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Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
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Author:  wicheese [ 19 Feb 2011 17:49 ]
Post subject:  Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

OK, this travel report comes to you courtesy of a late roofer who I'm waiting for to fix a leaky roof. Now since I have time on my plate, I was going through all my trips to the FSU and remembering everywhere I've been. So this is might be more of a memory exercise for myself with a little value added for a newbie visiting the site.

Moscow in 10 hours It was my first trip to Russia and I was on my way to see a lady in Omsk and run the Siberian International marathon there, but on my way I had a long layover in Moscow so I arranged for a driver to take me around the city. Stops included Red Square, Old Arbat, Sparrow Hills, some Biker hangout my drive thought was cool, and many other sights you can jump on and snap a picture or two in 30 seconds. What I remember most was how crazy the taxi driver drove as he even decided to use the sidewalk once in an effort to get only a few cars ahead. Anyways, you can see a lot in even this limited amount of time, but it's to get the feel for the city.

Omsk Marathon Experience Tiny airport for a city of a million. Well the visit with the lady did not work out, but the marathon was a great experience. The race was well run and took you through different sections of the city, but you mostly ran parallel to the river. I bumped into a man who I looked up after I was dropped (looking back it was probably a good thing) who took me swimming in the city, visiting far away corners that maybe even some of the locals do not know about, city museum, and a hydrofoil ride to a church built by one of Russia Oligarch's who is now out-of-favor. Overall, there is really very little tourist things to do, but the marathon is held during the same time as the cities birthday celebrations which makes for a big party and enjoyable visit.

Moscow on my own Well my initial trips plans had me going to the Altai mountains, but after I was dumped I decided to return to Moscow and see the city. I visited many of the museums, did a lot of people watching, and had a good time just going from tourist site to tourist site as I did a lot of walking as I was thinking there is no way I'm going to continue my FSUW adventure and was thinking this would be my last trip to Russia (we all know how that turned out).

OK, I feel off the wagon not too long after returning to the USA, found myself back on EM and a few pay-per-letter sites and was planning my next adventure.

Sevastopol in November I was going to see a lady in Mariupol but on the eve of leaving I received the "My grandma is sick" letter yes she was from a pay-per-letter site and yes I had sent money for a ticket, but I had spoken to her before. Anyways, I did get my money back, thanks to the the good folks (Irina) at Discover Ukraine and was able to rearrange my trip to see the Crimea. I landed in Simferopol and had a drive take me to Sevastopol (on the flight in I had met a really nice American man and his UW girlfriend who I would visit later in the trip). Anyways, during November the city is a little deserted, but still has lots to see I I visited the waterfront, the ruins of the Greek settlement, Panorama/Diorama, Local Market, etc. Overall impression is that the city is well worth a visit.

Balaklava This is so close to Sevastopol that it might be considered a suburb and can be easily reached by public transport (with lots of assistance if you can't read Russian). Anyways, it's a nice harbor area that is a little scarred by all the old Soviet style buildings which give it a somewhat run down feeling, but it has the top secret sub base which is worth taking a look at and if you climb to the top of the ruins of the Italian fort, you are rewards with excellent views of the harbor area and coast line. Oh, don't forget the battle field for those history buffs.

Grand Canyon of Crimea Yes, they have one as it was a little off the beaten path by had some great views and it was nice to get away a little.

Cave Towns "Mangup-Kale OK, there are actually several of these in the Crimea and I'm not sure which one I visited, but it's pretty impressive to think of the city being built into the cliffs and fun to climb around and explore a little.

The drive from Sevastopol to Yalta is littered with lots of sites and vistas with excellent views. You have the church on the cliff Foros Church, a not so impressive waterfall, and cable car ride up the mountains for a view. Oh, I can't forget the Swallows Nest which is always a great photo opt. Anyways, all a little touristy, but off season not such a bad option to visit.

Yalta You have the different Palaces like Livadia, Alupka, and Massandra. You have the water front which I'm sure has great scenery in season, plus a nice little cafe feel to it.

Bakhchisaray The main site here is the Khan's palace and a few mountain ruins not far outside the city.

