Counterfeit bills is very common in Argentina especially in the big cities. One of the reasons could be the current economic crisis. In a previous post I have written about exchanging money in Argentina. However, when you are exchanging money ANYWHERE in Argentina, you need to make sure that you are not handed counterfeit or fake money.
I was recently waiting for my bus at Retiro bus station in Buenos Aires, when a young German traveller was handing a 100 Peso bill to the lady at the kiosk. She immediately told her that the money was fake. The girl explained to her that she got the money from an ATM in the city. The woman told her that it is normal and you cannot trust anybody. I was alarmed to say the least. Imagine, fake money from the bank? What is happening here?
This subject was also discussed in one of the travel forums where I am a contributor. A lady said that they received fake 100 Peso bills from the ATM in Calle Florida near Avenida Sante Fe. The bank in question was Banco Patagonia, 999 Florida. The person received six fake bills and went to complain to the bank manager but nothing could be done and they lost the money. Another person received fake notes from Citi Bank,also in Calle Florida.
Exercise care when dealing with taxi drivers and night clubs.
Each person dealing with money in Argentina is affected and should know what to look for when they receive money.
What to look for?
It is not difficult to identify fake money and I will give you a couple of tips on what to look for.
1. Hold the bill up to the light and look for the security thread. The $50 and $100 pesos will have a shiny thread that weaves in and out through the material.
2. Feel the money. Fake money will feel like normal paper. If you touch the face of the man on the bills ( The $100 pesos bill has the face of ex-president Julio Argentino Rojas) you will feel that the paper is slightly raised. The same goes for the diamond shape at the top of the bill. This diamond shape also changes colour. The $100 peso bill has one dark blue diamond and the $50 peso bill has two black diamond shapes. They are also slightly raised when you touch the paper. The paper that money is printed on is normally expensive and feel different to normal paper.
3. There are two identical numbers on the face of the bills. In the top right hand corner and in the bottom left corner. These numbers must always be the same. Be careful when you receive money and make sure that the same number is not duplicated on various bills. This is a sure sign of a fake note. The number can also be seen as a watermark at the back of the bill.
4. The Watermark is very important and criminals printing fake bills always battle to get the details right. The number in (3) above can clearly been seen when the bill is turned around and held against the light. The face of the ex-president ($100 note) and the activist Domingo Faustino Sarmiento ($50) can be clearly seen when the bill is held against the light. With fraudulent notes the watermark is there but not clearly defined and the contrast is not good. In addition you will see the initials of these men at the bottom of the watermark image.
It seems like the most popular fraudulent notes are the 100 and 50 peso bills. It is also important to note that the old 100 peso bill have been replaced with the new Eva Peron note, although we don`t often see the note, it is in circulation.
How to avoid being given a fake note and what to do when you receive one?
Take your time when receiving bills and check for the above. Don`t worry, people are used to this and won`t feel offended. The only people who might feel offended and say something is the taxi drivers.
If you are handed fake notes by the ATM, keep your receipt and ask to speak to the Branch Manager as quickly as possible. It is not likely that you will be refunded but it will bring it under the attention of a senior person. Most likely it is somebody working inside the bank who has replaced the real notes with fakes.
When you withdraw money from the ATM ask for smaller denominations. I have mentioned before it seems like the most popular fake notes are the $100 and $50 peso bills.
Try to pay the taxi drivers with smaller notes. If you have no choice and need to pay with a $50 or $100, make sure you check the watermark in front of the driver. Also try to memorize the last 3 digits of the serial number or fold the corner of the note. Why? They tend to swap notes and say that you have handed them a fake note thus keeping the fake money into circulation.
They cannot help you. It is tough times in Argentina and unfortunately people will scam the innocent. It is not important if you are Argentinian, old, young or a tourist although the unsuspected tourist is often the victim.
Don`t even bother to go to the police. You will just be wasting your time. Like one officer said to a couple who complained:”Go to a kiosk and find an old man who will not know the difference and pay him with the fake note”. Imagine that!
