Author Archives: Coco Ihle

About Coco Ihle

I am the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, a mystery about two long lost sisters who reunite and nearly lose their lives searching for an ancient treasure and a murderer in a castle in Scotland. I am a member of MWA, FWA, SinC, Alma,a family search organization, Clan Buchanan of Scotland, and Linkedin. My website is www.cocoihle.com

Author Anne George’s Vulcan

While looking through photos I took a few years ago of Eastern Europe, one in particular reminded me of a very special and favorite writer, Anne George. Anne was also the first writer I ever met and she, upon learning I was interested in becoming a writer myself, was full of enthusiasm and encouragement. I attended many of her book signings and fell in love with her Southern Sisters series of cozy mysteries. People often tended to be discouraging to the fledgling me, but not Anne. She may be a huge reason I am writing this blog today. I listened to her and she inspired me to stick with it until I was published.

Anne George

Anne George

 

 

 

 

 

This post is not about me, however. Anne’s Southern Sisters Series is about two sixty-something, totally opposite sisters who live in Birmingham, Alabama. The narrator, Patricia Anne, is petite, both in height and weight and is a retired school teacher who has been happily married to Fred for forty years. She tries to live a Southern Ladylike life, but it’s not easy to be prim and proper with a sister like hers who calls her, “Mouse.”

Mary Alice is five years older and admits to weighing 250 pounds and, as she says, “is five foot twelve inches tall.” She is known as “Sister” and has been married three times to incredibly wealthy and much older men, all of whom left her widowed, and who are all buried together in Elmwood Cemetery. Mary Alice is constantly on the lookout for a good time and invariably this causes trouble for them both—and hilarity for the reader.

Since the sisters live in Birmingham, Alabama, there are sites mentioned in the books that will be familiar to readers who know the city. But, I have spoken to readers who have visited Birmingham just so they could see those sites. One in particular, mentioned several times in various books is seen from Patricia Anne’s kitchen window; the bare backside of the god Vulcan, a towering monument to the iron and steel industry of the area, sculpted by Giuseppe Moretti in 1904. This sculpture is not fiction, it actually exists. The photo below was taken by Kent Russell and is on Flickr.

Vulcan

Vulcan

 

 

 

 

This brings me back to perusing my Eastern Europe photos. While in Belgrade, Serbia, I took a photo that reminded me immediately of Anne George’s Vulcan. I’m not meaning to make light of either of the monuments, it’s just the similarity is quite arresting. The Victor Monument in the Belgrade Fortress, sculpted by Ivan Mestrovic (1928) was erected to celebrate the breakthrough of the Thessalonica front in WWI. But, the two sculptures resemble one another, and I couldn’t help smiling as I thought of my friend Anne George.

Serbian momument

Serbian momument

 

 

 

 

 

The Southern Sisters series consists of eight books. For those of you who have not read them, I heartily encourage you to give them a try. They are delightful. In addition, Anne, a poet of some renown, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a book of verse titled Some of It Is True. Sadly, she passed away in 2001 and I was never able to thank her for her inspiration and encouragement, but she and her books will live forever in my heart and on my bookshelves, and in many others’ as well.

6 Comments

Filed under blogging, books, Coco Ihle, fiction, fun, Humor, musings, photographs, Travel, writing

Artistic New Port Richey, FL

New Port Richey, with a population of approximately 15,000, is about 35 miles northwest of Tampa in Pasco County on the Gulf of Mexico. One to two story buildings comprise the main thoroughfare which is lined with street lights topped by old-time glass globes, adding charming ambiance to mainly small businesses and restaurants, and much of the architecture of years ago has been preserved. The Pithlachascotee River (try to say that three times fast!) meanders through the downtown area with a river walk for visitors and residents alike to enjoy. In the 1920’s, New Port Richey was gaining a reputation as the Hollywood of the East, since many famous people and movie stars visited and bought homes here. The depression years changed that and it remained a small, but lovely city.

Over the last several years artists have been encouraged to paint historic themed murals on the downtown buildings and I recently decided to walk around and take pictures. What was originally to be a photographic exercise turned out to be a relaxing and delightful afternoon’s stroll of discovery.

Some of the murals had a whimsical feel, others were a tromp l’oeil experience. I had the feeling some of the likenesses were of past leaders of the community, people with whom I was unfamiliar, but it didn’t matter. If that were true, I was glad they were recognized.

