Archive for July, 2012

St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev: A Photo Essay

 Magic Hour St.Sofias flare

Magic Hour: St. Sophia’s Looking Good With Some Flare

Before my recent visit to Kiev I can’t say I was really a fan of Eastern Orthodox Architecture. That all changed when I saw St. Sophia Cathedral (Собор святої Софії). St. Sophia’s was located so close to my hotel the Hyatt Regency Kiev, I got a chance to walk around the grounds shortly before the UNESCO World Heritage site closed for the day. Built in 1037 with the intent to rival the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (then Constantinople), my impression from my quick visit is that St. Sophia’s does a pretty good job. Opening hours at St.Sophia: 10:00-18:00, Saturday 10:00-17:00, closed on Thursday.
Here are some of my favorite images from my photo walk through the grounds of St. Sophia’s.

 Bells near the bell tower  Bells of St.Sofia

Bells near the Bell Tower

 Domes of St.SofiaDomes of St. Sophia

Marigolds in St.Sofia courtyard Women visiting St. Sophia's

Marigolds and women at St. Sophia’s

 statue of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Kiev

Statue of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, Kiev

Note: My trip to Kiev was far too brief, and I look forward to returning soon and checking out the interior of St. Sophia’s and the related monastic buildings.

Photosynth panorama of the St.Sophia grounds

If you’re headed to Kiev, I recommend you check out Larissa Olenicoff’s Introduction to Kiev in Photos Post for the Matador Network. Larissa was a lovely virtual tour guide to the city, and she’s also a great mobile photographer.

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A Glimpse Inside The Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum in Kiev

 Creepy models without mannequins

The Liquidators: Creepy Models Without Mannequins

The Chernobyl nuclear accident was an event so epic, it even had a fictional Extreme Energy Drink named after it in the film Hot Tub Time Machine .

Back in April 1986, Prince’s Kiss was on top of the Billboard Charts and the Cold War was in full effect. So when the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl (then located in the  USSR, now part of Ukraine) caught fire and melted down, much of what happened was cloaked in Soviet intrigue.

While it is possible to take a trip to visit Chernobyl proper, to do so requires planning and applying at least 12 days in advance for an official tour. Sadly, I’m not that organized (although I fully intend to do it on my next trip to the Ukraine).

 Chernobyl Museum exterior sign Chernobyl Museum exterior

Chernobyl Museum exterior

 Chernobyl Museum exterior Example of a hot rescue vehicle

Example of a hot rescue vehicle outside the Chernobyl Museum

I only had two days in Kiev, so this trip I made do by visiting the Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum.

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The Feeding of the Monks in Luang Prabang, Laos

Buddhist monks line up and walk along the road to receive alms from the people of Luang Prabang

I traveled extensively though Southeast Asia before I had this blog. I’m extremely fond of that part of the world, and I fell madly in love with Luang Prabang, Laos.

I spent a couple of days there a few years ago, before the big hotels came to town. I woke up early every morning to watch the parade of young monks gathering alms from faithful Buddhists.

People wake up early to cook the rice and prepare their offerings for monks

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Nothing But a Good Time at the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort: Hotel Review and Video

Punta Mita, Mexico has no shortage of luxury beach resorts, and there’s a reason everyone raves about the St. Regis Punta Mita. This Starwood property manages to blend classic luxury, tropical atmosphere, and top-notch service in a a laid-back way that has guests leaving with great memories and plans to return.

Located large landscaped grounds where you are chauffeured by golf cart to your room, the St. Regis is refreshingly modern and airy in style. When I asked about wi-fi I got the right answer “wi-fi is free for all our guests.” Not only that, but the signal was strong throughout the property—even on parts of the beach.

St. Regis Playa Panorama

My husband is a Starwood SPG Platinum member, so Starwood Hotels and resorts  are always fun for us to check out. We were and upgraded to suite 1601, a beachfront suite with Jacuzzi. The suite was lovely, spacious and made great use of space. The bathroom was a virtual spa, with a lot of natural light, his-and-her sinks, ample Remede Bath Products, and a fabulous huge bathtub (that was filled with bubbles and flowers during turndown service).

 Hotel rooms St. Regis 1601

Hotel rooms  at the St. Regis Punta Mita

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Travel Advice: Why Justin and Bob Should Go to Bora Bora


Tahiti is Famous For Overwater Bungalows

My friend and hair colorist, Justin, asked me yesterday where he and his boyfriend,Bob, should go for vacation this August. They have about 7-8 days to get away in August and are big fans of Las Ventanas in Cabo, but want to try switch it up by going someplace other than Mexico.

I immediately suggested Bora Bora. And here’s why:

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