Sushi at the Coliceum? That sounds a little strange. Indeed, we did have Sushi at the Coliceum but not in Italy. We went to a lovely Japanese restaurant in Surat Thani,Thailand,called Yayoi. How does the Coliceum fit into all of this? Yayoi is situated in a building called The Coliceum. The Tai people spell it a little different but they pronounce it the same.
It is a `girlie` restaurant. It is decorated in various shades of pink and has flower art on the walls. Not that it means it is for women only. It just reminded me of a place where girl friends could hang out.
I was dying for sushi. It is very difficult to find fresh fish where we live in Argentina. We do have the normal hake fillets and trout but they are either iced up or very expensive. We don`t have a Sushi restaurant in our town and have to go to the city. My husband doesn`t like the idea of raw fish and he would rather visit a steak house.
It reminds me of the time when I was working in the Corporate World. My boss loved Sushi and often suggested that we have management meetings at one of his favorite restaurants in Bedfordview called “Jungle”. I loved sushi from the word “Go” but sadly two of my colleagues couldn`t stomach raw fish and they suffered a lot during these meetings. Maybe it was some sort of punishment for them!
When we walked through the night marked close to the Thairungruang Hotel we saw a woman who was selling corn. I wanted to buy one from her but she charged 120 Baht, which I thought was ridiculous. That proved my statement when I saw the prices in the restaurant. A box filled with a lot of goodies cost 159 Baht. I couldn`t eat it all. The food was really good.
Will I recommend this restaurant to other travellers? For sure! The food was excellent, well priced, the waiter very friendly and the atmosphere great. If you are in Surat Thani and you feel like sushi go to Yayoi Restaurant in the Coliceum. You will not be disappointed.
Where: Yayoi Restaurant in the Colicuem Building,Surat Thani,Thailand.
When: 13 March 2013.
Planning a trip to Argentina and unsure if you should exchange money into Argentine Pesos before you fly? It is understandable that you would like to have some local currency on you. Maybe you need to pay for a taxi or buy something small. In my opinion don`t bother to exchange money before you depart your home town. I am specifically referring to people who travel with US Dollars and Euros. You will be paying fees to the banks to have the money converted and in the end you will find that you have lost money in the process.
It is indeed interesting times in Argentina and the situation can change overnight. There are all sorts of restrictions for Argentinians and we cannot go to the bank and purchase US Dollars like we used to. I find this very alarming in a country where everybody is supposed to be free. My blog is not political and I don`t write about political issues. For now I will try to explain why it is better for you to enter Argentina with your local currency and exchange it there. Most importantly where to exchange it and what rates to expect.
When you walk in the “Micro Centro” or city center of Buenos Aires you will always hear people shout “Cambio”. We call them the “Arbolitos”. “Cambio” means “Exchange”. To be honest they drive me nuts when I go to the city. I guess mainly because I look like a foreigner and after 5 years in Argentina I will always be and look like a foreigner. They approach people and ask if you want to exchange money. Personally I would not change money with them. You never know if you will get counterfeit Pesos or where they want to exchange the money.
Money exchange offices or “Casa de Cambio” are all over the city. They are reputable and some have been in business for more than 30 years. You will identify them with signs that have written on “Money Exchange”. If in doubt ask at your Hotel or Hostel. They will point you in the right direction.
US Dollars and Euros are also widely accepted at most stores and supermarkets. Check the rate before you exchange. Many of them will give you the “Official rate” or “Bank rate” and you will be losing. Always check the rate. It is very important because you could lose up to 3 or 4 pesos per Dollar if you are not careful. Compare rates that you have been given and negotiate if need be.
Official Bank Buying rate: 1 USD = 5.15 (Buying)
Exchange: 1 USD = 8.4 (Buying)
What about the banks? You can exchange your Dollars and Euros at the banks but you cannot purchase foreign currency. This also changed since my first visit to Argentina in 2007. You will be given the official bank buying rate which is a lot lower than the rate that you will get at the “Cambio offices”.
A word of caution. There is a lot of fake money doing the rounds. Learn how to identify counterfeit money from the real thing. Don`t use the hawkers (Arbolitos) in the streets. Travel responsibly and enjoy Argentina!