I returned home feeling pleased I live in such a creative community, a place where people value history and the arts. I felt inspired to try being creative in some way too. I felt happy.

Does something about your community inspire you or make you happy?

1-P1000135

2-P1000141

4-P1000147

5-P1000149

6-P1000152

18 Comments

Filed under Art, blogging, Coco Ihle, history, Travel

Encouragement From A Favorite Designer

Back in the 1990’s, I faithfully watched Christopher Lowell’s TV show,  Interior Motives, which was all about how anyone could create a spectacular and comfortable home with just a few guidelines. Christopher had an uncanny way of making his audiences believe they could be creative too. In fact, during every show he always said, “You can do it!” Like hoards of his followers, I believed him. He was always full of enthusiasm, humor and ideas galore. I couldn’t wait to tune in.

He’s still designing, but not on TV anymore and I miss him, but he’s left me with a wonderful legacy of  hope, enthusiasm and can-do spirit. In fact, it was renewed a few years ago when Christopher came to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL to speak and sign his new book, The Hassle-free Host. I was thrilled to actually see him in person, have him autograph his book for me and pose with me for a photo for my scrapbook.

Christopher & Coco

Christopher & Coco

Right now, I’m in the middle of designing a master bathroom and Mr. Lowell’s face keeps appearing in my mind. I think it’s due to his flair for the dramatic. This bathroom is definitely going to be dramatic; I’m using interesting textures and lighting, which were Christopher’s specialty. New wooden vanity cabinetry with dark granite counters and undermount rectangular sinks in white with Etruscan gold faucets. New seamless-glass shower walls in a vertical rectangular porcelain tile with tiny (random design) stone mosaic tiles in a niche with colors ranging from white to crème to beige to black and continuing in a border around the shower. The mosaic pattern will be echoed in a frame around the full size vanity mirror and also in a half-wall hiding the white toilet. A palladium arched window, opposite the door will have modified 6 1/2′ Corinthian columns on either side with up-lights shining on the vaulted ceiling. A window seat between the columns and below the window will create a reading nook with filtered light from the Austrian gathered sheers I plan to sew for that space. The ceiling will be tin tiles in a gold finish with an Etruscan gold and crystal chandelier in the center and the floor will be ceramic tile laid on the diagonal.

Tomorrow, I’ll select the vanity wood-color and granite. Luckily, I have a wonderful contractor who has a vision of what I want and is creative in his own right. Who knows what else we’ll come up with. And when it’s all done, you may never hear from me again! Just kidding. I’m getting excited. I’ve been living with Christopher Lowell’s mantra, “You can do it” all these years. Now I’m going to add, “Just do it!”

What do you think?

10 Comments

Filed under blogging, books, Coco Ihle, How To, musings

Encouragement From A Favorite Designer

Back in the 1990’s, I faithfully watched Christopher Lowell’s TV show,  Interior Motives, which was all about how anyone could create a spectacular and comfortable home with just a few guidelines. Christopher had an uncanny way of making his audiences believe they could be creative too. In fact, during every show he always said, “You can do it!” Like hoards of his followers, I believed him. He was always full of enthusiasm, humor and ideas galore. I couldn’t wait to tune in.

He’s still designing, but not on TV anymore and I miss him, but he’s left me with a wonderful legacy of  hope, enthusiasm and can-do spirit. In fact, it was renewed a few years ago when Christopher came to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL to speak and sign his new book, The Hassle-free Host. I was thrilled to actually see him in person, have him autograph his book for me and pose with me for a photo for my scrapbook.

Christopher Lowell & Coco

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right now, I’m in the middle of designing a master bathroom and Mr. Lowell’s encouraging face keeps appearing in my mind. I think it’s due to absorbing his flair for the dramatic. This bathroom is definitely going to be dramatic; I’m using interesting textures and lighting, which were Christopher’s specialty. New wooden vanity cabinetry with dark granite counters and undermount rectangular white sinks with Etruscan gold faucets. New seamless-glass shower walls in a vertical rectangular porcelain tile with tiny (random design) stone mosaic tiles in a niche with colors ranging from white to crème to beige to black and continuing in a border around the shower. The mosaic pattern will be echoed in a frame around the full size vanity mirror and also in a half-wall hiding the white toilet. A palladium arched window, opposite the door will have modified 6 1/2′ Corinthian columns on either side with up-lights shining on the vaulted ceiling. A window seat between the columns and below the window will create a reading nook with filtered light from the Austrian gathered sheers I plan to sew for that space. The ceiling will be tin tiles in a gold finish with an Etruscan gold and crystal chandelier in the center, and the floor will be ceramic tile laid on the diagonal.

