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Park Zaryadye

Park Zaryadye (21)Area of Zaryadye in the centre of Moscow was inhabited since the 13th century. After the big fire of Moscow in 1365, stone buildings began to replace the old type housing and rich merchants and artisans started to settled in this historic area. This area behind the Kremlin was called Zaryadye. Meaning “behind the market trading rows”.

In 2017, on the Day of the City of Moscow, a landscaped urban park named “Zaryadye” was opened here and was declared one of the best parks in the world by Times magazine. Zaryadye featured as one of the most picturesque postcard of Moscow. This Park of a new Moscow has been erected on the site of a symbol of the Soviet era: in 1967, the year of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution, the largest hotel in the world called “Rossiya” was built here and was featured in the Guinness Book of Records. But when the Soviet times ended in the early 90’s, this “Soviet symbol” ceased to generate revenue and was demolished in 2006.

Other architectural monuments, symbols of different historical eras adorn the panorama of the park: the Church of St. Barbara the Great Martyr, the Church of St. George the Victorious, the Old English Court, the Znamensky Monastery. While walking in the park itself, it is not easy to forget that you are in a historical part of the city, you are in fact in a unique landscape of four different zones, tundra, forests, steppes and marshes, which transcend the terraces and smoothly blend into each other.

A floating bridge is the main attraction of the park, from here you can view a panorama of the Moskva River, the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

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“The best way to get to know Venice is to get lost in it.”
(Tiziano Scarpa)

Venice (13)Renaissance architecture, decorated with sculptures from great masters, terracotta, yellow, pink and white houses facades with peeling damp plaster. The whole city is reflected in the glistening waterways, connected by ancient wooden and stone bridges. This is Venice, shabby and beautiful, it’s sunny and bright, shimmering with mirrored water reflections, it’s also rainy and sad, drooping and raw, but proud and not giving up time.

At the time of the great migration (IV-VII centuries), the Venetian tribes (from which Venice got its name), who lived on the northwestern shores of the Adriatic Sea, ran away from the invasion of the Gunas on the islands in the neighboring lagoons, establishing settlements there. After the fall of the Roman Empire, defending themselves against barbarians and ancient German tribes, the population of the islands began to unite, choosing Herakleia a single lifelong ruler in 697 AD. The first of which was Paul Lucius Anafest, later calling him the doge. In 810 AD, the government settled on the deserted island of Rialto, where the city of Venice was founded.

Venetians have learned to build houses on the water, driving millions of wooden piles into the Venice (6)bottom of the lagoon, built the strongest fleet in the Mediterranean affording themselves invulnerability and long-term security. Known as the Lady and Queen of the Adriatic Sea in the 11th century, it controlled trade between East and West and also sponsored the Crusades, it was rich and prosperous.

In Venice you need to get lost in order to feel this city with your Venice (9)heart. There is no other similar place in the world, Venice is unique, and its uniqueness makes it even more majestic. It’s nice to wander in a mysterious city on the water, moving from one small alley to another, discovering more and more unfamiliar yet beautiful squares and churches. Saturated with an aging natural beauty. Standing on St. Mark’s Square, where the tourist mecca of this city is located is the pinnacle of the visit.

The main decoration of St. Mark’s is the cathedral, built in honor of this saint, who is the patron saint of Venice. According to legend, St. Mark and his disciples took refuge on the island of the lagoon during the storm, where the city was later built. The relics of the apostle Mark, abducted by Venetian merchants in 829 AD from Alexandria, are currently kept in the Cathedral.

Venice (28)On the square in front of the cathedral there are several important landmarks: two columns – with a winged lion (the Symbol of Venice) and St. George, then there is a one hundred-meter-high bell tower with five bells, formerly a used as a beacon and the clock tower (Torre dell’Orolodjo) with a bell and a dial decorated with zodiac signs, topped with a sculpture of a winged lion that is visible from the lagoon a reminder of the richness and glory of Venice.

