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Palaces and Kremlins: Moscow Bound, Part One

by Tara

It is another sunny, smoggy day in Russia. We pack up and leave Aleksandr's apartment in the morning as he's heading out for work. We shake hands and thank him for having us, and he wishes us all the best on our journey before walking towards the metro.

After a grocery run in a grimy discount shop (during which I realize I've miscalculated and I don't have enough money on me to pay for my things but I can't really communicate, and the long line behind me starts to get agitated, and the woman must get the manager to figure out how to void one of the items in the cash register…), we hit the road towards Peterhof palace.

When our GPS tries to send us directly through the city, I re-route on a major highway that circles around it. The detour adds twenty-some kilometers, but it will no doubt be much, much less aggravating.

Sunny, Smoggy Day in Russia

On the highway, we crank up the radio and roll the windows down, tapping our fingers in time with the upbeat Russian techno we have blasting. Yaaahooo our Russian roadtrip is beginning! We reach Peterhof Palace under a bright noon sun which is not ideal for photo taking, but we manage to capture a few shots as we walk around the gardens.

Here is my second HDR image. Super bright light and very dark shadows contain too much dynamic range for a digital camera, but with some bracketing and the help of Photomatix Pro, I am able to capture this:

Peterhof Palace (HDR)

Here is Tyler's. He he is bummed about the weird artifacts everywhere (whitish blobs which you can easily see in the larger image) but keeps it anyway. This is one of the many shady, landscaped walkways throughout the grounds:

Peterhof Palace Arbor (HDR)

It is difficult to capture the enormity of the palace, so we content ourselves with this small bit of it:

Peterhof Palace

After a walk around the palace gardens, admiring the many fountains (and wishing that we were swimming in them), we head back to our LRC to hit the road. Just outside of Peterhof, I spy this weinerdog sign on the back of a truck. As we pass, Tyler leans out the passenger window, capturing it just in the nick of time:

Weinerdog Sticker

After some driving, we arrive at the town of Novogrod. I think we should keep going if we want to make it to Moscow by the time we've agreed to meet our next set of hosts, but Tyler is unconcerned. I'm glad he insists on stopping, because it turns out to be just the sort of place I like to visit.

We park the car in a shady spot and walk over a bridge towards the town's Kremlin, or old city fortifications. Clouds have come to the rescue, covering the hot sun with a protective cooling layer. Across the bridge, we see hundreds of people enjoying a riverside beach.

Novogrod Riverside Beach

Arriving at the red brick walls, we walk through a gate and enter the Kremlin. It reminds me of a small city park.

Novogrod Kremlin Signs

Inside, we meet our first Russian doggie friend!

Novogrod Doggie

I think his ears are his best feature.

Novogrod Doggie

Following the paths, we walk to a memorial of some sort. I'm not sure what it is for, but they have one of those flames that is never supposed to go out, and dozens of ornate fake flower arrangements are placed everywhere nearby.

Novogrod Kremlin Memorial Novogrod Kremlin Door

There's a wonky Russian church:

Wonky Russian Church

…and one playful kitty:

Russian Kitty

…and one more awesome onion-domed church.

Russian Church

Once we've seen the entire Kremlin, we stroll back to our LRC, where we will shortly have our second encounter with the Russian police…

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Morbid Curiosity


Being pulled over by a Russian policeman...Whew!! Glad you are once again on your trip.....
Posted by louise on August 1st, 2010 at 5:25 PM
Whew, my heart was in my chest reading about your run-in with the fuzz! Yeesh.

May I suggest playing with Photomatix's highlights smoothing to chill out the sky? I find pushing it right up can lighten skies up and mitigate those halos. Sometimes it works, sometimes not! Artifacts are so annoying, and tricky to deal with; sometimes you just gotta bear it, or get retouchy.
Posted by Michael on August 2nd, 2010 at 9:57 PM
I just read this portion of your blog yesterday and what did I see this morning on my way to work, a semitruck with daschund sticker on the back! The mystery is solved though as inside the dogs body were the words "long vehicle". Now it totally makes sense! :)
Posted by Sean on April 10th, 2014 at 10:35 AM
Hey Sean, that's awesome! :-)
Posted by Tara on April 10th, 2014 at 9:41 PM