Tomorrow, I’ll select the vanity wood-color and granite. Luckily, I have a wonderful contractor who has a vision of what I want and is creative in his own right. Who knows what else we’ll come up with. And when it’s all done, you may never hear from me again! Just kidding. I’m getting excited. I’ve been living with Christopher Lowell’s mantra, “You can do it” all these years. Now I’m going to add, “Just do it!”

What do you think?

Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, books, Coco Ihle, How To, musings, writing

Before The Internet and Cell Phones

Many of you may not remember the time before The Internet and cell phones were a regular part of our lives, but I do. Because of these wonderful inventions, life seems to have sped up and allowed us to accomplish more than we used to. That’s a good thing, right? I’m not so sure.

This holiday season, I found myself so swamped with things I needed and wanted to do, there wasn’t time to fit them all in, and since I‘m between writing projects and a retired person, I decided to go off-line for a number of days and actually enjoy the activities associated with Christmas and preparing for the new year. Friends and I exchanged cookies, I took more time writing my Christmas cards, I spent extra effort decorating and making flower arrangements and playing cherished Christmas music. I phoned some friends I hadn’t corresponded with for a while, to catch up with the happenings in their lives. A friend and I went out to lunch and to an art museum, another friend and I walked the neighborhood admiring the colorful lights. I even watched some sentimental Hallmark movies. These are things I used to do years ago when life traveled at a slower pace, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it all. I had more of the spirit of the season this year than in previous ones when I was mostly out of breath.

Several times, while waiting at the doctor’s office, I actually had conversations with fellow patients about the weather up north and how families were doing and where we were from, instead of sitting there surrounded by silent souls who were glued to their cell phone screens. I discovered I was more relaxed, more peaceful. I had kindness and love in my heart.

I found in some people, frazzled nerves, grumpy attitudes and downright nastiness, and I had the notion they were usually normal and nice, but during his time, just rushed and stressed. Why? They were trying to cram too much into too little time, were not successful and therefore miserable themselves and they unintentionally spread that attitude to others.

That revelation made me happy I had chosen to slow down this year and savor the season. While this approach isn’t necessarily possible for everyone, I encourage us all to remember life is fleeting. It’s over too soon and the quality of it is more important than the quantity if you aren’t happy and fulfilled.

So, my new year’s resolution this 2014 is to create more days like my holiday days by better prioritizing and remembering the things that are truly important. We’ve all heard the cliché “slow down and smell the roses.” How many of us have actually taken it to heart? This year, I have. Will you?

22 Comments

Filed under blogging, Coco Ihle, internet, life, musings

How to Ease Your Holiday Anxiety

A while back, I wrote a blog entitled, The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get. Does that sound like you? Especially during this holiday season? There are so many things that must be done in such a short amount of time. Cleaning and decorating alone, can be very time consuming. Writing and sending cards, planning parties, meals, preparing for visitors, gift buying/making, wrapping, sending/giving, the list goes on. And it seems there is always something that will put us behind schedule, an illness or accident, for instance. Unexpected “somethings” abound. Eeeeeeek!

I’m going to play “mommy” for a minute and remind you of something you already know. Obstacles are going to bar your way. It’s how you handle them that helps you keep your sanity. That’s a short sentence, but it’s packed with importance.  And worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace. Here are a few pointers I’d like to share that just might ease your emotional load.

First of all, this is a season that reminds us to be peaceful and to love others and enjoy this time. With that in mind, I find it helpful to have holiday music playing while I attempt some of the chores ahead. Making a short list of three or four items and checking them off as I progress, and then making another short list on another piece of paper underneath the first one keeps me from being overwhelmed and checking off items makes me feel like I’m getting somewhere. It helps being determined not to let frustrations enter my mind by making an adventure out of some tasks that would ordinarily be mundane or even aggravating. Treating myself  to a cup of hot chocolate, apple cider or special tea, boosts my spirit and reminds me why I am toiling away, to make this holiday special for someone else, and has the benefit of making the holiday special for me, as well.

