St. Petersburg Port

Panoramic view of the River Neva and St. Petersburg Port from Blagoveshchensky Bridge

Panoramic view of the River Neva and St. Petersburg Port from Blagoveshchensky Bridge

I spent all last week in Russia. Mostly Moscow, but on Wednesday evening travelled to St. Petersburg.  I’ve been to ‘St. Pete’ (as local Russians call it) once before but it was in February, the temperature was well below freezing, and everything – including the sea – was frozen solid. 

This time I was staying in Kolomna in the main part of the city quite close to the sea. I had Thursday evening to myself so went wandering around the port with a colleague to take a few pictures…

View over the River Neva with Blagoveshchensky Bridge in the background

View over the River Neva with Blagoveshchensky Bridge in the background

Some of the Russian Orthodox churches in Russia are quite spectacular. 

Fairly typical example of Russian Orthodox Church next to River Neva

Fairly typical example of Russian Orthodox Church next to River Neva

 

An abstract pattern? Nope; one of the expansion joints on the Blagoveshchensky Bridge! River Neva below...

An abstract pattern? Nope; one of the expansion joints on the Blagoveshchensky Bridge! River Neva below…

 

Looking south over one of the many canals in the city

Looking south over one of the many canals in the city

 

 

 

 

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Warsaw Old Town

I was back in Warsaw last week as I mentioned in my blog last month and this time was given a brief tour around the Old Town by a locally based colleague.  Warsaw was heavily bombed during the 2nd World War and much of the main town was destroyed.  However most of the Old Town was spared and it – together with the partially rebuilt old town wall – forms a small medieval oasis within the largely concrete modern Warsaw.  The streets still reflect their original narrow layout and there’s a large town square in the middle.

In this square is a statue of a mermaid – one of only two mermaid statues in Europe apparently (the other being the one in Copenhagen harbour in Denmark of course).  The difference with the Warsaw mermaid being that it is armed!  😉

This mermaid bites!

This mermaid bites!

I was also taken to a traditional (and somewhat famous) Polish restaurant and fed delicious, traditional Polish dumplings and other dishes.  Diet, what diet?!

Like something out of a 1930's movie...

Like something out of a 1930’s movie…

Apparently the restaurant owner is on the Polish version of Master Chef – fame indeed.

Cosy and very welcoming on a rainy Warsaw day

Cosy and very welcoming on a rainy Warsaw day

 

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Istanbul (not Constantinople)

 

Coming into Istanbul - the Bridge over the Bosphorus

Coming into Istanbul – the Bridge over the Bosphorus

I spent a few days last week in Istanbul meeting with customers and managed to fit a small amount of sightseeing in as well.  The last time I was here it rained incessantly so I was pleased that it was lovely and sunny this time. 

I spent a few hours in our offices too – which had reasonable views out over the harbour area and the Bosphorus… 

View from my office window

View from my office window

But the best views were the ones from the top of the hotel I was staying in (The Renaissance Bosphorus):

Panoramic view from the hotel - click on picture to see full size

Panoramic view from the hotel – click on picture to see full size


Sunset view over Istanbul

Sunset view over Istanbul

I also managed to spend a couple of evenings down near the water for dinner which afforded some equally nice snapshot opportunities…

On the Bosphorus - bridge in the background

On the Bosphorus – bridge in the background

 

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Wonderful Warsaw

Earlier this week I was in Warsaw on business. It’s been about 10 years I think since I was last in Warsaw and the city seems much brighter and more welcoming than I remember it. Also the cost of living surprised me – it seems much cheaper compared with any of the other Eastern European cities that I’ve visited recently.

Sadly I didn’t have any free time to do any sight-seeing. However, my hotel proved to be interesting.  I stayed at the Hotel Rialto quite near the centre of town. 

The Hotel Rialto

The Hotel Rialto

The Hotel Rialto is what they refer to as a ‘Boutique’ hotel.  By that they mean themed I think.  And in the case of the Rialto, that theme is Art Deco style.  It’s quite a small hotel – I’d guess at around 50 rooms – and was converted from old apartments about 11 years ago (I was told). 

What’s amusing about it is that they’ve taken the Art Deco theme and applied to modern things too.  For example the room key…

Now this is what I call a room key!

Now this is what I call a room key!

I should have added something in the photo to show the scale of the key. It was almost the length of my hand. And heavy.  At first glance it looks like an old fashioned lock key. It’s not. In fact it’s an electronic proximity key. That black bit at the end of the key houses the electronics and – like many other hotel key cards – is reprogrammed for each guest room when they check in. To use it you just slide the key down the door near the lock and a small light indicates that it’s unlocked together with an audible click. Very cool to use. 

