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Tour the Moscow Metro

Komsolmoskaya Metro Station

Moscow's Metro stations have been likened to museums and palaces. Descend underground to discover mosaics, sculptures, marble-encased columns, stucco-work ceilings, and glowing stained glass.

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Eastern Europe Travel Spotlight10

Kerry's Eastern Europe Travel Blog

June Russian Art Auctions

Sunday June 6, 2010
Auction houses in London begin their summer Russian art auctions on Monday. Christie's auction will feature works by Faberge among its other art pieces. Sotheby's will, most notably, auction off pieces by Shishkin, Bakst, Aivazovsky, and Roerich.

MacDougall's, which specializes in Russian art, also presents two works by Roerich. One, entitled The Black Gobi, shows the sun setting behind hills blanketed in shadow, dark monoliths breaking up the foreground of the painting.

Other work up for sale at MacDougall's - including icons, works on paper, and paintings - depict images more common to Russian culture. These include a series of drawings for Chekhov's story, The Steppe, by George Pogedaieff; a view of the Moscow Kremlin illuminated for the coronation of Nicholas II by Isaak Levitan; and a vibrant view of a birch forest through an open window by Stanislav Zhukovsky. Other paintings and drawings illustrate the severity and beauty of the Russian winter, represent the mystery of Russia's monasteries and fortresses, or capture people completing ordinary tasks in their native environment.

St. Petersburg's Water Taxis

Thursday June 3, 2010

St. Petersburg, the Venice of the North, has its own version of the original Venice's vaporettos, or water taxis. The service, which began on Tuesday, follows two routes, one which takes passengers past some of St. Petersburg's must-see sights. The water taxis are cheaper than the tourist boats, so they may be a viable option for budget-minded visitors who still want to see St. Petersburg by canal.

St. Petersburg Canal photo credit: CC BY-NC-ND gerry balding

Quality of Life in Eastern Europe's Capital Cities

Tuesday June 1, 2010
According to the 2010 Mercer Quality of Living survey, the region of Eastern Europe has seen the highest increase in quality of living in Europe during the most recent period of data collection (2008-2009).

Prague comes in as the highest ranking East/East Central European city at number 70. The Czech capital is closely followed by the Hungarian capital, Budapest, at number 73 and the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, at 77. (Mercer)

The Baltic countries are slightly lower on the list with Vilnius at number 79, Tallinn at 89, and Riga at 91 (Kyiv Post). Warsaw ranks 84 in the survey.

Kiev, Ukraine's capital, has a lower quality of living than the above cities at number 161, but ranks higher than Moscow, which comes in at 166.

The Quality of Living survey measures a variety of factors including education, health, political environment, economic environment, housing, and natural environment. A more complete list of categories and factors that define quality of living can be found at the Mercer website.

Blondes Have More Fun . . . At Least in Riga

Monday May 31, 2010

This weekend saw the return of the Go Blonde festival and parade in Riga, Latvia. Organized by the Latvian Association of Blondes, with proceeds being donated to charity, the now-annual event includes a parade, parties, and competitions, and participants dress in pink and white. Baltic Reports has posted photos of the festival, which show blondes and non-blondes enjoying themselves in the country's capital.

BBC reports that the end-of-May festival will be even bigger, so if you plan to be in Riga during this time, check the Go Blonde website for information about the event.

Go Blonde in Riga photo credit: CC By larsms

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