If you have family members to whom you can delegate, let them help you. Note: They may not do things exactly as you would, but if they are willing to help, let them do things their way and be grateful for that help. Perfection should NOT be insisted upon. Praise them for their efforts. (I’ve seen arguments develop over this tip.)

If you are still having anxiety, put everything in perspective. In your mind ask these questions. A year from now, will I, or anyone else, remember how stressed out I was during this season? Is that a good thing? In five years, will I, or anyone else remember how stressed out I was during this season? In ten years, will I, or anyone else remember? In thirty years, will I even be here? Will anyone even remember ME? If so, how will they remember me? If you are a young person, you can extend this perspective example.

If all else fails and everything threatens to be too much, simplify. Take a deep breath. Try to relax. Remember the reason for the season, and with love in your heart, have a Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year!

14 Comments

Filed under blogging, Coco Ihle, How To, life, musings

Hidden Treasure in Estonia

Toward the end of my trip to Russia, Estonia and Finland this summer, I visited the more than thousand year-old walled city of Tallinn, Estonia, crowning the Toompea Hill and overlooking the Bay of Finland. It was conquered by the Danish King Waldemar II in 1219 and became a medieval merchant town and then a majestic Gothic city during the Middle Ages, known as the greatest burg in northern Europe. Subjected to Sweden and Russia in following centuries the beautiful medieval Old Town remained virtually untouched until the 19th century when a more modern Tallinn started to develop and expand below the citadel.

Tourists today are enamored by the charm of the narrow winding streets, medieval Town Hall, residential homes, churches, guild houses, and the ancient town wall preserved in more than half its length even today.

Walled Tallinn

Walled Tallinn

I spent several days wandering the lanes discovering shops with wonderful handicrafts for sale, taking pictures of ornate doorways and leaning buildings, and tasting elk soup with friends.

Doorway

Doorway

Doorway

Doorway

The last day before departing on the ferry to Helsinki, Finland, a small group of us visited a monastery at 22 Laboratooriumi Street and were greeted by the parish priest, a monk called Volodymyr Palijenko, who proudly showed us around. He presides over the Church of the Blessed Virgin With the Three Hands, which is a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. This Holy Mother is the protector of the innocent who have been wrongly convicted, deceived and sinned against, and there is a slot in the stone wall outside the church where people can leave a letter and the priest will pray for settlement of their problem.

Letter Slot

Letter Slot

Monastery Facade

Monastery Facade

Our group was led into the main room where worshipers gather and our guide translated for the monk who explained that this monastery also serves as a Ukrainian cultural center which showcases handmade crafts, but, little did I know, a huge and thrilling shock was awaiting me.

In my book, SHE HAD TO KNOW, the setting is in a 17th century Scottish castle that had been a monastery in medieval times, so I was curious to see if this European monastery had any similarities.

Monk Volodymyr walked to the back of the room in which we were gathered and I heard what sounded like chains clanking and some mechanical mechanism moving. When I turned to look back, I saw the center floor moving forward and disappearing into a pocket of space in front of the altar. In place of the floor, a huge hole was revealed. Railings went up to protect the hole and a stone stairway leading downward was visible. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had written a similar concept in my book! I have an architect friend who assured me my floor could actually have worked the way I described, but my story was fiction. Here I was witnessing a true life floor in a monastery moving and revealing rooms below. This was like a déjà vu moment for me! And to think some of my readers thought I had a pretty vivid imagination!

Plain Floor

Plain Floor

Railing up

Railing up

Steps Downward

Steps Downward

Our group was then led through the monk’s workshops where wooden toys and paper and books were made and hand decorated Ukrainian eggs and icons were painted and displayed. We were led up and down narrow spiral stairs (like in my book) with tiny windows to light the way and eventually out into the courtyard. This place was so like my book, I had the shivers! I’ll never forget this experience as long as I live.

Spiral Stairway

Spiral Stairway

Ukrainian Eggs

Ukrainian Eggs

Did I say I’ll never forget this experience as long as I live? Have you ever had a déjà vu moment concerning a setting in your book? I’d love to know. (Note: click on photos to enlarge).

 

14 Comments

Filed under blogging, books, Coco Ihle, musings, Travel, writing

Seeing Tsars – Catherine’s Palace, Russia

St. Petersburg is unlike any other city I’ve ever seen. The only commonality to some other beautiful and historic cities is that one could take a lifetime to discover and absorb it all. I had only four days, just enough to wish I could go back again and again.

