all the Jews were required to arrive to the corners of Melnikov and Doklerev streets and bring their documents, money and valuables. The butchers marched them to Babyn Yar, took away their belongings then shot them. They marched tens of thousands of Jews to the Babyn Yar

    Ravine stripped them, shot them and pushed them in.

     

    Dinner was at 1830 followed by a 90-minute boat trip down Dineper River. A fabulous trip full of wonderful sights.

     

    Tomorrow we head for Leningrad, so stay tuned for 4 days of interesting events.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Thursday, August 11, 2011 12:26 | Carol Grice

    Baku Adventure.

    Arrival at the airport for our flight to Baku was yet another interesting situation. There were lots of cartoons about Perestroika with English translations. The jest of them is “if it belongs to you, you are likely to take better care of it”. Wonder why it took them so long to figure that out.

    We are traveling with about 1 gallon of water for use while in Baku. The water in Baku is not safe to drink.

    Entering the plane was yet another breathless experience. The odor was horrible and the carpet was so wrinkled the flight attendants had to lift the cart down the isle. The flight was 2 hours and they did offer some food. A piece of cold greasy chicken, a large tasteless cookie and a cup of tea. They reuse the cups and only rinse them out between uses. Taking photos in the airport or the inside of the plane is forbidden. Without photos to back up my claims it is likely no one would believe the condition of this flight. The flight attendants were certainly not selected for a beauty pageant. They were nearly as wide as the isle between the seats. Uniform was navy blue skirt, white blouse, white shoes without hose. One does need a fly swatter when taking a flight on a Russian commercial airplane.

     

    We finally arrived at our destination and as we deplaned there was an apartment complex near the airport that was indeed very near to a slum area as you might imagine. Someone in the group yelled out Baku Airport Hilton anyone? The expression on Wilma’s face was priceless.

    We drove to the hotel in downtown Baku. It wasn’t much better than the slum like apartment complex near the airport.

    The odor in the lobby was horrible. Equivalent to the extremely polluted Grand Canal in China. 

    The room was a little larger than the last hotel, but oh my! The construction was something else. Door handles falling off. Sink was broken and no face plate over the keyhole. Just a hole in the wood. AC did work.

    This area is located in the South Caucasus, located partially in Eastern Europe and partially in Western Asia. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the west and northwest Armenia to the southwest and Iran to the South. In general it was indeed not a very clean area.

     

    Sunday 9 July 1989.  0900 breakfast of baked eggs, bread, cheese and apple juice. Before our Russian guide had a chance to warn me I drank the juice, which was watered down, and as mentioned above the water isn’t safe to drink. Oh well, I must have a cast iron stomach as I did not develop any adverse symptoms.

     

    After breakfast we went on a city tour, which included an ancient market, and the 11th century Tower of the Maiden. Baku is thought to been inhabited since the Stone Age. It has a rich history and in particular the 12th century Maiden Tower. I suggest you google to learn more regarding the Maiden Tower.

     

    Lunch consisted of steak (which was extremely tough) potatoes and an excellent soup. After lunch we visited the Fire Temple which originates from the 17th Century. A pentagonal complex has a courtyard surrounded by cells for monks. It was abandoned after 1883 when oil and gas plants were established in the vicinity. The flame still burns but from natural gas piped in from the city of Baku. Next we visited the City Bazaar. It was extremely crowded and had lots of fruit and vegetables for sale. The main resources of this area are cotton and oil.

     

    Monday 10 July 1989.  Happy Birthday Carol.

    Up at 0600 and guess what?  An upset stomach and diarrhea. Must have been the apple juice watered down with the Baku water. Today we leave this less than desirable place. Hotel baggage people were informed to take large luggage but leave the hand luggage. Hand luggage was to be placed in the hotel lobby. So much for instructions. Some of the group had all luggages taken to the airport, including their hand luggage and went straight to the airport. A total complicated mess.

