Posts Tagged With: Russia

Places that captured my heart: the top 5 cities that I long to return to

8079727_mWhen I venture forth from my home base of New York City, I tend to prioritize visiting destinations that I’ve never been to before. It’s my goal to explore as many different places on the planet as I can (and, along the way, to sing karaoke wherever in the world I can find it). If I had my druthers, I would travel as often as possible to the spots that I most enjoyed in the past, while constantly adding new locales to my itinerary. Due to time constraints, however, first-time destinations tend to win out when I’m planning my next holiday. There are few overseas cities that I end up getting to more than once. But some metropolises have made such an impression on me that I’m fervently hoping to find a way to spend more time in them. This post is about the five global cities that I would most like to return to.

Note that in compiling this list, my focus was on international travel, and accordingly I only considered cities outside my native United States. I’m certainly always up for going back to American locations such as San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami Beach, and Seattle; but that’s a discussion for another day.

This post was written in response to a challenge by Arnab of the blog Travel Andy. Anyway, here are my top 5!
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Categories: Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and South Pacific, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

H-Bomb’s Friday Photo, week 42: a Russian palace to rival Versailles

Hello everyone, and another happy Friday to you! This weekend I’ll be attending the New York Times Travel Show right here in New York City. I’m excited to learn more about potential future destinations for my World Karaoke Tour, and to reconnect with some of my favourite people from the travel world!

While I look forward to the travel show and related festivities, it’s time for me to share with you a photograph from travels gone by. Today’s featured image comes from the Russian Federation. Peterhof Palace is a spectacular complex of palaces and gardens on the Gulf of Finland, 19 miles from St. Petersburg. This is what its main building looks like:

Peterhof Palace

Peterhof was laid out in the 18th century by Peter the Great, who used it as his summer home. In its opulence it’s been compared to the great French palace at Versailles. An easy day-trip from St. Petersburg, Peterhof can be reached from that city via a 40-minute hydrofoil ride down the Neva River. The reason everyone’s back is to the camera in this image is that the folks in attendance were all watching a show marking what the palace’s website described as the “celebration of opening fountains.” (In front of the main palace is a cascading series of fountains.) That celebration included fireworks and martial music. When I set out for Peterhof on the day of my visit, I had no idea that such an event would be taking place; it was really nice to stumble into it and experience such a festive atmosphere.

This photo was taken during my trip to Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova in May 2013.

Do you enjoy visiting grand palaces like this one?

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Categories: Europe, H-Bomb's Friday Photo, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

H-Bomb’s Friday Photo, week 36: an exquisite church in St. Petersburg

On Tuesday evening I dined on scorpion. Not just scorpion, in fact, but also grasshopper, ant, and mealworm. The place where I enjoyed these entomological hors d’oeuvres was the Explorers Club, right here in New York City — thus proving that you don’t have to travel far from home to do adventurous things!

Of course, I do also enjoy roaming far and wide in search of the best of what this planet has to offer. This being a Friday, I will now share with you a new featured photo from my worldwide adventures. Today’s image comes from St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. Gorgeous onion-domed churches abound in Russia; but of all the ones I saw, my clear favourite was the Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood, also known as the Church on Spilled Blood and the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

St. Petersburg church

Completed in 1907, this church began construction under the direction of Tsar Alexander III, and it was erected on the spot where his father, Alexander II, was assassinated in 1881. I was blown away by the intricate detailing of the architecture, which melds elements of Baroque, neoclassical, and Russian medieval design. Further enhancing the building’s charm is its setting; as you can see, it’s is situated on one of the canals that give St. Petersburg its distinct character and beauty. Not pictured here is the church’s interior, which is as much of a masterpiece as the exterior and contains over 7,500 square metres of mosaics.

This photo was taken during my visit to the Russian Federation in May 2013, during which that nation became country no. 28 on my World Karaoke Tour.

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Categories: Europe, H-Bomb's Friday Photo, travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Country no. 28 on my World Karaoke Tour: meeting new comrades in Russia

We’re back! Since I last checked in here, the count of countries on my World Karaoke Tour has increased from 27 to 30. It’s time to start recapping how that occurred. Okay, that recap is actually long overdue, since my latest trio of international karaoke appearances happened all the way back in May 2013 — three whole months ago.

During that month of May, the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, and Moldova became the latest stamps on my passport, as well as the newest U.N. member nations to be added to my World Karaoke Tour. My initial stop as I made my foray into the former Soviet Union was Russia, by way of its capital city of Moscow. After I landed at Domodedovo International Airport, my vacation was underway. (Domodedovo is one of two international airports serving Moscow; the other, Sheremetyevo, is the one in which Edward Snowden remained in limbo for several weeks before Russia granted temporary asylum to him in August 2013. Unlike Mr. Snowden, I’d obtained a Russian entry visa and I had no trouble making it through immigration. :))

RUSSIAN CITY NO. 1: MOSCOW

Highlights of my daytime hours in Moscow included Red Square (featuring the magical-looking St. Basil’s Cathedral that’s seen in the photo above, plus Lenin’s tomb); the Kremlin; and a tour of some of the city’s ornate and beautiful metro stations. Those and other Muscovite points of interest will be covered here in due course. But, in keeping with the mission of this blog, what truly made my sojourn in Moscow a success was the evening I spent singing at the Karaoke Boom Club (that’s Караоке Бум in Russian). Continue reading

Categories: World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

8 things I’m looking forward to in the next 12 months

One year ago today, I launched this blog by sending my first post into cyberspace. Having never operated a website before, I really had no idea of what I was getting into. But it’s been an incredible year. Portugal, Egypt, and Germany became countries no. 24, 25, and 26 on my World Karaoke Tour; I enjoyed writing about my international karaoke experiences and other travel adventures; and I discovered an amazing and inspiring community of travel bloggers. Along the way, I’ve connected with some very cool people. Learning from them has already helped to make my travels more fulfilling.

There was a rough patch during the early part of 2012 when I got sick and suspended my blogging for over three months. Let us never speak of that dark period again, except to say that getting through it provided me with a renewed sense of purpose, and even a sense of urgency. The realisation that I can’t take my health for granted now motivates me to enjoy life to the best of my ability, and to prioritise seeing as much as I can of the beauty and wonder in this world — while getting to know the people who live in it.

As I commemorate the first anniversary of this website (an occasion that’s also known in the vernacular as my “blogoversary”), I’m eager to embark on the next 12 months! I’ve got some exciting plans lined up for the second year of H-Bomb’s Worldwide Karaoke. I’m especially anticipating the following events:

1. Santacon in New York City

One of the annual highlights of the holiday season for me is Santacon: a celebration held on the same day in various cities around the world, during which large numbers of people dressed as Santas and other seasonally appropriate characters cavort around town, make merriment, and (of course) consume generous quantities of alcoholic beverages. New York City’s Santacon is usually the biggest, featuring thousands of participants; and it’s just generally a really fun time. Here you can read my blog post about last year’s edition of Santacon. Santacon 2012 will be held on December 15 in at least 37 countries! It’ll be my fifth consecutive year of hanging with the Santas. (In case you’re wondering, I do not, myself, don a Santa outfit, beyond wearing the red hat with white trim. But hey, someone has to document the proceedings on the internet. So I still make a vital contribution. :))

2. Istanbul for New Year’s

I typically spend my New Year’s Eves overseas, and the dawn of 2013 will be no exception. On December 27 I’m heading to Istanbul, the only city in the world that straddles two continents; that’s where I’ll be as the world rings in yet another year! Continue reading

Categories: Europe, South America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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