Today, I’m concentrating on Catherine’s Palace, located 15 miles from St. Petersburg in the palace complex called Tsarskoe Selo, which means “Tsars Village” in Russian. The village consists of Catherine Palace and Park and Alexander Palace and Park. Catherine Palace was built in the early eighteenth century and was the summer residence of Peter the Great’s wife, Catherine (I) and was subsequently expanded and redecorated by their daughter Elizabeth and, later, Catherine the Great (II). Alexander Palace and Park were built later by Catherine II and were most famously used by the last Tsar, Nicholas II and his family, who were imprisoned there and later sent to Siberia and executed in 1918. World War II destroyed much of the palace complex, but, thankfully, it has been completely restored to its former magnificence.

(Note: Click on photos to enlarge)

Main Architects Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli and Charles Cameron exceeded their genius by using an abundance of Baroque gilded carvings, multi-wood parquetry and mirrors below spectacular ceiling murals by such artists as Antonio Peresinotti, Pietro and Francesco Gradizzi and Ivan Belsky, to create such masterpieces as the world has never known. Each room was more amazing than the last.

Within the shells of the rooms were gilded furnishings, statuary, paintings, hand painted silk wall coverings, priceless carpets, ivory chess sets, porcelain table decorations, etc. Even the stoves to heat the rooms in the frigid Russian winters were works of art with hand painted tiles composing the surface. Whole rooms had themes devoted to semi-precious stones like malichite, agate and rare marble.

One room in particular, famous the world over, is the Amber Room, dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world.” As a tourist, I was not allowed to take photos in this room, but it’s worth checking out the Internet sites’ accounts of the Amber Room with its fifty-five square meters and six tons of amber. Imagine an enormous wall of pieces of amber put together like a jigsaw puzzle and on top of that, wainscoting and mirror frames and cartouches, all composed of layers of Baltic Sea amber with carvings in different hues of amber embellishment. Mix this with gilded wood carvings and more carved and gilded mirrors and I’m certain you would say this room was absolutely breathtaking! If you are interested in seeing a video, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_YTD7N8LS0

Catherine Palace was the summer palace as stated at the beginning of this post. There was also a Winter Palace, the Yusupov Palace, once owned by one of the wealthiest families in Russia and where Rasputin was murdered, both located in St. Petersburg. Additionally, all four tour days were filled with museums, art galleries, gardens and churches within the city called the Venice of the North.

During this trip, I often found my mouth pretty-much stuck in the O position and my neck suffering from whiplash while I tried to take it all in; floors, ceilings, walls, even views through windows to parks, fountains and gardens beyond. To be able to witness this opulence and artistry was truly an experience of a lifetime.

16 Comments

Filed under Art, blogging, Coco Ihle, internet, musings, photographs, Travel

Ancient Onion Domes Galore

Today, I’ll be taking you to Kizhi Island (pronounced KEE – ZHEE), a stop on my recent Russian river cruise. Kizhi Island, in Russia’s republic of Karelia, is located on Onega Lake, (one of Europe’s largest), near the Finnish border in the northwestern part of Russia and 250 miles northeast of St. Petersburg. Since the lake freezes in winter, most travelers only see this UNESCO World Heritage Site in warmer months, after icebreakers have cleared the way. Many examples of ancient wooden Russian structures are here and some date from the 14th century.

First glimpse of Kizhi

First glimpse of Kizhi

As our river ship approached the island, a breathtaking view of the Church of the Transformation greeted us. Twenty-two spectacular onion domes pierced the sky with scaly shingles shining silver in the sunlight. We were told it was built by Karelian carpenters in 1714, but most remarkably, not a single nail was used! How was that possible? The aspen dome pieces were notched together, as was the main structure of pine. Absolutely amazing!

Next to the Church of the Transfiguration stands the Church of the Intersession with ten onion domes, thought to have been built in 1764. The builders succeeded in blending both churches and later, the belfry, into a single complex.

Churches & Bell Tower

Churches & Bell Tower

"Silver" Onion Domes

“Silver” Onion Domes

After touring the church complex our group enjoyed strolling in the summer sun along a path that led us to other structures. One in particular stood out to me, because of its likeness to some homes I’ve seen in the mountains of Switzerland. This home housed the family, harvested crops and animals during the harsh Russian winter, the animals and crops below and family above, keeping all relatively warm. Here practicality and necessity worked together nicely. In the upper family living quarters, often there were enclosed sleeping areas situated adjacent to the central fireplace used for cooking.