The Doge’s Palace was built in the Italian Gothic style; it has an openwork lace of white, gray and pink marble, combined with a Byzantine and Moorish look, as it was constructed over several centuries. The palace was the residence of the Doge, it also housed the governing bodies of the republic, the Grand Council and where the Senate met.

Every year gifts were presented to the Doge and one year, on the completion date of the basilica, a cage with pigeons was among the gifts. When the birds were released, they flew to the arch of the façade; St. Mark declared that they should consider these birds as sacred. Since then, pigeons have never left the main square of the city, where tourists feed them and allow the birds to sit on their hands and heads, for the sake of souvenir photos.

The whole of Venice is permeated with water arteries known as canals connecting 118 islands of the Venetian lagoon. Wooden and stone bridges, of which there are about four hundred in the city, cross them every so often, with the largest four bridges situated on the Grand Canal.

Venice (22)The most unusual and romantic bridge is the Bridge of Sighs, built with white marble and links Venice (19)the Doge’s Palace to the prison building. It is claimed that the name of the bridge was quoted by the English poet Byron, believing that the prisoners who, after the verdict in the courtroom, sighed heavily on their way to prison, expecting suffer a hard fate. The bridge was secured so that no single prisoner could jump off and escape from justice. But the only convict who walked along the bridge, still managed to organize an incredible escape from prison, he was an adventurer, traveler, philosopher, diplomat and writer known as Giacomo Casanova, who was sentenced by the Inquisition to five years in prison in 1755 AD for “unfit for” adventures and magic.

In Oxford, Cambridge, St. Petersburg and Barcelona, similar bridges with the same name were built, but they are not connected with sad stories. To give this sad structure a romantic twist, the Venetians came up with the legend that if two lovers pass under it in a gondola at sunset Venice (3)and kiss, their love will be eternal. Of course, only in a gondola should you pass under the bridge, because the gondola is a symbol of Venice. Since the foundation of the city, this was the main way of traveling along the waterways. The gondola is made of nine types of wood, with each detail thought out and constructed for a reason or a symbol; for example, the six teeth at the bow of each gondola denote the six quarters of the city.

In today’s Venice, magnificent palaces, reminiscent of it’s former luxury and prosperity, mostly line the banks of the Grand Canal. Each palace constructed in the architectural style of the corresponding period of history.

Venice (20)In Venice, there are no usual road avenues so along the main waterway, a water tram (vaporetto, or “batoeo” in Venetian style) is the main mode of transport which runs regularly. The Grand Canal, which is about four kilometers long, winds with the letter S and connects St. Mark’s Square with the Santa Lucia Railway Station; Venice (21)only there you can see any cars. The name of Santa Lucia is not accidental either. The relics of Sainta Lucia of Syracuse, the patroness of the blind, were brought from Syracuse to Constantinople, and then to Venice in 1204 AD, where they were buried in the Church of Saint Lucius. In 1860 AD, the relics were moved to the church of St. Jeremiah, and a railway station was built on the site of the demolished church, hence why the station was named Santa Lucia.

It would be impossible not to mention the music museum in the church of San Maurizio (Campo San Maurizio), where there is a unique collection of instruments of the XV and XVI centuries: violins, violas, mandolins, cellos, including those created by the great Amati, Stradivarius, Guarneri. Classical music fills the air and the atmosphere is extraordinary!

The Venitian writer Tiziano Scarpa was so in love with his city that he compared Venice to the Venice (34)fish. He wrote “To live in Venice, you need to have been born here, so as to love her to forget and not to think of yourself outside of her. From morning to evening creating miracles, the poor eyes of the Venice (35)Venetians absorb the aesthetic radioactivity, called the splendor. The ray of splendor weakens in them every vital impulse, dulls, and suppresses them.
It is no accident that the Venetians were nicknamed “the fairest”.

If you visit The Venetian lagoon, you will never forget the experience.