     

    For breakfast I ate only a hard-boiled egg and drank some tea. Vera, our Russian guide gave me some pills to take for my upset stomach. She said “You see you have been eating Russian food, so you have to kill it with Russian pills”. I’m not certain I agreed however I thought one of 3 things could happen. I would get better, get worse, or stay the same. So I decided to take the pills, but also added a little Pepto-Bismol, which I always carry with me when I travel.

     

    We arrived at the airport at 0910 for our flight to Kiev. The airport waiting room had a terrible odor. Cleaning and proper odor elimination certainly isn’t high on their priority list of things to do to make the tourists have a pleasant experience. Time to move on to another adventure.

    Hope you are enjoying this historic trip with a great group of people.

     

     

     

     

  • Sunday, August 07, 2011 14:04 | Carol Grice

    Simferopol/Yalta

     

    Notes of Information: When we arrived in Moscow a young Russian lady/tour guide greeted us. She stayed with the group for the entire week.

     

    Tipping: Gratitude for service was not given in the form of money. Tips consisted of giving them items they were not able to obtain in Russia. Such as lipstick, perfume, fashion magazines, blank cassette tapes, ballpoint pens and small games for children.

     

    Drinking water was also often a problem is certain areas. Thus the trip was planned in a way that the city water was safe to drink but the next city the water was not safe to drink, so we were tasked to carry our own water for use in those areas.

     

    The Flight to Simperopol

    Don’t think for a minute you will be served cocktails, peanuts or a snack. But then who wants to eat or drink on an airplane that smells like a cesspool. The flight was 2 hours. When we arrived we had our evening dinner in this location. Plain boiled old potatoes, tough chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and ice cream. There were wrapped pieces of chocolate candy on the table that smelled something like mothballs. Following dinner it was a 2 hour buss ride to Yalta. We are 800 miles south of Moscow so it does get dark at night. I slept during the trip. We arrived at the Hotel 30 minutes past midnight. The room was nice but extremely small which made it super crowded with our suitcases in the room.

     

    I’m starting to look like a bum. My clothes are dirty, baggie, wrinkled and smelly from the rain, heat and humidity.

     

    Thursday 6 July 1989. As we were extremely tired from yesterday’s long trip, breakfast was scheduled for 0900. Once again we were served the traditional 60% fat salami, cheese, bread, pancakes and juice. After breakfast we toured the Alupka castle. It is situated at the foot of the Crimean Mountains. Constructed 1830-1848 to be used as the summer residence of the Governor General. It over looks the Black Sea. It was extremely beautiful and interesting. There was a tour guide giving us information about the castle. She got on my case because I was recording what she was saying because I had not first asked for her permission. Oh well, we are in a Communist country.

     

    After lunch we to a trip to the Children’s Pioneer camp. It was huge. Children come from all over the East Block countries to attend this camp. It is the one that Samantha Smith attended. (The American youngster that wrote a letter to Gorbachev and was invited to stay at the camp for 10 days).  There are approximately 2000 children at the cam and it is run year around. During the winter months they have regular school sessions. The children are age 10 and above. The counselors area age 18 and above. The children preformed for us with dance routines. They also wanted to converse with us. They were cute and most pleasant. We gave them our gifts of ballpoint pens, writing tablets and other school supplies. Then we returned to the hotel for dinner.

    After dinner we had another discussion regarding the changes in the Soviet Union, Then a few of us went to a very quiet cocktail lounge. Some of the group went to the lounge at the opposite end, which had extremely loud, and a terrible band. It was extremely crowded with people from East Germany.

     

    Friday 7 July. It looks like a beautiful day. After breakfast we had a boat trip of the coastline that included the Swallow’s nest castle. I highly recommend you google the Swallow’s nest castle to learn of it’s history and view some awesome photo’s.

    After lunch we had a tour of the Ukrainian summer palace of Czar Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia and the site of the Yalta Conference.

     

    Dinner was at 1930 which consisted of wonderful white fish, fresh tomatoes and believe it or not wine and champagne. Dancing followed dinner.

     

    Saturday 8 July 1989. The morning was free. After lunch we had a group photo then a 2-hour bus ride to the airport for our flight to Baku. It is the capital of Azerbaijan.

     

    You haven’t lived an exciting experience until you take a flight to this area. So stay tuned for another adventure.