Simferopol OK, you might be wondering, did he not meet any women. The answer is yes as I met a lady here in the central park, very attractive, interesting, and was on EM (she got booted from there....), but she was married and she just could not figure out why I would not get serious about her [bat.gif] .

Kyiv OK, after the Crimea I headed back to Kyiv where I saw the main sites and met up with a lady who came from Moscow to visit me. I will not write much about the city, related to this visit, as many others have spent a lot of time there and probably could add a lot more detail than myself, but I really enjoyed it as it far exceeded my expectations.

Overnight train from Kyiv to Ivano-Frankivsk with the new Russian lady. Well, I learned that FSU trains when traveling with an attractive lady can be a lot of fun (I'll let you use your imagination).

Bukovel Ski Resort Yes, there is snow skiing in the Ukraine as this resort is located in the Carpathians. It does not have a lot of advance skiing, but I do not know of too many FSUW who would fit that category was it's a nice place to go and spend time with your lady as there is very little to do besides ski and (communicate). That part of the country reminded me a lot of the Appalachians in the USA and if you go there be sure to stop off a Yarmencha as it has a great market to buy gifts for those back home as well as your home.

OK, I'll come back with 2008 and add photos at a later time...

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 03:40 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

Moscow New Year's 2008

One thing I can say about celebrating New Years in Moscow, be sure you dress warm. Also, expect long lines at more tourist sites (e.g. Pushkin museum) as most all the people with money leave the city, but all the rest of Russia seems to come and visit. Related to the actual New Years celebration, it was a private party at my then girlfriends apartment and it was rather cushy as she had what would be considered a high end property in any city of the world. During this trip I did go snow skiing in Moscow (yes, despite how flat the city is, they do have a few ski hills in the region) as the hill was called Volen and I remember it well as it was cold.

After visiting the same lady in Prague, she had her visa to come see me in the USA, but I realized that we were not a good match. Think rich Russian with average American, yes, it would not have worked, but since she was a mirror image of Audrey Tautou (yes, she was a French Russian) it was not easy saying goodbye. So my next trip to the FSU was to be a solo flight and Ukraine was to be the destination.

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 03:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

Visiting Kyiv and other towns & Cities of Ukraine

Kyiv was to be a solo trip, but I was thinking why not meet a few ladies for a cup of tea. So a few weeks before I left I setup a number of meetings with my first one being with a nice MD in Kyiv. She was smart, attractive, and did a great job showing me around the city as I was able to see all the sites I had missed from my first visit, plus this time it was June and the weather was great. All the walking around seemed nicer as I had been to the Perchersk Lavra, Saint Sophia's, ande St. Michaels. When I was there back in November, but this time I started with a nice walk along Khreshchatyk St. past Independence Square to the Arch along the river and making the turn to go across the kissing bridge and through the park past Mariyinskiy Placa before returning to my apartment. I also was able to spend time around St. Adrews, Andriyivsk Uzviz, rode the funicular, and then cross the city on foot with stops at the Fort, Botanic Garden, and Great Patriotic War museum (Radina Mat statue). Additional stops included going to the open air museum outside of the city, Pirogovo, which had the different villages from around the country (lots of fun to explore as its on a big piece of land and you do not know what you'll run into around each corner). Other stops that come to mind are the Golden Gate and checking out a few other sections of the city.

Kamyants Podilskiy was my next top as there was a nice trip connection from Kyiv. I arrived in the city late at night and had trouble find my house as I was renting a room from an old Babuska which was both affordable and the meal she cooked had me full for a few days. Anyways, when visiting the city you really only have one site which is the old city and Medieval castle. The city was already getting a little touristy, but the setting of the old city with the river forming a natural barrier and good condition of the castle make it a worth while location to visit.

Khotyn is only a short mashutka ride from Kamyants Podilskiy and well worth the visit as it's another cool Castle which seems out of place in the FSU. When I was there a cruise boat along the Dneister river stopped and was dropping off passengers. It was just a stop along the way to Chernivtsi, but after seeing the castle I needed to get a ride the rest of the way, so I waited with a group of people outside the tiny bus station when a man in his Mercedes stopped by looking to make a little money and stuffed as many of us in as possible and off we went.

