Friday, December 7, 2012

Penner's Spotlight - Carole Towriss - Russia

Pens on a World Map
Penner's Spotlight

PennerCarole Towriss of Washington D.C.
Location: Moscow, Russia

Moscow is an ancient and fascinating city. I’ve been there three times, all very short visits. The first two were in 1998 on the way to Kazakhstan and back for my daughter’s adoption. The third, in 2001, was on the way to the adoption of my third and fourth children. 

My husband visited many times during his twenty years with CNN, and he pointed out all the many incredible sights as we strolled around Red Square. It seems almost a mishmash of buildings – ancient and new, commercial and religious, sprawling and compact. 
Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square near the Kremlin
On the south side is my favorite building, the elaborate, brightly domed Saint Basil's Cathedral. Actually a grouping of ten chapels, it sits at the geometric center of Moscow and is over 450 years old. You can tour the inside, but compared to the outside, I thought the interior somewhat disappointing—cramped, dimly lit, and full of tiny stairwells and blocked-off areas.
The western side of the square is bordered by the famous—or infamous—Kremlin. Formerly the residence of the tsars, Lenin, Stalin and now the President of the Russian Federation, the compound is massive. 

State Historical Museum and rebuilt Iberian Gate
 Several buildings have been rebuilt since Soviet days. The Resurrection Gate and the Kazan Cathedral were both demolished to make room for Soviet parades, or official caravans that often came screaming through the square without notice.
On the Eastern side of the square is the GUM department store, a huge indoor mall. We spent a good amount of time here! Not only is it full of unique finds, it was cold outside and I was quite unprepared for the weather.
Moscow remains one of my favorite cities, perhaps because it is so full of history…or perhaps just because I consider it the gateway city to my children.

Do you have a travel story from Russia? Do you have a certain favorite memory traveling as a child or with your own children? We'd love to hear about it. Please join the discussion in the comments.
Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. Her first novel, In the Shadow of Sinai, released November 1. You can find her at or on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

In the Shadow of Sinai

An artisan’s world has been destroyed one too many times. Can he get past his anger to see his ability for what is—a gift from El Shaddai? Or will he let his resentment rob him of his chance to build a masterpiece?

Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.

When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful, young concubine.

When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning…

To read the first two chapters, find the link here. To view the book trailer, click here.

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  1. Hi Carole-I have always wanted to visit Russia and love your pictures! We live in Egypt but are moving to Washington D.C. very soon-maybe we'll run into each other?

  2. Egypt - wow! I've always wanted to visit Egypt! Please feel free to email me when you get here. :) My info is on my website.

  3. So glad yall connected on here! :) Great!

  4. I have a picture of my husband and I in front of the Kremlin taken on our first trip to Moscow in March of 1991 in the days of when St. Petersburg was still Leningrad. I cherish those days, as I'm sure you do as well. I wish you and your special family oceans of blessings, Sharon Leaf