Monday, June 29, 2009


Today we will visit another HOCKEY TOWN. Our trip will take us to the Norway Capital - Oslo. Way before we all have seen this strange game named hockey, this city was holding 1952 Wintrer Olympics Game - the last one of Canada domination and the last one before Russians came to make their impact to our game.


In 1952, the Olympics were held in Norway, the birthplace of modern skiing. Germany and Japan were invited back to compete as good weather and good spirits prevailed. The Olympic flame was lit for the first time at the 1952 Olympic Winter Games. Unlike the flame of the Summer Games, this flame was lit in the hearth of the Morgedal house in Norway, birthplace of Sondre Noreheim, the great pioneer of modern skiing. It was then relayed by 94 skiers to Oslo, where it was handed from the Norwegian ski champion Lauritz Bergendal to Eigil Nansen, grandson of the famous explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who lit the cauldron.

Canada won the ice hockey tournament for the fifth time, bringing their cumulative Olympic record to 37 wins, one loss and three ties. In those 41 games they had scored 403 goals while conceding only 34.

This beautiful capital city still pays homage to its history, but honors today’s visitors with a host of attractions that will satisfy every taste.



Built on the dazzling, island-studded Oslo Fjord, this is a walking city, from its picturesque harbor to the Royal palace. Beautiful parks, stunning architecture, world-class shops and restaurants, and an enormous variety of museums will fill your days with wonder.
Well known for hosting the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony each December at City Hall, Oslo’s cultural repertoire includes museums celebrating the works of Gustav Vigeland, Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch, as well as The Viking Ship Museum of Cultural History, with two intact 9th-century Viking ships and artifacts from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. The Open-Air Museum features 155 authentic historic buildings from different regions of the country, including a 13th-century Stave Church. Don’t forget to take your camera!
No visit to Oslo is complete without a visit to the Holmenkollen ski jump, erected for the Winter Olympics in Oslo in 1952 (stop along the way for hot chocolate and apple cake in front of a roaring fire at Kafe Seterstua). Of course, there are numerous opportunities for skiing throughout Norway, including another famous Olympic village in Lillehammer (Winter games 1994).



The Norwegian fjords gouge deep into the mountainous terrain, twisting and turning to form picture-perfect vistas that will forever live in your dreams. The many towns and villages that dot the fjords form a colorful palette as you wind your way through tunnels and past crystalline lakes and tumbling waterfalls, on roads that stretch hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle to the land of the true Midnight Sun.
From the charming and friendly people (English is commonly spoken in the cities) to the breathtakingly stunning countryside, a vacation in Norway will never be forgotten!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tourist Trip to Moscow with Me and Ovie

It was so nice to visit Alex Ovechkin - 2009 NHL MVP, that we decided to spend one more day with him in the Russian capital - Moscow



Moscow possesses a large number of various sport facilities and over 500 Olympic champions lived in the city by 2005. Moscow is home to sixty-three stadia (besides eight football and eleven light athletics maneges), of which Luzhniki Stadium is the largest and the 4th biggest in Europe (it hosted the UEFA Cup 1998–99 and UEFA Champions League 2007–08 finals). Forty other sport complexes are located within the city, including twenty-four with artificial ice. There are also seven horse racing tracks in Moscow, of which Central Moscow Hippodrome, founded in 1834, is the largest.
Moscow was the host city of the 1980 Summer Olympics, although the yachting events were held at Tallinn, in present-day Estonia. Large athletic facilities and the main international airport, Sheremetyevo Terminal 2, were built in preparation for the 1980 Summer Olympics. Moscow had also made a bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. However, when final voting commenced on 6 July 2005, Moscow was the first city to be eliminated from further rounds. The Games were finally awarded to London
The most titled ice hockey team in the Soviet Union and in the world, HC CSKA Moscow comes from Moscow. Other big ice Hockey clubs from Moscow are HC Dynamo Moscow (Ovechkin’s first club), which was the second most titled team in the Soviet Union, Krylya Sovetov Moscow, and HC Spartak Moscow.



One of the most notable art museums in Moscow is the Tretyakov Gallery, which was founded by Pavel Tretyakov, a wealthy patron of the arts who donated a large private collection to the city. The Tretyakov Gallery is split into two buildings. The Old Tretyakov gallery, the original gallery in the Tretyakovskaya area on the south bank of the Moskva River, houses the works of the classic Russian tradition. The works of famous pre-Revolutionary painters, such as Ilya Repin, as well as the works of early Russian icon painters can be found in the Old Tretyakov Gallery. Visitors can even see rare originals by early-fifteenth century iconographer Andrei Rublev. The New Tretyakov gallery, created in Soviet times, mainly contains the works of Soviet artists, as well as of a few contemporary artists, but there is some overlap with the Old Tretyakov Gallery for early twentieth century art. The new gallery includes a small reconstruction of Vladimir Tatlin's famous Monument to the Third International and a mixture of other avant-garde works by artists like Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky. Socialist realism features can also be found within the halls of the New Tretyakov Gallery.

