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Watching the 2014 Sochi Olympics brought back memories of a trip my wife and I took to Russia back in 2007. Although our trip took us nowhere near Sochi, it was a better introduction to the Russian way of life, steeped as it is in tradition yet constantly struggling to reinvent itself.

Our ‘sport’ was to ride the Trans-Siberian railway across Russia. Not a single train like the Orient Express, the Trans-Siberian is more of a work-a-day series of trains that connect cities along the way. Starting from Moscow, the classic trip would take you right across Russia to Vladivostok. In our case, we took several trains transporting us from Moscow to Irkutsk, through Mongolia and terminating in Beijing. Combined with our flights to and from our home in Winnipeg, we had managed to circle the globe.

Remembering Russia is a small selection of pictures taken during our 2007 trip expressing Russia’s contradictions, its often brutal history as well as the underlying beauty of the country. A counterpoint to the Russia shown to the world at Sochi.
Street scene, St. PetersburgSmolny Convent, St. PetersburgOn the grounds of Peterhof Palace, St. PetersburgHermitage Museum, St. PetersburgRussian Museum (Mikhaylovskiy Palace), St. PetersburgRussian Museum (Mikhaylovskiy Palace), St. PetersburgTsarskoye Selo, St. PetersburgKanel Griboyedova and Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, St. PetersburgSpace Museum, Peter and Paul Fortress, St. PetersburgHermitage Museum (Winter Palace), St. PetersburgCathedral Square in the Kremlin, MoscowRed Square and GUM, MoscowSt. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, MoscowStreet scene, MoscowBolshoi Theatre, MoscowMoscow street scene with LeninBalloons, All-Russian Exhibition Centre, MoscowMickey and Minnie, All-Russian Exhibition Centre, MoscowBehind Lenin, EkaterinburgStreet market on Prospekt Lenina, Ekaterinburg