     

     

     

      

  • Thursday, July 28, 2011 10:51 | Carol Grice

    Third day of sightseeing/Moscow

     

    Tuesday 4 July 1989. Breakfast at 0830.  In Russia if you want a cup of coffee prior to 0900 you are out of luck. They absolutely refuse to serve you coffee until you have finished your breakfast. You can imagine how well that went over with a bunch of American’s who gulp down a cup of coffee before their eyes are even open. In order to finally get a cup of coffee we had to indulge in apple juice, salami and a cheese blintz. The salami was 60% fat. Finally they served us a cup of coffee.

     

    Our adventure for today was to visit the Kremlin and Cathedral Square. We saw the building where Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan had their talks. Also the largest bell in the world, which cracked and has never rang and the largest cannon in the world, which has never been fired.

     

    Next stop was the Armory. It is one of the oldest and most opulent Kremlin museums, which houses a major collection of applied and decorative art. Built over many centuries the collection contains nearly 10 thousand objects documenting the achievements of craftsmen in Russia both native and foreign, within and outside the Kremlin from the 12th to the 20th century. Items owned by royalty such as silver, gold and china collections. Gowns worn by Catherine the Great and clothes worn by Peter the Great. Robes and carriages owned by Royalty. .

     

    The work of Faberge and his colleagues was not accorded due recognition until recently.

     

    Faberge “The Imperial Easter Egg” The interesting history is much too lengthy to include in this writing. Many of the collection were not available for viewing as it was on tour outside of Russia.  My favorites were Coronation Egg, The Trans-Siberian Railway Egg and the Red Cross Egg with Resurrection Triptych. Faberge created 56 Imperial Eggs for Czar Alexander III and other Czars that followed. These exquisite eggs were given as gifts to each other with in the Royal family. It was breath taking.

     

    Time to return to the Hotel for lunch and yet another interesting meal that consisted of Beef Stroganoff, rice, peas and ice cream. The Stroganoff was 90% onions, 5% sauce and 5% beef. (I HATE ONIONS). The ice cream was good.

     

    After lunch we went to the Lenin Museum. The museum was opened in May of 1924, with more that 12,500 exhibits displayed on 3 floors. On November 16 1993 President Boris Yeltsin ordered the closure of the museum. The building that housed the museum since 1936 is expected to be returned to its orginal purpose-housing the Moscow Duma, a local government council. The museum’s collection of Lenin’s memorabilia is being put in storage until a decision is made where to keep it.

     

    Back to the Hotel for dinner and prepare for an evening at the Tchaikovsky Theater of folk music and opera. The theater was extremely warm and it was difficult to stay awake.

    We returned to the Hotel at 2200 to pack for tomorrow’s trip to Yelta. We were up until midnight. Even though tired it seems it is difficult to sleep when the sun never sets such as here in the land of the midnight sun.

     

    Wednesday 5 July 1989. We were up at 0530 to dress for the day and place our bags outside the Hotel room by 0630 for pick up. Keeping our carry on with us.

    Breakfast of Cream of wheat, hard-boiled eggs, bread and the usual fatty cold salami. After breakfast we toured the Puskin Museum of fine arts. I was forced to check my purse because of its size. I guess they thought I might steal something.

     

    Our last event in Moscow was to visit the residence of a female PhD for a round table discussion about Russia. She was 69 years old and a devout communist and proud of it. It was an interesting discussion and she was obviously very diplomatic to have survived the many political régimes over the years without being executed or jailed. Her apartment was extremely small consisting of 3 rooms and a bath.

     

    We returned to the Hotel for lunch which was fairly decent including fresh tomatoes.

     

    We gathered our hand luggage and left for the airport for our trip to Yelta. The airport was a zoo. It was very dirty and poorly maintained. So many people you could hardly move. We boarded the plane (Areoflot, which we lovingly called Areoflop) at 1715. Due to technical problems the take off time was delayed until 1840.

     

    Next blog is about our flight to Simferopol  which is the closest airport to Yalta, Russia.

    Stay tuned for more Russian adventures.