Unfortunately we have to leave this beautiful city. It’s time for us to go to another “hockey town”. See you very soon, Moscow. Thanks, Alex, and see you again in Washington


Friday, June 19, 2009

Tourist Trip to Moscow with Me and Ovie

Yesterday’s 2009 NHL Award ceremony was another brilliant show of Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin. This summer the member of the First All Stars Team will take another pile of NHL Trophies to his home city – Moscow, Russia. Today we will join Alex to visit his birth place. Be prepared to the long intensive journey, it’s gonna take the couple of days at least. Enjoy!

St.Basile Cathederal, Spasskaya Tower and Red Square

Moscow is the capital and the largest city of Russia. It is also the largest metropolitan area in Europe, and ranks among the largest urban areas in the world. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the world, a global city. It is also the seventh largest city proper in the world, a megacity. Population of Moscow with Moscow Region is 17,001,292.

It is located on the Moscow River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia. Historically, it was the capital of the former Soviet Union, Tsardom of Russia and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. It is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the World Heritage Sites in city, which serves as the residence of the President of Russia. The Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) and the Government of Russia also sit in Moscow.

Moscow is a major economic centre and is home to one of the largest numbers of billionaires in the world; in 2008 Moscow was named the world's most expensive city for foreign employees for the third year in a row.

It is home to many scientific and educational institutions, as well as numerous sport facilities. It possesses a complex transport system, that includes 3 international airports, 9 railroad terminals, and the world's second busiest (after Tokyo) metro system which is famous for its architecture and artwork. Its metro is the busiest single-operator subway in the world.

The city is named after the river (old Russian: гра́д Моско́в, literally "the city by the Moskva River"). The origin of the name is unknown, although several theories exist. One theory suggests that the source of the name is an ancient Finnic language, in which it means “dark” and “turbid”. The first Russian reference to Moscow dates from 1147 when Yuri Dolgoruki called upon the prince of the Novgorod Republic to “come to me, brother, to Moscow.”
Nine years later, in 1156, Prince Yuri Dolgoruki of Rostov ordered the construction of a wooden wall, which had to be rebuilt multiple times, to surround the emerging city. After the sacking of 1237–1238, when the Mongols burned the city to the ground and killed its inhabitants, Moscow recovered and became the capital of the independent Vladimir-Suzdal principality in 1327. Its favourable position on the headwaters of the Volga River contributed to steady expansion. Moscow developed into a stable and prosperous principality, known as Grand Duchy of Moscow, for many years and attracted a large number of refugees from across Russia.

Under Ivan I the city replaced Tver as a political centre of Vladimir-Suzdal and became the sole collector of taxes for the Mongol-Tatar rulers. By paying high tribute, Ivan won an important concession from the Khan. Unlike other principalities, Moscow was not divided among his sons but was passed intact to his eldest. However, Moscow's opposition against foreign domination grew. In 1380, prince Dmitry Donskoy of Moscow led a united Russian army to an important victory over the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo which was not decisive, though. Only two years later Moscow was sacked by khan Tokhtamysh. In 1480, Ivan III had finally broken the Russians free from Tatar control, allowing Moscow to become the centre of power in Russia. Under Ivan III the city became the capital of an empire that would eventually encompass all of present-day Russia and other lands.

The Cathederal of Christ the Saviour

In 1571, the Crimean Tatars attacked and sacked Moscow, burning everything but the Kremlin. In 1609, the Swedish army led by Count Jacob De la Gardie and Evert Horn started their march from Veliky Novgorod toward Moscow to help Tsar Vasili Shuiski, entered Moscow in 1610 and suppressed the rebellion against the Tsar, but leaving it early next year 1611, following which the Polish-Lithuanian army invaded. During Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618) hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski entered Moscow after defeated Russians in the Battle of Klushino. The 17th century was rich in popular risings, such as the liberation of Moscow from the Polish-Lithuanian invaders (1612), the Salt Riot (1648), the Copper Riot (1662), and the Moscow Uprising of 1682.
The plague of 1654–1656 killed half the population of Moscow. The city ceased to be Russia’s capital in 1712, after the founding of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great near the Baltic coast in 1703. The Plague of 1771 was the last massive outbreak of plague in central Russia, claiming up to 100,000 lives in Moscow alone.

