Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Saint Petersburg‘s  Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood impressed us — we had not seen such an ornate, fanciful church. The church was built as a memorial on the site where the Russian tsar was assassinated in 1881. From wikipedia, “On March 13, 1881 (Julian date: March 1), as Tsar Alexander’s carriage passed along the embankment, a grenade thrown by an anarchist conspirator exploded. The tsar, shaken but unhurt, got out of the carriage and started to remonstrate with the presumed culprit. A second conspirator took the chance to throw another bomb, killing himself and mortally wounding the tsar.”

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The Winter Palace

We visited Russia primarily for the Hermitage Museum, and we wound up enjoying the Winter Palace as much as the art. The main building of the Hermitage Museum, the Winter Palace was the seat of the Russian tsars for 180 years until the Russian Revolution. It’s the fourth palace built on this site facing the Neva River.

Winter Palace from the Neva
Winter Palace from the Neva

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Art Nouveau at Bouillon Racine

One can see art nouveau at Paris metro stations, some of which have curved railings and signs. Art nouveau was “was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants, but also in curved lines. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment”.

In Paris we dined at the Bouillon Racine, a restaurant built in 1906 with an art nouveau style. The upstairs dining room has curved light fixtures, chairs, and mirror moldings. (Click on photos to see enlargements.)

Bouillon Racine upstairs
Bouillon Racine upstairs

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Sunday Stroll in the Marais

On a Sunday morning we strolled through the Marais district of Paris, as we did two years ago. People were out on sunny day, and the streets are closed to cars, turning the neighborhood into a large pedestrian zone.

We started at the Marché de la Bastille, a farmers market anchored by the Place de la Bastille. Above, this marble fountain in the middle of the market is a good place. We bought crêpes at the stand on the left. We were tempted by the roast suckling pig on the other side of the fountain, stopping several times, but we eventually decided to pass. The July column in the center of the Place is in the background.

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Walks Along the Seine

We visited Paris in April, renting an apartment in the Marais, two blocks from the Seine and Île Saint-Louis. The banks of the Seine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has some great walks. We walked a lot, crossing the Seine visiting places missed on earlier trips.

Here’s a map with our Paris activities; our apartment’s near the center.

our 2016 Paris vacation
our 2016 Paris vacation

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Big Sur: Bixby Bridge

This week we took an overnight road trip to see Big Sur, a rugged coastline a few hours south of San Francisco, California, where the Santa Lucia Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. From wikipedia, “the section of Highway 1 running through Big Sur is widely considered as one of the most scenic driving routes in the United States, if not the world.”

We drove the Big Sur coast in the afternoon, stopping to take in views of the Bixby Creek Bridge and the surrounding coastline. Shown above, steep cliffs and white water frame the ocean, with the Bixby Creek Bridge in the distance. See the white highway in the upper right, and follow it across to the white arch of the bridge.

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