Traditional Home

Traditional Home

Close-up

Close-up

It sounds toasty, but I have the feeling even with these features, it still must have been difficult to keep warm in the frigid winters. My poor little Florida body wouldn’t have fared well at all, me thinks. Although it was wonderful seeing and learning about how other peoples managed their lives in the harshest of circumstances, I’m glad I live in a warmer climate with all the amenities that are available to me. How do you think you would fare?

Did you know that scenes from the 2012 movie, Anna Karenina were shot at Kizhi, specifically, the home above and the church complex? If you have the chance, visit Russia and see for yourself the wonders of a spectacular and romantic country.

11 Comments

Filed under blogging, Coco Ihle, life, musings, Travel, writing

My New Impressions of Russia by Coco Ihle

When I was a child, my impressions of Russia included Soviet troops and missiles parading through Red Square and Nikita Khrushchev’s angry face on TV at the UN, air raids in our schools where we students were told to hide under our desks and cover our heads. Communism evoked fear. The Berlin Wall was built. Then later, I remember stories of Mikhail Gorbachev unsuccessfully trying to rescue his huge nation’s economy and President Regan coaxing him to tear down the Berlin Wall. Other than that, my knowledge of Russia was extremely limited. TV photos showed gloomy gray block-shaped buildings and I felt glad I didn’t live in such a seemingly oppressive place.

Last month, I returned from a three-week river cruise exploring along the Volga River from Moscow to St. Petersburg with post extensions to Estonia and Finland. I can’t say I had much in the way of advanced impressions of Estonia or Finland at all, but today’s Russia is a completely different place than the one I had imagined as a child. I never thought of Russia in color—that’s what the times and the old black and white TV did, I guess.

St. Basil's Cathedral The Kremlin

GUM Department Store Entrance

I started out in Moscow and spent four days exploring its political, historical, artistic and cultural wonders and as our tour’s Program Director promised, every day was even better than the last. I saw the typical sights like Red Square with Lenin’s Mausoleum and St. Basil’s Cathedral, its colorful twisting onion domes gleaming in the sun like embellished ice cream cones. The  adjacent red walled Kremlin, which is actually a 15th-century walled city, houses the seat of government and Putin’s office.  In addition, there are six cathedrals and numerous museums within those walls.

One museum, the State Armory, left me breathless. This Russo-Byzantine building was designed to protect the Kremlin’s collection of valuable items, some of which dated back to the 12th-century. Sights to boggle one’s mind included historic armor, royal thrones covered in gold and studded with diamonds and precious jewels, huge gilded imperial carriages, coronation robes, the wedding dress of Catherine the Great. There were Faberge eggs, created by Carl Faberge, the jeweler to the tsars of Russia, Russian weaponry in jewel-studded cases, battle-axes, sabers, equestrian harnesses and saddles, priceless silks, velvets, and brocades, encrusted with jewels and pearls worn by the tsars. This museum definitely topped my former favorite, the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. I know it’s not fair to compare, but when I left the Kremlin, I thought my mouth would be forever stuck in the O position. It was a magical place.

I haven’t even begun to tell you about Moscow’s beautiful churches and cathedrals filled with gold, carvings, icons, mosaics and sculptures, or the GUM Department Store (pronounced GOOM) where one can purchase items from Fendi, Louis Vitton, Hermes, Gucci, etc., or the excursion to the Moscow Circus, or the Tretyakov Gallery with its more than 130,000 paintings, sculptures and graphics from Russian artists dating from the 11th to the 20th-centuries, or the beguiling flower-filled parks and street venders selling their unique wares, or the pastoral Novodevichy Cemetary, where writers Anton Chekhov and Nikolai Gogal and former president Boris Yeltsin are buried, or exciting stops on Moscow’s ornate Metro. What I can tell you is that Russia is fascinating, colorful, vibrant, friendly and not at all the country of my ignorant youth. It’s young again and, I’m told, the youth are full of hope, the elders are cautiously waiting to see.

Moscow's Metro Novodevichy Cemetary

Next month, on the eleventh, I’ll share some more about my trip. I hope you’ll join me.

8 Comments

Filed under blogging, Coco Ihle, fun, life, musings, Travel, writing