During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, the Muscovites burned the city and evacuated, as Napoleon’s forces were approaching on 14 September. Napoleon’s army, plagued by hunger, cold and poor supply lines, was forced to retreat and was nearly annihilated by the devastating Russian winter and sporadic attacks by Russian military forces.

In January 1905, the institution of the City Governor, or Mayor, was officially introduced in Moscow, and Alexander Adrianov became Moscow’s first official mayor. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, on 12 March 1918, Moscow became the capital of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and of the Soviet Union less than five years later. During World War II (known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War), after German invasion of the USSR, the Soviet State Committee of Defence and the General Staff of the Red Army was located in Moscow.

In 1941, sixteen divisions of the national volunteers (more than 160,000 people), twenty-five battalions (18,500 people) and four engineering regiments were formed among the Muscovites. That November, the German Army Group Centre was stopped at the outskirts of the city and then driven off in the Battle of Moscow. Many factories were evacuated, together with much of the government, and from 20 October the city was declared to be under siege. Its remaining inhabitants built and manned antitank defences, while the city was bombarded from the air. Joseph Stalin refused to leave the city, meaning the general staff and the council of people's commissars remained in the city as well. Despite the siege and the bombings, the construction of Moscow's metro system, continued through the war and by the end of the war several new metro lines were opened.
On 1 May 1944, a medal “For the defence of Moscow” and in 1947 another medal In memory of the 800th anniversary of Moscow were instituted. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, on 8 May 1965, Moscow became one of twelve Soviet cities awarded the title of the Hero City.


In 1980, it hosted the Summer Olympic Games, which was boycotted by the United States and several other Western countries due to the Soviet Union's involvement in Afghanistan in late 1979. In 1991, Moscow was the scene of the failed coup attempt by the government members opposed to the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev. When the USSR was dissolved in the same year, Moscow continued to be the capital of Russia.

Thank you, Alex. See You Tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our Destination is Toronto, Canada

Let me guess – you like travelling, you enjoy visiting new countries and cities, make new and meet old friends. And of course, you are the hockey fan or maybe even a player? Let’s mix it! Be a hockey tourist; visit some famous hockey places with me! Today I’ll take you to Toronto, Canada – the home of the Maple Leafs

Toronto is a great city to live and work in, or just to visit. We have a high quality of life and reliable services, in one of the safest urban environments in the world. We have a lot more going for us, too. Just check out the facts!

Toronto's population is one of the most diverse in the world. Nearly all of the world's culture groups are represented in Toronto and more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken.
You may already know that Toronto is home to the world's tallest building (CN Tower at 553.33 m) and that the world's longest street starts at the City's lakeshore (Yonge Street at 1,896 km), but did you know that Toronto is as far south as the French Riviera or that more people live in Toronto than in Canada's four Atlantic provinces combined?

Here you will find interesting and sometimes startling facts about Toronto, Canada's economic engine, with its 6th largest government and one of the world's most diverse and multicultural populations.
Toronto's 10 historic museums work collectively to inspire passion for our city. Our museum professionals have researched the history of Toronto and present this knowledge in ways that engage residents, visitors and community groups alike.

Toronto Culture is continuing to investigate the best way to build a museum that tells Toronto's story.

Humans began to occupy the Toronto region shortly after the last ice age. Many thousands of years later, in the 17th century, these indigenous peoples opened trade with the French, who subsequently established trading posts in Toronto in the 18th century. Toronto passed to British control in 1763, and the creation of an urban community began 30 years later when colonial officials built Fort York and laid out a town site. That community, 'York,' became the capital of the province of Upper Canada (now Ontario). It also grew as an important commercial centre, and, in 1834, with 9,250 residents, it was incorporated as the 'City of Toronto.' The population continued to expand: when Canada became a country in 1867, the city was home to 50,000 souls. By 1901, 208,000 people lived here. Today, with well over two million people, Toronto is Canada's largest city, the heart of the nation's commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural life, and is one of the world's most liveable urban centres.