Bathroom - or gentleman's barber shop?!

Bathroom – or gentleman’s barber shop?!

The guest rooms continued with the theme – modern conveniences hidden behind Art Deco styling.  Really rather fun!

Thermometer and clock - but also the room temperature control on a lever underneath.

Thermometer and clock – but also the room temperature control on a lever underneath.

 Another (wider) view of the bathroom below – quite the period piece!

The Bathroom! Also a shower that you can't see in this view.

The Bathroom! Also a shower that you can’t see in this view.

A few more pictures inside the hotel below:-

The Lobby

The Lobby


The lift (elevator) indicator - very cool

The lift (elevator) indicator – very cool


Floor buttons inside the lift (elevator)

Floor buttons inside the lift (elevator)

I’m due to return to Warsaw in about a months time – must admit I’d be tempted to return to Hotel Rialto for another taste of pseudo 1920s living again!

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Destination Dubai

Morning view over the Gulf

Morning view over the Gulf

I’ve been back in Dubai the first half of this week; staying in the ‘Internet City’ area (basically slightly inland from Palm Jumeirah). The pace of construction in Dubai never fails to amaze me.  I spent an evening in JBR (Jumeirah beach Residence) – the area that I stayed in 7 months ago.  The beachfront shopping area – which in October was just a boarded off area of mass concrete construction – is now fully open for business and packed with tourists and locals. 

Of course, when you venture further afield – to the edge of the city – you can still see how it used to be. Where the city ends and the desert begins…

Dubai meets the desert

Dubai meets the desert

The sand was everywhere actually. There was a permanent haze over the city this week. Not because of smog but because of fine sand – almost like dust – in the air.  On a bad day visibility was down to just a few hundred meters.

I stopped off with a colleague at Dubai Mall for something to eat.  As always there were photo opportunities…

Dubai Mall waterfall - with accompanying statues...

Dubai Mall waterfall – with accompanying statues…

And no trip to Dubai Mall is complete of course unless you say hello to the Burj!  This time I tried to concentrate on the water rather than the tower…

The 'fireworks lake' at the Burj Kalifa

The ‘fireworks lake’ at the Burj Kalifa

The light in Dubai is always strong – even when it’s hazy – which always makes for interesting views.  This last one a panoramic over the Gulf – again from the hotel I was staying in – but towards evening sunset this time.

Arabian nights? Almost...

Arabian nights? Almost…

 

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Marvellous Maastricht

 
I spent part of yesterday in Central Maastricht in the sunshine and it was quite glorious.  My first time to this Dutch City and I was certainly impressed.  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to explore it further sometime soon.

Marvellous Maastricht

Maastricht – on a lovely sunny day

 

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Departing Dusseldorf

 
A quick day trip to The Netherlands via Dusseldorf today. Why? Well because it’s actually cheaper to fly to Dusseldorf and drive than fly into Schipol Airport sometimes…

View from the lounge in the airport:-

The sun going down over Dusseldorf Airport

The sun going down over Dusseldorf Airport

And no, the lights in the sky aren’t UFOs – just the room lights reflected in the window. 😉

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Bonkers Barcelona

Back in February I attended Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona as I often do.  Here are are three of my favourite snaps from the trip.

Gran Fira Barcelona

Panorama of the Gran Fira, Barcelona

 

Barcelona Towers

Some impressive architecture at Gran Fira, Barcelona

 

Tilt Shift

A little tilt-shift photography…

 

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Seattle Safari

I had cause to visit Redmond in Washington State, USA last month and managed a day in Seattle.  So, whilst this post isn’t quite in sync with my travels, I thought I’d post a few of the better snaps…

Starbucks

Coffee in Seattle – well I felt I had to really!

Space Needle

Seattle’s most famous landmark – the Space Needle

 

Seattle Skyline

Moody skyline from the top of the ‘Needle’ – a Mr Grey Sky perhaps?

 

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Singapore Snaps!

A collection of more views of Singapore:

 

Singapore Strait

Panoramic view out over the Supertree Grove and Marina Gardens with the Singapore Strait behind

 

Supertree Grove

Closer view of Supertree Grove in Marina Gardens

Sunrise

Sunrise over the Singapore Strait

 

Helical Bridge

The Double Helix Bridge leading towards Marina Sands Bay

 

Merlion Park

View towards the business district with Singapore’s famous Merlion in the foreground

Merlion

Close up of the Merlion

 

Raffles Hotel

The famous Raffles Hotel in all it’s glory

 

Categories: Far East, Photos, Singapore, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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