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Lugging the suitcases through snow drifts early in the morning in Boulder
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The snow-bound Denver airport
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View from our plane's window
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De-icing
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Frozen pond near Constantine Palace by our hotel in St. Petersburg
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Peter the Great's palace
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Another view of Peter the Great's Palace
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Alexi on the frozen shores of the Gulf of Finland
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The front of the Constantine Palace
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Ginger Bread house in our hotel's lobby
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Going on a tour of Constantine's palace
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Statue of Peter the Great
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Inside one of the Palace's halls
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A small conference room
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This is the private conference room where Bush gazed into Putin's eyes and "got a sense of his soul"
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Different perspective of the same room
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Large conference room in the Palace
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The canal in the back of the palace, which was used as a prototype for Peterhoff
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Detail of the columns at the back entrance to the palace
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Alexi warms up with a cup of tea
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The Fontanka canal in St. Petersburg
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The New Year's tree in front of the Winter Palace
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The Winter Palace, as viewed from across the Neva
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Alexi by the frigid Neva
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Alexi buffeted by the wind on the river
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The Kunstkammer Museum
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The night-lit bridge over the Neva
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The New Year's tree in front of the Kazan Cathedral
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Getting tipsy on Sovietskoye Champanskoye at a cafe
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Alexi and Oleg's Aunt Tamara, New Year's Eve dinner
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Training it to Moscow in a completely empty train car, Jan. 1, 2008
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View from our room at the Holiday Inn in Moscow
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Church in the Ukrainian Quarter, Moscow
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Alexi on a deserted street in Moscow
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Deserted street in Moscow
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Pigeons keeping warm on ventilation ducts
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A deserted park. Who says that Moscow is always crowded?
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Another view from our walk through Moscow
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Lubyanka, ex-KGB headquarters
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Cool-looking archway
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Another small church in Moscow
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Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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Our first sighting of people in Moscow on Jan.2!
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The pinnacle of capitalism in Moscow, Glavny Universalny Magazin (GUM) on the Red Square
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St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square
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Obligatory shot of the Red Square (where everyone was hanging out Jan. 2)
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Lenin's Mausoleum
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New Year's tree near the Red Square
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A pedestrianized street near the Red Square
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Alexi by the ice sculptures and light fountain
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Yuri Dolgoruky, dressed as Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost, aka Santa)
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Skaters on a frozen pond in a residential area of Moscow
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One of seven Stalin's skyscrapers at night
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The rising skyscrapers of the new Moscow-Citi business district
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A church in Kolomenskoye
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Alexi snuggles in for the night on the train to Minsk
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View from our hotel window in Minsk. Note the McDonald's across the square.
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Classic Soviet-style architecture in Minsk
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Cool-looking underpasses in central Minsk
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Statue of Dzerzhinsky (founder of the Soviet secret police, later known as the KGB) in Minsk. It's now around the corner from a sushi place :)
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Palace of the Republic in Minsk
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Skating rink in front of the Palace of the Republic
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Another example of neo-classical Stalinist architecture in Minsk
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Looking down Independence Avenue toward Yanka Kupala park.
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The Minsk circus
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One of the entrances to the park
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Frozen pond in the center of the park
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Pretty street lamps and more impressive architecture
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Modern Minsk buses
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Victory Square, part 1
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Victory Square, part 2. The complete sign reads "the heroic deed of the people is immortal."
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Radio tower
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Metro entrance. Note the "WC" sign -- clean public bathrooms were easy to find!
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Minsk tram crossing Independence Avenue
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Patriotic poster proclaiming "For Belarus, for the people!"
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Not a statue of Lenin, but rather of Yakub Kolas, a Belarussian poet
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Judging by the olympic rings, probably a sports complex of some sort
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"Your health largely depends on your lifestyle" - a message brought to you by the Belarus Ministry of Health
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The skating rink in front of the Palace of the Republic
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"Dom Ofitserov" - literally, "officers' house"
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Bad English in our hotel room
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Alexi was curious what chicken wings in Belarus would be like. This is the answer.
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Alexi on Victory Square
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The eternal flame
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Closeup of the victory monument
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The National Library of Belarus - a very impressive building!
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Plaque in front of the library. The English transciption appears to be a mangled version of 2 Timothy 3:16
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Belaz welcomes you to Belarus!
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Minsk metro. The stern-looking woman walking towards me is about to tell me that taking photos is prohibited
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Bus station where we waited for an airport bus
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Alligator statue at the Minsk airport
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Western-style or squat-style: your choice!
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Our ride to Istanbul
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View from our room at the Zeynep Sultan hotel in Istanbul
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The breakfast room had a great view of the Hagia Sophia
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On the patio next to the breakfast room
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Inside the Hagia Sophia. Originally constructed as a church in 537, it became a mosque in 1453 after the conquest of Constantinople. In 1935, it became a museum.
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It now features kneeling of a different sort
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One of the original mosaics from the time it was a church
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Alexi in front of the Hagia Sophia
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Istanbul was full of well-fed and healthy-looking cats, like this playful kitten
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It really liked playing with Alexi's hair!
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Cute!
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Back streets around the Blue Mosque. We saw a lot of Best Westerns. Globalization, what can you do...
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Dogs hanging out
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Cute cobblestone alleys near Gulhane Park
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Our hotel
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Looking across the Bosphorus at the Asian part of the city
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Looking towards Beyoglu, a more modern part of Istanbul
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A street near our hotel
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View of the Hagia Sophia from our hotel
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Traditional Turkish tea with a view of the Bosphorus
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Alexi after a few drinks at the 360, a fashinable restaurant/bar with great views of Istanbul
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Going on a tour of Topkapi palace, residence of the sultans for 400 years
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The proverbial gilded cage
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The inner courtyard
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Interesting hollowed-out tree
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View of the Bosphorus from the palace
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The entrance to the harem
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Harem courtyard. Womens' quarters are on the right.
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Large room where the main entertainment took place
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Another room in the harem
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Stables, I think
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A fountain the Suleymaniye Hamam, a Turkish bath where we wpent a relaxing evening
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Photos from a Bosphorus cruise from Istanbul up to the Black Sea
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A delicious and inexpensive lunch in Anadolu Kavagi
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Ruins of the medieval Genoese Castle near Anadolu Kavagi. We had the place to ourselves!
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Alexi with the Black Sea in the background
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Just beyond the castle walls was some army installation
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Bosphorus views from the cruise back to Istanbul
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Hagia Sophia in the evening, as seen from our hotel
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We don't smoke, but we couldn't pass up the chance to try a nargile, or a Turkish pipe
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Me after a nicotine overdose
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In the couryard of the Blue Mosque
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Alexi's head covering
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The entertainment system on our Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul included a camera view from the pilot's point of view.
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Landing at JFK