Posts tagged ‘st. petersburg’

March 16, 2011

5 best Irish pubs nowhere near Ireland

Just about the only things you can rely on when travelling these days is the security line will be a pain, the airfare will be higher than you expect and somewhere on your journey you will happen into an Irish pub sure to make you feel at home. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches on March 17, here is a list of the favourite Irish pubs I visited during the past year that are nowhere near Ireland:

1. Rattle N Hum, New York – Sharing the name with a U2 album, this bar on 33rd Street and 5th Avenue is an elevation for the Irish pub. The beer list includes 40 draughts, most of which are craft brews from the States, and more than 100 bottles. It’s got great ambience, too, and rotates its beer list so often it’s set up an iPhone app so you can check out what’s on tap. Website:

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December 3, 2010

Adoration for the Magnificent Hermitage

[Got a chance to visit St. Petersburg for a second time and just like my first time, the Hermitage mesmerized me. It one most awe-inspiring building. Here’s a story from the Toronto Star’s Grand Tour series on the museum and city.]

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA — Even if the Hermitage didn’t possess any paintings or sculptures, its walls alone would make it a place you have to see. The halls of the Winter Palace, the largest part of the complex, are laden with gold, malachite, silver, bronze, marble and ornate mouldings framing vaulted ceilings in this one-time dwelling of Catherine the Great. To stand in the airy armoury, surrounded by gilded pillars and hardly anyone is to be amazed by grandeur on an audacious scale.

Then, once you’ve taken in the walls, you can be mesmerized anew by what’s on them: Rembrandts, Da Vincis, Raphaels, Titians, Tiepolos, Monets, Picassos. The icons of art, whose names we all know and whose works we have seen in high school and university textbooks, are gathered on the banks of the Neva River in this museum founded in 1764. The Hermitage owns the largest collection of paintings in the world and has a total of more than 3 million pieces, only a small percentage of which are on display.

“Forget about what’s on the walls, look up and sometimes the rooms themselves are more amazing than the artwork,” says Eric Weiner, a student at Vassar University in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who is spending this semester in St. Petersburg studying art history and Russian culture.

Read more in the Toronto Star.