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Showing posts from March, 2019

Russian Style Easter Eggs

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Last week I was invited to decorate Easter eggs the Russian way. I pictured the multi-colored, intricately painted eggs that are famous the world over. However, I was thinking of Ukrainian Easter eggs instead of Russian.


When I arrived at the egg painting session, I was actually relieved to find the Russian Easter eggs have simpler designs. They are just as beautiful, but the ones we worked with were all the same basic color - brown with lighter decorations.


I found out the secret of the coloring was in the process of cooking the eggs. Before the eggs were cooked, masking tape was placed on the eggs where the color was to be lighter - either in a square, round, or even cross shape. A good example can be seen in the basket of eggs above, where the center egg has the cross shape. Then the eggs are cooked, starting in cold water as usual, with onion peels added to the water. Yellow onion skins were used that day.

The longer the eggs cook in the onion skin water, the darker the eggs are at…

Ever Heard of Tallinn, Estonia?

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Not too many Americans have heard of the historical capital city of Estonia. Last summer we had a chance to visit Tallinn since it's two hours west of St. Petersburg.


Founded more than a thousand years ago, this ancient city is preserved in its historical setting for us today. The stone walls surrounding the ancient city are well-preserved for tourists.


Tallinn is located on the north coast of the Gulf of Finland. Historically, it was very important for trading purposes. Because of that, it was ruled in different times by Denmark, the Scandinavian countries, Germany, and Russia.





The Old Town area with its town square is preserved for tourists today and is listed as the best preserved medieval city in Europe. The narrow streets and castle walls take a tourist back in time.










We climbed the steps to the Upper Town where the government buildings are located today. From the top of the castle wall the view of the Lower Town was amazing.





The next day we visited the Estonian Open Air Museu…

Don't Assume Anything About Russia - Even Water!

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Since we've been living here more than eight months, we've learned that life in Russia isn't always easy. We bought a new under counter light bar for the kitchen with touch on/off switch. Of course, the on/off part doesn't work. We have to plug it in to use it and unplug when we want to turn it off. Very typical of Russian products...


Even the water system is very different from anything we've ever lived in before. In the cities in Russia, hot water is produced at large boiler plants. There the water is heated and piped out to the flats and homes during the winter.


This hot water flows through the radiators in our flat whether we want it to be so warm or not. We've completely closed the valves to our radiators to stop the heat from pouring in. At times, even on the coldest days of winter, we've had to open the windows to cool off our apartment so we could sleep at night. The hot water boilers heat all the homes and apartment buildings in the same way throu…

Russian Architecture in the Heart of St. Petersburg

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Most of the great buildings in St. Petersburg are built in the European style, looking similar to Prague. The building in our fair city displaying the best Russian architecture is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Built in the medieval Russian style with "onion domes" on the spires, this church strongly resembles famous Moscow churches.


The name of the church is closely tied to its history. The story goes back to 1881. Tsar Alexander II was riding along the canal in a carriage when an anarchist threw a bomb at him in an attempted assassination. The Tsar was so upset with the bomber that he exited his carriage to reprimand him.



A second anarchist, taking advantage of the situation, threw another bomb. Tsar Alexander II was severely injured and later died at the Winter Palace. His son Tsar Alexander III vowed to build a church on the very street where his father's blood was spilled. Today the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood straddles this spot.




Last fall, w…