Monday, March 3, 2014

More Vladivostok Sights

Kristen says...

As you know, we've been here now for over a year, and so have had the opportunity to see Vlad in all seasons.

It has been especially nice to be able to appreciate the winter this year...after two years in Honduras with no snow in sight, I have enjoyed the cold white stuff here in Vlad (not that we've had that much, but when it's here, it's wonderful!).

We arrived last year smack dab in the worst (meaning coldest!) part of winter, and I admit I didn't appreciate it very much, but this year, being able to ease into it a bit (and being gifted with an extremely mild season) has been (mostly) marvelous!

A couple weekends ago, as part of our tourist-ing in Vlad, we took a trip out to Russky Island, the previous site of our Dragon Boat racing and home to one of the Universities and the newest hospital located here in Vlad. It is also the place that the "world's longest cable-stayed bridge" connects to the city.

We actually wanted to go see the fort that is located there, but it was closed on Mondays, so we just decided to drive around instead. The island has one really nice, long, pretty straight, paved road that bisects it, and a windy, gravel, bumpy road that halfway circles it. We took the long straight road to a place where it connected to the bumpy gravel road and had a nice afternoon taking in the sights.

For your convenience, here is a screen shot of the Google Maps view of the island:
You can see the bridge in the upper RH corner and the two roads weaving their way around the island
 We stopped at a couple convenient viewpoints to see what we could see:
It looks like the waves just froze as they hit the beach
Pip is deciding whether to jump in or not...he decided not. :)
We also started to notice something else...
SUV on the ice?!
 The further we drove, the more cars (and people) we saw:
Best use of a side car?
 After a bit we decided we might as well pop out on the ice ourselves...not in the car, of course, which is illegal, but on foot...
Me trying to get up the courage to jump up and down
Chris had no such compunctions :)
 Just as we were getting ready to leave, we saw someone boldly drive out where we had just been jumping:

 We got back in the warm car and continued on our merry way. The island is slightly hilly, and Chris and the friend who was with us decided a little hiking to the top of a hill was in order:
 It was a good choice--what beautiful views!
The path we took to the top of the hill
A view of the Russky Bridge
 At the top of the hill we even found a simple little monument with a beautiful view:

 Closer views of the monument, which was dedicated "In memory of 100-anniversary events Port Arthur Icon of the Mother of God"

A closer picture of the view of the city from the monument (the bridge on the RH side is not the Russky Bridge, but the one we can see from our home).

Another sight from the top of the hill:
I'm not quite sure how these cars got there??
 After the sojourn up the hill we were all quite chilly, so we decided to head back to town. We stopped just one more time for a last beautiful view of the city and the ice:
 And, just to give you an idea of the number of cars driving out on the ice...
 A regular highway...until spring, of course!  :)


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