The Russian realm: the Russian core and peripheries (including Ukraine), the Eastern Frontier, Siberia and the Russian Far East. These photos (minus the first one) are ones that people don't see published yet evoke a strong sense of place.
Moscow: Iconic image of St. Basil's Cathedral adjacent to Red Square.
Moscow: pay toilets adjacent to Red Square; notice the person at the end, yes that is her 'office' where you pay for using the toilet and you can buy gum, soda, chips, cigarettes, etc... (they are neatly displayed inside her stall)
McDonald's in Moscow, notice the mural above the sign. What does this photo show about American corporations worldwide reach?
Moscow: Domed architecture is abundant throughout the city.
Moscow: Padlocks on a bridge over the Moscow River. People do the same thing on the Ponte De Vecchio in Florence, Italy and other cities throughout Europe; I've also seen them in cities such as Buenos Aires in South America.
Moscow: A view of St. Basil's Cathedral from the far end of Red Square. A lot of capitalism from street vendors to tour guides. Would you be willing to try some street food in Moscow?
Moscow: The subway in Moscow runs deep below the surface of the city - rumor has it that it was built that way to serve as a shelter during post-nuclear attack. I've been on rapid transit systems (subways) all over the world and Moscow's is one of the most difficult to navigate.
Moscow: Many dogs (often feral) wander around the city; here they are gathered in a park.
Omsk: taken from the Siberian Railway; graffiti, does this look similar or different to what you see where you live?
Yekaterinburg: Yes, there was a chimpanzee on the train - they were from Kazakhstan.
Novosibirsk: I decided to get off the train and spend some time in this city as it looked like a good stop on the map; there was no hotels/hostels so I ended up staying at a home-stay I found on-line in Moscow. No one in the house spoke English; they had several cats and the house smelled of cabbage, onions and cigarette smoke - despite all that my hosts were very friendly and did the best they could. Also, I arrived at night, could not figure out how to tell the cab driver to get to the address I had - they use a Cyrillic alphabet so I couldn't even write it down for him - luckily I found some college students who could read my English and tell him. He dropped me off at the door and I had to figure out which room my host family was in - I was very lucky to find it.
Novosibirsk: mailboxes at the above complex - yes, they too must get junk mail.
Novosibirsk: The track at the University made of several rubber mats. There was a soccer game in progress when I walked through campus.
Irkutsk: Kids are kids no matter where they grow up - or are they?
Near Irkutsk: people farming by hand. Hard to imagine that they still do this (I took this photo in 2007 and I doubt much has changed since then) Their homes are all wooden and drab but their windows are brilliantly light blue.
Lake Baikal: The world's deepest and oldest lake; I hiked a good portion of the day and it was amazing, imagine Lake Tahoe meets Switzerland. The water was crystal clear and the mountains in the background were something out of a fairytale. I want to go back but it is such an out of the way place (probably what hinders tourists keeping it fairly remote).
Have you ever heard the saying "don't judge someone until you walk a day in their shoes;" do you feel "Americans" are quick to place judgment, not only each other, but on foreign cultures? One has to have an openness about them to allow strangers to sleep next to them. In the photo below is the guy I shared a train car with for four days (Yuri). He was from Tajikistan and couldn't speak English or Russian. He was such a nice guy as he had a buffet with him, he kept pulling food out of his bag and pushed it over to me, and in his very rough attempt at English said, "please." Over and over again I kept hearing please, please, please - he was so generous. But what surprised me most was that on day three he pulled a cooked game-hen out of aluminum foil and pushed it over to me and said, "please." I don't know how he cooked it, or rather how he kept it hot for three days? It was a nice respite from cucumber, tomato, and cheese sandwiches, tea, and pot-noodle (ramens) that I had over the past three days. Yes we shared that small table in our train car, and I took this photo from my bed across the table to Yuri's bed.
I spent three days in a train car with the couple in the photo above - they were returning home from their honeymoon at the Black Sea -they lived in far east Russia along the Chinese border. He was a Russian Soldier. They didn't speak English either but through simple gestures I found out he was in the Russian military (I saw his ID badge on day two), so I showed him my US Air Force ID and he instantly took interest in me and started showing me photos on his digital camera from their honeymoon. I had a map and he grabbed my pen and showed me where they lived and where they vacationed, etc... Such a nice couple (although I will mention I shared a train car for three days with a young couple on their honeymoon so I did my best not to make it awkward by keeping out and pacing up and down the aisle of the train for hours (to give them their alone time). And just for perspective - I'm 6 feet tall and she was taller than I, so he was 6'7" 6'8"ish... big fella!!
Kiev: St. Andrew's Cathedral
Kiev: St. Andrew's Descent - this is a place where artisans sell their works, there are also a lot of antiques.
Kiev: All over the city people were shoveling snow off rooftops
Kiev: Icicles are everywhere, likely why everyone is so intent of shoveling rooftops; Soviet-era buildings must not be insulated well
Kiev: Unlike big cities in the USA, pedestrians cross streets underground. There are almost always shops and vendors beneath every street intersection.
Handicap access to below level street crossing; I would rather take my chances crossing a busy road than maneuver down this...
Kiev: World's deepest metro station - Arsenalna (105 meters) and the escalators are fast, really fast
Kiev: On my way to Arsenalna - unlike Moscow the subway system had ‘English’ in addition to Cyrillic so it was easier to navigate. Two plastic tokens for the metro (each token is one ride system-wide) cost me roughly 25 cents.
Kiev: You know its cold when the pigeons are huddling up next to a metro vent to catch some warmer air.
Instead of strollers people use sleds to tote their kids, groceries, etc… I saw the same thin in Norway.
Quite a few mobile espresso bars here in Kiev.
Ukraine has been independent from Russia (USSR) since 1991 yet there are still a lot of Soviet era statues.
Like Moscow, I saw packs of dogs wandering the streets in Kiev.
This happened to me once when I lived in Minneapolis, though being plowed in is better than being towed.
I couldn't get myself into this cafe to try one of these. Instead I had a Panini from a street vendor. A friend of mine from Latvia translated this for me upon my return to the USA; it reads: “Without sausages and lard – life is not good!”
Bessarabskiy Market, nice fillet of the sheep’s skull; much better job than the sheep skulls I saw in Africa.
I saw a three wedding parties in my short time here. All the brides wore a special bridal jacket for the cold temps. All of the couples placed flowers at the base of this memorial.
St. Michael's golden-domed monastery; Mykhailivska Square; I was here at 11:30 am and it was packed inside for service (literally I barely fit inside the door to catch a glimpse).
Some of the best architecture I've seen - entire roof of this building is copper
Cathedral at the Pechersk Lavra
Kiev: People's Friendship Arch overlooking the Dnipro River. Not quite as big as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis but still rather large (notice the couple walking beneath the archway).
Golden Gate - originally constructed in 1024 this was the gateway to the ancient city fortress. (Kiev recently celebrated its 1500 year anniversary!!)
Another ornate building near Pechersk Lavra; yes – the halos are real gold (they almost appear to be really glowing).
Photos, captions and descriptions by Tyrell Heaton
Place is the character of an area as defined by its physical and human features. Each place on earth has certain unique