Day 13–Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011–Vladivostok, Russia

     Surrounded by Amursky Gulf from the west, Ussuriysky Gulf from the east and Golden Horn Bay, along the south of the city enter, Vladivostok is the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet.  For that reason, Vladivostok was off-limits to foreigners during most of the Soviet era until 1992, when it was re-opened for tourism.  The city center, at the edge of the water, has sweeping boulevards or ornate, century-old buildings; magnificent, but in need of a scrub.  Further out, on the steep ills overlooking the bay, a group of Soviet era accommodations for most of the city’s residents are visible.  Vladivostok serves as the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway.  Some travelers arrive here at the end or the beginning of a trip on the Trans-Siberian.  It takes 8 days to reach Moscow by train, with only 4 cars having showers.  The city is holding APEC summit in 2012 and is under huge renovations and construction now.  We could see 2 bridges being built.

Zolotoy Rog (Golden Horn) Bay

     It was 57 degrees F at 7:15 this morning.  Being Sunday, shops didn’t open until 10 so we went to the Frisbee Toss and Wii Skee Ball events.  Ray came in 2nd in the Frisbee toss and had a perfect 900 score in skee ball.  We then picked up our passports and went ashore.  There were some young ladies at the gangway with maps and they could answer questions.  There were some vendors on the way out.  We decided to go see the submarine first.  Walking was not the best, as some of it was in the street and some on wooden planks.

IMG_0021 IMG_0009

     There was a beautiful little church where they were having baptisms and behind it was the Arch of Triumph.

IMG_0025                   The Arch of Triumph

     There were a lot of steps in the area and then we ended up on Svetlanskaya St. which used to be Leninskaya St. according to some postcards I bought printed in 1989.  There are some beautiful buildings on this street and then we went into the GUM store which is the government run department store.  We spent our 20 Rubles and had to bargain with some Rubles and some US dollars to purchase a new mouse for my computer.  It was funny as she kept talking to me in Russian.

Historical building.  Svetlanskaya St. Post & Telegraph Office, built 1897 - 1899 Magic Burger, Svetlanskaya St. GUM store

     When we got down to the end of the street we ended up at Bortsov Revolution Square.  As it was Sunday, everyone was out.

Monument to Fighters for Soviet Power in Far East 191-1922, Bortsov Revolution Sq. Bortsov Revolution Sq.

     From Ray’s journal:  . . . . . Friendly people who spend their Sundays in the Square, flying kites, listening to music and enjoy watching the children play.  Not unlike anywhere else in the world.  The port is still a major and vital part of Russia.  Many ships, especially fishing boats. . . . . . All in all a very pleasant day but it’s still Siberia.

     From our table in the dining room we could see a very pretty building with some sort of relief on it.  Behind it, behind a green net was Yul Brynner’s home on Aleutskaya 15.  Just a few steps away is the Arsenyev Regional Museum with local history and ethnographic artifacts.  There are some displays related to native son Yul Brynner.

Yul Brynner'r home behind green net IMG_0056

     If Canada had a Las Vegas, show-trumpeter Gary Guthman would be its Tony Bennet.  He’s smooth and he’s got all the moves!  This was the billing for our show tonight and he was very good.  The clocks get set back one hour tonight.

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