Chernivtsi does not have a lot to see, but I noticed plenty of scenery in the two legged variety. The top attractions in the city was the area around the University which is a short walk to the Square by the Theatre where I then went exploring the different back roads. It was a nice city, but the few hours I had before catching an overnight train to Lviv was enough for that day.
Lviv is a city that I feel has a lot of potential as a tourist destination. It does not have a well developed castle like a Prague, but the central square and area around the Opera house had a very European feel. When I was there I was also visiting another nice MD and she made an effort to show me her city which included her University and different churches and monuments. The mistake she made was taking me to a little private beach on a lake outside the city where we had a nice lunch and did some swimming, but the only other people on the beach were some very attractive 20 somethings who were going topless and where distracting me enough to make me realize that the lady next to me was not the one.

Odessa was my next destination and despite the city being full of attractive ladies, I did not have a meet and greet there. Anyways, I went to the Opera, walked along the waterfront past the port through the park and down to the beaches, then took the cable car ride back up the bluff and returned to the city center. It was here that I first noticed the WM and UW meeting with the translator doing all the talking. I also had an apartment that did not have water as there was a major water main break, so I needed to make sure I left for McDonalds to the late night bathroom break. Overall, nice city and I can see why people like going there to visit.

was another stop to see another castle/fortress. Along the way I was stuck at the big bridge over the river estuary for over an hour and I had to smile at the creativity of the local Babuskas as they had converted baby carriages into portable markets as they were selling food and drink to the stranded tourists. On the other side of the bridge was a nice beach area that seemed to be hopping with a lot of younger Ukrainians, but instead of spending time there I went on to the fortress. It was a good walk from the bus stop as I found myself lost and cutting through a clinic at one time, but finally arrived. The fortress is used for a lot of festivals and I can see why as it was a great setting, but I had to laugh as one could climb anywhere on the walls as I watched two young girls scale a high wall and I could not help but think about what the liability would be in America.

Kharkov was a long train ride away, but suggested as a good stop to see what a typical eastern Ukraine city looks like. It did not seem like there was too much to see outside of the park and Lenin square with another area which had a cable car ride, plus a few stops to see a building here and there. So I would say a good city to visit if you are visiting a lady, but otherwise no reason to go out of your way to get there.

OK, after this trip I decided to get serious about finding someone again, so I was back on Elenas Models and ended up making my next trip in October as I was headed back to Moscow.

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 03:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

Moscow and St. Petersburg

Moscow was a trip to see an older (late 30's) lady who said that her favorite activity was sex. OK, she looked a little like Angelina Jolie so I had no complaints, but she was also a very creative person and the best FSUW cook I have ever met.

St. Petersburg was a trip I made with my most recent FSUW. It was a bad time of year to visit, can we say rain (I would recommend visiting during the summer), but still worth the visit. I stayed at a small micro hotel which my FSUW found (very affordable) and it included a nice breakfast. The negative was the it was a long walk to the tourist sites. Still the main attractions like the Hermitage, Russian Museum, Kazan Cathederal, Peter and Paul fortress, or just walking along the Neva and canal lined streets makes it a worth while visit, no matter what time of year you visit. Also, if you plan to attend a show at the Mariinsky Theater, be prepared to pay much more than a Russian would pay. Also, if you have the time, be sure to take the bus over to Peterhof which is often called the “Russian Versailles” and can be also reached by hydro foil. When I was there, I did stop at the restaurant called KGB which was an old Soviet style hotel and one my lady mentioned had the same Soviet era service.

Next it's onto 2009...

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 04:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

Random pictures from Omsk visit.

Outside my hotel.

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 04:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

More from Omsk.

Typical beach in the middle of Siberia

Omsk Cathedral

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 04:38 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

After a hydrofoil ride, you are deposited at this church complex.

What to take a dip in some holy water?

Church Down River...

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 04:40 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

A few pictures from my first visit to Moscow...

Every city needs a Victory arch.

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 04:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

Area around the Izmailovo hotel...

Flea Market ahead...

Anyone thirsty?

Author:  wicheese [ 20 Feb 2011 04:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU

A few pictures from Kolomenskoye park.

Moscow River

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