Tag Archive | Russia

Yekaterinburg Photoblog: Part 1

It’s time to re-visit or rather finish what I started during my time doing the Trans-Siberian journey. I never did get around to posting the rest of my entries.
I last left off at arriving into Yekaterinburg.

The train arrived into Yekaterinburg really early in the morning. From memory around 5am or 6am.

From Yekaterinburg

I would spend the entire day here, with a train booked out that evening at around 9pm or 11pm. I figured I could get in a full day of sightseeing without having to spend a night on accommodation there. Yekaterinburg is a stop worthy of an overnight stay though. First thing first, was to find a shower facility inside the station. Along the Trans-Siberian railway stops, quite a few of the major stations are supposed to have shower facilities. I was keen to try one out and experience it. It’s an experience you’ll probably want to skip.

Here was the awkward looking shower cubicle:

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

I had my backpack with me and it was a rather small space trying to shower and change, and not get everything all wet.
Shower done. Feeling fresh. Had to spend the whole day on the move since I had no accommodation. Next was to store my backpack for the day in the station luggage holding area which I found in the basement.

Dumped my luggage here (and no that is not my suitcase!):

From Yekaterinburg

And then set off for the day, exploring Yekaterinburg. And it was still not even 7am yet.

One of the things that really struck me about Russia was the amount of space, Wide. Vast. Amounts of it. Everything was so wide and big. Such a contrast to Japan where everything is small, compact and compressed.

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

I passed a bison fur and leather store:

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

Note, these do not express my personal views on fur.

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

I loved all the enormous buildings and architecture:

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

There is also a lot of interesting history in Yekaterinburg. It’s one of the bigger cities in Russia as well being quite the academic hub with a main university here and lots of history and culture.

From Yekaterinburg

One of the major tourist attractions here is the Church of All Saints otherwise known as the Church on Blood – so called for it’s bloody history where the last Emperor of Russia and other family members were all murdered here during the Russian Civil War.

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

The building is pretty magnificent though.

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

Passed another cathedral – a blue coloured one. Not sure what it was called. It was just an interesting colour.

From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg
From Yekaterinburg

Stopped for breakfast at some point – pastries and a cup of tea:

From Yekaterinburg

Had managed to kill about 1-2 hours of the early morning so far.

I had two main reasons why I wanted to stop at Yekaterinburg. The next post will explain one of the reasons. Enjoy the suspense.

Afternoon Tea in Moscow: The Ritz

I have an overdue afternoon tea experience to write about. Back when I did the Trans-Siberian over the summer holidays, I, of course, found myself in Moscow. And naturally I made it my mission to have afternoon tea in Moscow. Being the overachiever I am, I did not one, but TWO afternoon teas during my three-day stay in Russia’s capital. You’d be surprised that there are a handful of venues that offer afternoon tea in Moscow. I did my research and narrowed it down to two venues, where I would grace my presence. Today’s review is of afternoon tea at the Ritz Hotel, Moscow. Had there been a Four Seasons Hotel in Moscow, I would have gone there as part of my Four Seasons Afternoon Tea project, but alas no Four Seasons in Moscow, so the Ritz it was. The Hotel:

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

And for those who don’t read English above, here it is in Russian:

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The hotel is within metres from Red Square (which you can see to the left of the photo):

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The hotel lives up to its brand — sheer opulence. The dictionary defines “ritz” as “ostentatious or pretentious display”. I had the Tsar Tea afternoon tea set in the Lobby Lounge, which includes a glass of champagne which is always welcome.

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The tea selection was impressive. 22 varieties of hot tea and 3 iced tea blends. Teas are mostly supplied by Ronnefeldt tea and also TWG. Yes, a table for one:

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

A relaxing cup of tea:

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

Four different kinds of sugar!

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

I was even served strawberries!

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The afternoon tea 3-tiered platter is a serving for two. So even though it was just me, I had to order the set as 2-person portion, which meant that there was double of everything. That’s a lot of food for one person!

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The spread:

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The food was pretty traditional. Nothing too crazy Russian, I guess.

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The savoury plate was a selection of 5 open finger sandwiches: – cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers – camembert, walnut and sour cream – sour cream and roe – cheese, ham, sour cream and capers – prosciutto, cucumber, sour cream Everything had sour cream. They use sour cream like it’s butter. They do love their sour cream in Russia.

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

Desserts was 2 different flavoured macaroons, a choc cup, some jubes, and a cake. One of the macaroon flavours was mint and basil. A little weird.

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

And the scones for last:

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

And yes, even the scones were served with sour cream! This is a thing in Russia. Sour cream with everything. I love sour cream as much as the next person, but on my scones! Even I have limits. Scones, sour cream and jam is just a weird combination. I actually even had the audacity to ask for fresh cream. They happily obliged and gave me a generous serve of fresh cream.

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

Now that’s more like that. Topped with strawberry jam.

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

Afternoon tea in Moscow. Check.

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

Hotel interior:

From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow
From Afternoon tea, Ritz Moscow

The Tsars Tea afternoon tea set cost 2500 rubles (portion for 2). So for two people, I think you get to split that cost. It does include a glass of champagne, 3-tier platter of food and unlimited tea. Not recommended if you have an aversion to sour cream!