“Oh Venice! Venice! When thy marble walls
Are level with the waters, there shall be
A cry of nations o’er thy sunken halls,
A loud lament along the sweeping sea!
If I, a northern wanderer, weep for thee,
What should thy sons do? – anything but weep
And yet they only murmur in their sleep.
In contrast with their fathers – as the slime,
The dull green ooze of the receding deep,
Is with the dashing of the spring-tide foam
That drives the sailor shipless to his home,
Are they to those that were; and thus they creep,
Crouching and crab-like, through their sapping streets.”

George Gordon Byron

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Aeronautical expanses. Japan

AkitaThe aeronautic season of 2017 remained in my heart with five competitions in three countries, Russia, Belarus and Japan. In Ichinoseci (Japan) at the Balloon Festival 2017 Katsura Endo invited me to the command of the pilot from Japan Noboru Yamanaka.Japan Balloon Festival

“My whole life is on the road!
Like digging up a small field,
Back and forth I wander. “(Matsuo Basho)

It was an exciting journey that began with a pleasant flight by JAL from Moscow to Akita (Tohoku region) with a transfer to Tokyo. In Japan, any region, any city is famous for something special and unique. Akita is famous for Akita’s beautiful girls, high-quality sake, the oldest breed of Akita Inuit dogs. Arriving in Akita, I settled in a small hotel with a minimum set for the traveller.

“In the close hut of my
Illuminated all four corners
Luna, looking out the window. “(Matsuo Basho)

A small room made of traditional straw mats “thalami”, a low table with a set of cups for tea, a mattress instead of a bed, a TV, a refrigerator and air conditioning. But most importantly, the hotel had its onsen, which can be visited at any time! After many hours of sightseeing, it was very convenient to relax in onsen. Walking around the town and the surrounding area for three days, I went to the main event of my trip – aeronautic competitions in Ichinoseci.

“Let’s hit the road! I’ll show you,
As in the distant Yoshino cherry blossom,
my old hat. “(Matsuo Basho)

For four hours I got from Akita to Ichinoseci by train. At the station a team led by the pilot GenbikeiNoboru greeted me, and we headed to the community centre, where for the time of the competition all pilots with crews and Observers settled. We all settled in two large rooms in sleeping bags on thalami. “In crowded, but not offensive,” with a general “aeronautical spirit.” A good idea is to unite everyone in one place, where the warm communication of the participants of the competition takes place. This community center was next to the beautiful gorge Genbikei – a narrow river valley in the Kurikoma National Park. The fast flowing water of the river with the emerald water colouring forms the gorge. Genbikei was named a national place of scenic beauty and protected as a Monument of Nature.

For several days of the competition, we with the team of Noboru visited the most interesting Hiraizumiplaces in the area of Ichinoseci. Hiraizumi is a place created after the model of Kyoto, remarkable for its Buddhist temple Tusonji, built in 1109 and the extraordinary Garden of Pure Land.

In the Konjikido, or the Golden Hall of the temple, there are 11 sacred images of the Buddha, originally covered with varnish and gilding. Stunning with its beauty, the hall deserves a national treasure. Walking along the main road of the Garden of Pure Land, on both sides of which huge ancient cryptomeria hangs, it is impossible not to admire the untouched beauty of nature and the silence that reigns around. Everything here seems to be impregnated with spirituality, and a wide, ever-foggy road along the road seems to share two worlds: the present and the future.

Matsushima is located in the north-east of the country on the Pacific coast and is considered Matsushimaone of the three most beautiful places in Japan. The Gulf of Matsushima is covered with countless tiny islands, overgrown with pine trees. The general picture resembles a classical Japanese garden with a reservoir. On one of the islets the teahouse Kanrantei is built. This architectural treasure was transported to Matsushima from Kyoto as a gift of the military ruler of Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi to local prince Masamune Date.

Japanese poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) traveled a lot around his country. A real delight caused him to visit the village of Matsushima (Pine Islands): “This is the first of the beautiful Matsushimaviews of the country… And the whole view is so captivating, just like a beauty is hunted over the water. Does the god of the mountains not create it in the age of the gods-all-powerful? And can any one of people capture with a wave of a brush or exhaust the heavenly art of creation! “

Every evening, the team and I visited various bath complexes, onsen, each of which was not similar to the previous one. Therefore, the difficulties of aeronautics were brightened by restorative procedures.