In 1998 Maple Leaf Gardens Limited buys the Toronto Raptors and the Air Canada Centre (aka "The Hanger"or "ACC") after making some changes to the intial plans to make it a fitting home for the Maple Leaf Hockey Club.
On Febuary 13 1999 the Toronto Maple Leafs played their final game at Maple Leaf Gardens,(losing to the Chicago Black Hawks, who also beat the Leafs in the very first game ever.
Played there) ending its tenur as home to the club for more than 67 years the building however for the moment still is in function as home to the OHL junior A team St Michaels Majors and the National Lacrosse Leagues Toronto Rock who won the Championship in 1999 ,their first season in the league since being bought by a group including several members of the current Leaf organization played the first game at The Hanger on Feb 20 1999 defeating the Canadiens in overtime.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our Destination is Kladno, Czech Republic

Let me guess – you like travelling, you enjoy visiting new countries and cities, make new and meet old friends. And of course, you are the hockey fan or maybe even a player? Let’s mix it! Be a hockey tourist; visit some famous hockey places with me! Today I’ll take you to Kladno, Czech – the birthplace of Jaromir Jagr

Situated some 30 kilometres west of Prague, Kladno with the 75,000 inhabitants still stands for coal and steel in the popular awareness. But these attributes refer rather to Kladno's history and fit much less for the present. Coal mining has moved out of town and metallurgy has shrunk. The face of Kladno, especially the central pedestrian zone, now lives its renaissance. The oldest testimony refers to a small village in the period of 1315-18 while 1561 is the year of Kladno's becoming a vassal town. The last lords of the Břevnov and Broumov Benedictine Demesne invited the baroque Master Kilián I. Dientzenhofer to Kladno, and three of his works have survived down to our times: the mansion (today a gallery and museum); St Florian's sculpture group; and the Immaculata group. The 1870 promotion to royal town and the 1898 status of a royal mining town have supported the development of the town centre which now consists of a number of historicising, ArtNouveau, and modernist public buildings and burgher houses many of which are under restoration today.

The 1846 discovery of coal and the build-up of the Adalbert and Poldi metallurgical works made Kladno rapidly evolve into Central Bohemia's largest industrial centre. But you must visit the Poldi Engineering Museum or the mining museum at the Mayrau Mine at the north-western edge to see the short industrial season today. Kladno is the base for one of Central Bohemia's oldest theatres; has got several galleries; is good at ice-hockey-just remember František Pospišil or Jaromír Jágr (bottom photo); and offers much in terms of social and cultural life and sports facilities. The south-western frontier is the forest clad countryside which merges into a holiday area around Kačák and Křivoklát. The vicinity of Prague, good accommodation facilities, and good links with the Prague Airport make Kladno a suitable base if you want to see Prague.

We were about to visit Canadiens Tomas Plekanec - who is from Kladno as well, but...OK, next time!

Our Destination is Bromma, Sweeden

Let me guess – you like travelling, you enjoy visiting new countries and cities, make new and meet old friends. And of course, you are the hockey fan or maybe even a player? Let’s mix it! Be a hockey tourist; visit some famous hockey places with me! Today I’ll take you to Bromma, Sweden – the hometown of the Leafs legend Mats Sundin

Bromma is a so called borough (stadsdelsområde) in the western part of Stockholm, Sweden, forming part of the Stockholm Municipality. Bromma is primarily made up of the parish with the same name, and the parish of Västerled. The fourth largest airport in Sweden and the third largest of the airports close to Stockholm, the Stockholm-Bromma Airport, was built in Bromma in 1936.
The districts that make up the borough are Abrahamsberg, Alvik, Beckomberga, Blackeberg, Bromma Kyrka, Bällsta, Eneby, Höglandet, Mariehäll, Nockeby, Nockebyhov, Norra Ängby, Olovslund, Riksby, Smedslätten, Stora Mossen, Södra Ängby, Traneberg, Ulvsunda, Ulvsunda Industriområde, Åkeshov, Åkeslund, Ålsten and Äppelviken. As of 2004, the population is 59,229 on an area of 24.60 km², which gives a density of 2,407.68/km².

Bromma is dotted with tiny forests, parks and lakes, including the Judarn forest surrounding the Judarn Lake, and the parks around Åkeshov Castle and Ulvsunda Castle. Bromma Kyrka is one of the most distinguished Romanesque churches in the region, celebrated for a complete scheme of wallpaintings by the late medieval artist Albertus Pictor (c. 1440 - c. 1507).

Bromma consists predominantly of high- and medium-income residential neighbourhoods, and the Ulvsunda industrial area. This is situated close to Stockholm-Bromma Airport, the only airport in the city of Stockholm. It was opened in 1936 and serves primarily domestic destinations; with about 1.25 million passengers a year, it is the second largest airport in Stockholm County. Ängby Camping is one of the largest camping lots in Stockholm and is situated close to a large beach by Lake Mälaren.
The local football team Brommapojkarna is in the Allsvenskan although not regarded as a major team in Stockholm, it has the largest youth academy in the world. Its main emphasis on producing technichal and fast players.

Thank you, Mats and See you next time!