     

  • Thursday, July 21, 2011 16:21 | Carol Grice

    Sight seeing in Moscow

    Sunday 2 July 1989.  It is raining in Moscow but that doesn’t interfere with the schedule.

    At 1230 we were treated to a City Tour. One of the stops was Red Square. Red Square began life as a slum; a shantytown of wooden huts clustered beneath the Kremlin walls that housed a collection of peddlers, criminals and drunks whose status left them outside the official boundaries of the medieval day. It was cleared on the orders of Ivan III at the end of the 1400’s but remained the providence of the mob, the site of public executions and rabble rousing until much later.

    The squares name has nothing to do with Communism or with the color of many of its buildings.

    Red Square came into it’s own in the 20th Century, when it was most famous as the site of official military parades demonstrating to the world the might of the Soviet armed forces.

    Since Perestroika, however the emphasis has moved away from the official pomp and Red Square has been used increasingly for rock concerts, big classical music performances and a whole range of large-scale events from fashion shows to festivals of circus art. Moscow met the millennium here with a huge firework display and street party. It was indeed a fascinating place to visit.

     

    We returned to the Hotel to prepare for dinner. In Russia you do not leave your room key at the front desk. Each floor has a key lady. You turn your key in and she gives you a card. When you return you give her the card and she gives you the key to your room. Their shifts are 24 hours long. 

     

    We showered and dressed for dinner. Our room was adequate. No bedspreads, towels did not match and appeared to be pieces of Terry cloth cut towel size and hemmed on the sides. No wash clothes. The glasses were plastic and likely previously used.  Needless to say I scrubbed my glass thoroughly prior to using it.

     

    DINNER:  This is dinner? I won’t be gaining weight during this trip.

    1. Ham and 3 olives on a plate.
    2. A small pastry cup with Red caviar.
    3. Deep fried fish. Ok considering we were very hungry.
    4. Dry jellyroll for desert.

    It was such an interesting meal I fell asleep at the table. The service was worse. One of the waiters walked around picking his teeth while a few others were attempting to sell jars of black caviar to us. This day needs to end.

     

    Monday 3 July 1989. We awoke at 0400 after a wonderful 8 hours of sleep tucked under our belts and still truly felt like a freight train had run over us. Jet lag is such a wonderful experience. The beds are hard. The pillows are square and hard and the sheets are like starched table clothes. The city still sleeps except for the rattle of streetcars buses and a few taxi’s.  It is overcast and looks like another cold rainy day.

     

    Breakfast was at 0830 and by no means an elegant champagne gourmet occasion.

    Watered down plum juice, bread, cold cuts, salt free butter and oatmeal. The cream was warm and had the appearance and smelled like watered down Similac or Enfamil.

    City tour started at 0930.We went to the Exhibition of Peoples Achievements.  A very large area that contains many exhibitions, including the Space Exhibition. The building that contained the space exhibition had a very bad leak in the roof and the floor was covered with water.

    Another area was the Children’s achievement exhibition. This was an interesting morning. Now it’s time for lunch. At this point food is becoming a thing with me so look forward to something at least somewhat tasty. We had coleslaw but it was loaded with onions (which I can’t eat) Potato soup was excellent. Pot roast, French fries with a sauce on them (that’s different) and lemon vanilla ice cream.  Like our hotel room it was adequate but the service is still very bad and the one waiter continues to pick his teeth while waiting on the tables.

     

    At 1400 we went to the Metro Circle. (Subway). Moscow has approximately 140 miles of subway transportation in operation and 7 million people per day use the subway system. It is the only public transportation that pays for its self. All others are state subsidized. The stations are indeed beautiful. The walls are marble with ceramic floors, statues, mosaic creations on the ceilings, cut stained glass and crystal chandeliers. One of the stations had 32 stained cut glass creations. Each station is dedicated to a different situation, such as art etc. All stations are different. Trains come every 60 seconds. It is so far beneath the ground it goes under the Moscow riverbed. The escalators are extremely rapid and seemingly nearly straight down. A bit frightening, as it is so steep with a very rapid decent. The cost is 5 Kopecks to enter and you can ride the entire metro system as long as you don’t go out of a station.

