Housed in an imposing looking building, this museum will tell you a lot about the natural and social history of the area. It includes everything from local rock samples to wooden church architecture to Soviet propaganda posters and has a particularly interesting room devoted to clothing and artifacts of the Sami people who inhabit an area stretching from here through to northern Finland and Norway. It's all very well presented, though you won't find any English explications.
Lenin Prospekt 90
+7 (815) 242-2679
Russian churches are usually at least picturesque, at most spectacular and this one fits into the former category. It is also probably at the most picturesque location in town, with views across the city and harbour and being adjacent to a memorial lighthouse, set in a small park. The interior is very decorative too, in the Russian Orthodox style with the usual babushka hovering around and making sure all is in order.
Ulitsa Geroev Severomortsev
This is a 35.5 metre high statue of a World War Two Russian soldier, erected in 1974, complete with suitably large wreaths placed at its seven-metre base. It towers impressively above the surrounding landscape and is another reminder that if the Russians are going to have one, it's usually a big 'un.
Path leading from Ulitsa Aleksandrova
One good touristy thing to do is to try and see/hear the choir of monks who give performances in the Tranfiguration Cathedral in the Kremlin. Their singing is absolutely beautiful and may well leave you slightly dewey-eyed.
The Tranfiguration Cathedral in the Kremlin
Though the factory is now closed, you’ll still find ex-workers behind little stalls near to the Kremlin who must have secreted a good deal of the stock about their persons before they became redundant. Apparently they assemble the watches at home and now sell them at still reasonable prices, ladies watches being a good deal more prevalent than gents. I bought one of these in 2000 and it’s still going strong. The name Chaika means ‘seagull’ in Russian and was adopted after being used by the first female cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, as her call-sign.
Stalls outside the Kremlin
A little gem of a gallery this sits in the heart of this leafy part of London, just on the edge of Dulwich Village. There is an entrance fee, but it’s worth it alone to see star exhibits by Rembrandt and Gainsborough plus a large range of 17th and 18th century old masters. The gallery was purpose built in 1811 to house a collection originally commissioned by the last King of Poland.
The gallery has a small but quite up-market café and there’s a very good nearby pub, the Crown and Greyhound.
Entrances are on Gallery Road and College Road.
Nearest Stations: West Dulwich and North Dulwich - the gallery is signposted.
This is a local tour company who provide everything from walks around the Kremlin to weekends away at the 'Golden Ring' towns. The guides are knowledgable, English speaking locals and it's a very friendly and reasonably priced service.
Hotels in Yaroslavl are often rather faded affairs, but this one is modern, has good facilities but of course is more expensive than its traditional counterparts. It’s located in the city centre and is also close to the station.
55 SVOBODA STREET
This is a typical ostentatiously domed Russian church, but one rich with history. It was here that the 10-year-old Dmitry, son of Ivan the Terrible had his throat cut, thus giving the church its colourful name. It has some beautiful frescoes inside and lies at the heart of a small Kremlin complex on the banks of the Volga river.
Uglich Kremlin in the town centre
More or less in the centre of Nimes, near its Roman heart, stands this Norman Foster construction. It was built to provide a ‘new setting’ for the Maison Carrée (an extremely well preserved Roman temple) and thankfully was kept at a low level. Apparently it affords some impressive reflections in the inevitable acres of glass if you’re there at the right time and in suitable weather. I think I’m with Prince Charles on this one.
Boulevard à Daudet
Pézenas is a small town about 50 kilometres from Montpellier and is well worth a visit for its old town centre that encompasses Medieval, Rennaissance and 18th century architecture. The Medieval section includes a Jewish quarter and an old sign still indicates this above the slightly menacing and dark entrance archway. There are plenty of delightful little houses and tiny courtyards to explore here.
One of Pézenas’ most famous former residents was the playwright Molière who lived, wrote and performed here for a while in the mid 17th century. He is remembered now by a monument and a hotel named after him.
Car - take the RN113 towards Béziers. Trains and buses are also available following the same principle.
No doubt that many will know that Nîmes is home to a very well preserved Roman amphitheatre and whether or not this is the sort of thing that they may or may not want to see. It does have hidden charms however, even if you’re not into the Roman stuff.
If you climb to the top perimeter wall of the arena (some waist-high steps have to be negotiated) it provides some impressive views across the city which you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else - and for me was worth the entrance fee.
Rue des Arènes
Labelled as one of France’s prettiest villages, it’s hard to disagree if you visit its tiny medieval streets and Benedictine Abbey. The village lies on the edge of a gorge that runs down to the Hérault river, its main street climbing up a steadily steepening hillside. There are numerous picturesque houses and it seems that a good number of the 250 or so residents are artists, judging by the amount of paintings and ceramics on sale. Towards the end of the main street you’ll encounter the Abbey, founded in 804 by Guilhem of Orange who later achieved sainthood.
Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert lies in the Gellon valley just North of Gignac, east of the new A75 motorway, about 30 kilometres Northwest of Montpellier
I know it’s not generally done to visit ‘Irish’ bars when abroad, but this one really is a bit of a gem. There are only a few such places in Montpellier as yet, and this one is tucked away in a small square about five minutes walk from Place de la Comèdie, so you have to search a bit to find it – meaning it’s unlikely to get mobbed by passing stag parties.
It has tables outside in the little shady square (adjacent to a promising looking restaurant) and very friendly staff inside who are more than happy to chat if you’re travelling solo and fancy a bit of evening company. There’s pool available in a separate room (a separate building in fact), various newspapers to read, TV for those who want to follow sports and some nice nooks and crannies if you want to tuck yourself away a bit.
The building sports the legend ‘Maison Justin Boch’ in large letters on the outside (a former business I assume), so you can’t mistake it.
5 Place Saint Côme
Here you can stroll or sit in some typical shady boulevards, take in panoramas of Montpellier and the surrounding area and marvel at the old 18th century aquaduct which ends with a flourish in the form of a pool under a celebratory Neo classical pavillion.
Place du Peyrou, near the Arc du Triomphe
Worth a visit even if only to see what first appears to be two large rockets attached to the huge entrance portal of this quite unusual construction. Its origins are in the 14th century and the other end of the cathedral is rather more conventional, though more picturesque with a small surrounding garden. The streets leading away up the hill provide some quite pleasing views of this old part of the city.
Place St Pierre
Porlock is situated in the Exmoor countryside and is a village with its own nearby bay and probably the most feared hill in the area. Porlock hill has a 1-in-4 gradient and has been responsible for many an accident over the years. The village is very pretty and certainly worth negotiating the hill for and you can walk to the bay which lies on a salt marsh - an excellent site for bird watching.
From Minehead, travel about 6 miles west along the A39 and watch for the Porlock turn-off.
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