Kyiv

The first time we visited Kyiv was in the month of March. There’s quite a difference in summer. Here are just a few low-res snapshots from day one. No post-production, no links to larger versions yet, just a few random shots from walking around town.

Dollars? Euros? Rubles?

The Maidan Square looks lovely at night.

At Maidan Square.

St. Sophia’s Church. Parts of it date from 11th century, most from 18th.

St. Sophia’s Church detail.

The Maidan.

Along the Dnieper River.

Pedestrian bridge across the Dnieper.

Friendship of Nations arch, from 1982, Soviet era.

Behind the lucky couple, St. Michaels Monastery. Unlike St. Sophia, which is a museum piece, St. Michael’s holds services.

And the exterior of St. Sophia.

Riga, Latvia

Thirty years ago this month some two million people joined hands forming a human chain across all 676 kilometers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The cinematic stunt was the Baltic cri de coeur for freedom. We visited KGB museums in both Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, and I’ll have a piece on the progress the Baltic states have made away from Communism in my next Three Quarks Daily column.

We’ve moved on to Ukraine now. I’ll leave you with these three photos from Riga for now:

These are hangars down along the Daugava River built by Nazi Germany for zeppelins. Since the whole zeppelin thing didn’t take off, they now house the central market.

A portion of the iconostasis at the Riga Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, dating from the late 1800s, on the lovely Esplanade park. The Soviets used it as a planetarium and restaurant.

Riga’s town planners were generous with their green space. Here are flowers in Kronvalda Park.

This slow trip around the world began in April and has comprised Vietnam, Thailand, Finland, Russia, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and, currently, Ukraine. Collected photos are here.

Wrocław, Poland

Just a very quick swing through Germany, Poland and Estonia this week, while still Finland-based and largely off duty through July. Wrocław, Poland (Breslau when it was German) seems to be largely off American tourism radar, and there appear to be few Americans here.

It’s just a straight four hour ride east from Dresden. Would be easy to include on any trip to the much more popular (for Americans) Berlin, Dresden and Prague.

This morning I climbed the bell tower of St. Elizabeth’s Church to show you these views of the Old Town and the Oder River:

Photos from this slow trip around the world, which started in April in Vietnam, are collected here.

Border Towns

As we continue around the world slowly, we’ve hit pause here in Finland to spend a lovely summer month or two on Lake Saimaa. Early this month we briefly visited Vyborg, Russia, and my monthly column tomorrow in 3 Quarks Daily will have the story. Here are a few photos:

Lappeenranta, Finland, about thirty miles away from Vyborg via the Saimaa Canal.

The underwhelming border between Finland and Russia on the canal.

A Saimaa Canal lock.

The round tower, Vyborg, Russia.

The Esplanade, Vyborg.

Graffiti, Vyborg.

Transfiguration Cathedral, Vyborg.

Transfiguration Cathedral, Vyborg.

Transfiguration Cathedral, Vyborg.

Esplanade Park, Vyborg.

Old Town, Vyborg.

Trolley Café, Vyborg.

The presidents of Finland and Russia, Lake Saimaa, Finland, August 2017.

Collected photos from this so far two month long, slow trip around the world post here.

Quotes: Good Government ≠ Guys, Necessarily

Photo from four minutes ago, 20:08 Finnish time:

It’s a privilege to spend the best weather months on a lake in Finland. And there’s this:

HELSINKI — Finland’s new center-left coalition government has been sworn in, with the country’s first Social Democratic prime minister in 16 years assuming office along with a climate issue-focused Cabinet where women are in the majority.

The 19-member Cabinet of Prime Minister Antti Rinne — a former finance minister and trade union leader — was approved Thursday in the 200-seat Eduskunta legislature, after which President Sauli Niinisto appointed it.

Eleven of the Cabinet members are female, reflecting Nordic gender equality in the nation’s politics.

from the New York Times