     

    Our next adventure was to go shopping at a Beriozka. A shop for foreigners only. The Russian people are not allowed to purchase from these shops. I didn’t purchase a thing. I must be sick.

     

    We returned to the hotel and dinner, followed by an evening at the Moscow Circus. I decided to skip this event, as tomorrow will be a very hectic day. The weather is not pleasant. Cold and lots of rain.

     

    Third day of sightseeing in Moscow to follow in the next blog.  I hope you stay tuned for additional adventures in Russia.

  • Thursday, July 14, 2011 10:29 | Carol Grice

    Helsinki to Moscow (15 hours by train)

    Upon arriving at the train station we had to walk the entire length of the platform to our reserved car #2. Luggage had been delivered to that area of the platform but it was up to us to get it aboard.  It was a frantic time as the passageway on the train was only about 3 feet wide. When finished the entire passageway was filled with luggage and there was barely enough room to walk. Wilma settled us in a compartment. It was approximately 5 x 6 feet with 3 bunks. Originally we were to have only 2 people to a compartment but Russian tactics suddenly had us assigned 3 to a compartment. Dr. Feldman was running around trying to get everyone divided and settled with 3 individuals to a compartment. As he breezed past our compartment I said, “Do we get you?  About 20 minutes later he returned and said, “Here I am girls --- I’m all yours”.

    After this monumental ordeal of confusion, we decided it was time to break out the scotch and snacks. A few of our traveling companions joined us for cheese, crackers, wonderful supermarket cold greasy chicken and scotch to wash it down.  We will be hungry by the time we reach Moscow providing we are still alive.

     

    Now that we were reasonably settled for a lengthy trip to Moscow following being fortified with a little food and scotch, time to check out those areas that might be part of managing this ordeal. Such as the head facilities. For you non-Navy people that is the bathroom.  It was located at the end of the car and was indeed a breathless experience.

    Darn. Why didn’t I think about bringing a biological odor eliminator with me?  Or better still a gas mask. The non-smokers on the trip suggested we smoke in the head to improve the odor. They thought smoke would be a welcome improvement. As I did an inventory of the facility I noted the following. The paper towel dispenser was mounted upside down and of course was empty.  There was a dispenser for seat protectors but it was empty. As for the toilet paper that was available you might compare it with a fine type of sand paper. My trips to this area were as infrequent as my bladder would allow.

     

    As we traveled over the rails in Finland the ride was smooth.  When we crossed the boarder into Russia the ride became extremely rough. The countryside was changed from well-groomed farmland and buildings to very poorly kept farmland and shabby homes and other buildings.

     

    During the first few hours of travel on the “Green Train” we had multiple stops for Passport and Visa inspections. Then we decided to explore the rest of the train and perhaps the dining room. This was not an easy task as there was not a secure walkway between the cars. We leaped from one car to another hoping we would not fall onto the tracks below. At 2330 we found the dining car packed with people.

     

    Time to make an attempt to get some sleep. We finally figured out how to pull the bunks down and get the bedding organized. Not that it mattered much. We slept in our clothes.

    Dr. Feldman had the top bunk. Wilma the middle one and I had the bottom. Dr. Feldman was not a bargain compartment mate due to his intense snoring. We managed about 1 hour of sleep and was awake at 0300. We decided to fix some left over food from our wonderful evening meal. We were hungry so even stale bread and room temperature cheese tasted pretty good.

    We arrived in Moscow at 0845 on Sunday 2 July being met by a downpour of rain. Moscow has been the capital of Russia since the late 15th century. Population about 9 million. People who presented them with a bouquet of flowers greeted Russian passengers.

     

    We boarded a bus and were on our way to our Hotel. Cosmos Hotel. Room 1123. We settled in our room, brushed up a little and went to the dining room for breakfast. As it was about 1030 instead of normal breakfast time it appeared the waiters were totally confused. I am rapidly figuring out the people don’t adapt well to the out of the ordinary situation.

     

    Next blog title:  Sight seeing in Moscow.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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