“How the autumn wind whistles!
Then just understand my poems,
When you spend the night in the field. “(Matsuo Basho)

The competition was influenced by a typhoon with a strong wind and rain, so the schedule of Japan Balloon Festivalthe event was reduced. Sports director Hiromori Saejima managed to implement in difficult weather conditions the best solutions for performing tasks by pilots. Of the 23 participants, the winner was a pilot from the legendary family of balloonists Yudai Fujita.

After the end of the competition, I went to Akita on a local train to continue the journey and visited the museum of local lore. This was the residence of the rulers of Akita – Kubota Castle, where until 1875 the kings of the SatakeSea of Japan clan lived. I also splashed on the endless sandy beach of the Sea of Japan.

“The sea is raging!
Far, to the island of Sado,
The Milky Way is on its way. “(Matsuo Basho)

I watched the demonstration performances of Kanto. The main “chip” of Akita KantoKantoluminous paper lanterns, a bulky bunch hanging on a long bamboo pole. This impressive design is called “kanto”. Each flashlight Kantosymbolizes sprouted rice grain. The more luminous lanterns are fixed on a stick, the more abundant the harvest will be. Men on the forehead, shoulders, hips and palms hold Kanto. Each such pole weighs approximately 50 kg.

A deep bow to my friends from the Japanese team (Katsura, Noboru, Yamaguchi, Taka) for Japan Balloon Festivalinviting me to a great competition in Ichinoseci, where I met many wonderful people and made new friends. My observer story was supplemented by a special and inimitable event. Much will remain in my memory after this trip to Japan.

“Dewdrops shine.
But they have a taste of sadness.
Do not forget! “(Matsuo Basho)

Igor Pilugin, Orehovo – Zuevo (Moscow region)

Woolacombe, the best beach in England

Woolacombe, the best beach in EnglandThe name Devon derives from Dumnonia, which translates into Woolacombe“deep valleys” in Welsh. Britons inhabited Dumnonia at the time of the Roman conquest of Britain. North Devon is an area where you will find valleys with wind-sculptured trees and huge wild wastelands covered with gigantic granite stones ending into hills covered with forests. The coastline is dotted with strange mysterious cliffs, secluded coves and wide sandy beaches that meet the Atlantic Ocean.

Due to the amazing diversity of the landscape, the North Devon’s coast is named as an Area of DevonOutstanding Natural Beauty. The Devon geological period in the Woolacombe history of the earth is named after this region, where in the 1840s the first ancient Devonian volcanic rocks, sandstones and shale were first studied. The oldest rock can be dated to approximately 395-345 million years. Devon is the only British county whose name is used throughout the world as a geological period of time.

Travelling to these places is an aesthetic pleasure at any time of the year. One of the ways to DevonNorth Devon is through the Exmoor National Park. In the XVIII Devoncentury, when hunting was the main entertainment of kings, a royal forest was created in this territory by decree of Henry II, which also included wastelands, meadows, wetlands and the coast. Driving through the Nature reserve, it is common to find sheep, semi-wild ponies and cows grazing freely along roads and in fields covered with mosses, lichens and wild heather. Roads framed by natural hedges of elms wind through forests, giving them an air the supernatural. As you drive past some small cosy villages with doll like thatched cottages you are left with the feeling that the population is isolated from the surrounding world.

Probably the best time to travel in Devon is spring and summer but in the quiet wintertime, in Devonthe absence of bustle, the charm of these primeval landscapes of wildlife is even more fascinating. The Northwest coast of Devon is Woolacombe covered with huge sandy beaches. Woolacombe beach is 3 km long and for many years occupied a leading position among the best beaches in England, in 2015, it was ranked 4th among the best beaches in Europe and 13th in the world. The beach is surrounded by sand dunes, with grassy tops. Another feature of this beach is the ideal surfing conditions due to the Atlantic waves.

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