*** Information correct at the time of publishing the article. Please familiarize yourself with the currency values before you travel to Argentina.
We stayed at the Thairungruang Hotel in Surat Thani for one night before we departed for Bangkok. It was not our preferred choice of hotel. When we arrived at the bus terminal in Surat Thani an over friendly taxi driver literally bundled us into his taxi and took us to the hotel.
My description might sound a little dramatic but that is how it was. The hotel is very centrally located and close to markets and the Coliseum shopping center.We were booked into a 5 bed room on the ground floor. The room is very basic with a TV and small bathroom. It was a little run-down but clean.
There were two ladies at the reception and one of them was not friendly. I returned later to enquire about the Wi-Fi, which turned out not be free, and she basically shrugged her shoulders when myself and another customer asked about the charges. It cost 100 Baht to activate the Wi-Fi for 1 day. I have read a review where people said that Wi-Fi was for free and they must have changed it. The other customer complained about this and was not happy as generally Wi-Fi in Thailand is for free.
Personally I think that the people who we have dealt with in Surat Thani were the most un-friendly people that I have encountered during my trip to Thailand. It is really sad because Thailand is known for their customer service and friendly people.
Breakfast is not included in the price. It is very basic accommodation for a reasonable price. It is perfect for 1 or 2 nights but in my opinion it doesn`t qualify as an International Hotel as they claim.
Address: 191-199 Metkasem Rd., Amphur Muang, Surat Thani 84000, Thailand
When: 13 March 2013
Are you flying from Heathrow Airport? You may want to consider staying at the Sofitel Hotel, which is the preferred residence of the Queen, according to concierge Nico Di Giovanni.
The Sofitel Heathrow with parking has a futurist and contemporary design. With the spectacular views over London, comfortable beds, and French inspired restaurants, you’ll feel as though you’re on vacation even before you embark on your flight.
The best feature you’ll find at the Sofitel is that it is the only hotel with access to terminal 5. By walking on their short walkway, you can quickly get to the check in counter for an early morning flight, or you can proceed right to your room after a long day of flying.
Parking is just as convenient. With so many rooms available and parking to accommodate those rooms, many guests decide to leave their car with the hotel for airport parking. The problem is that since this is so convenient, many of the spaces and rooms book quickly.
Reserve a Room and Parking Spot Now
People worldwide have discovered how easy it is to book a room and parking at Sofitel London Heathrow. They have experienced the convenience of a walkway that takes them right into the airport where they can proceed to the terminal they need to check in at. They have also experienced the ease of getting to their room in a matter of just a few minutes after a long, exhausting flight. To experience all of this for yourself, simply reserve a room and parking spot. All you need to know is your departure and arrival date and time. You’ll also need to know how many nights you may want to stay at the Sofitel. Many guests decide to extend their stay beyond the one night stay before or after a flight to experience all that the hotel has to offer.
Plan now to enjoy yourself later. Travelling is stressful enough, so take care of the hassle of parking by making a reservation now.
Russian eclairs or Заварное пирожное is a very delicious dessert and my mother-in-law is an expert when it comes to making them. She worked in a bakery during the times of the Soviet Union and this is just one of the many delicatessens that she can make.
For my birthday last year she arrived with a container filled to the brim. Like a flash people were looking at the content and had a ooh and aah-moment. I didn`t recognize it at the time because the round cream puffs didn`t look like the oblong chocolate eclairs that I know from back home.
What is an éclair and where do they originate from?
It is a long oblong shaped cream-filled pastry that originated during the nineteenth century in France. The word comes from French éclair ‘flash of lightning.’ It makes sense because when my mother-in-law opened the plastic container people were there in a flash of lightning!
In France it was also known as “pain à la duchesse”or “petite duchesse” until 1850. Interesting that in 1884 an English recipe was published in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln! She called it “Cream Cakes”.
The eclairs (Zavarnoje Piroghnoje) that we ate in Russia were delicious! I think what made them extra tasty is the quality of the milk. Mom buys milk from the farmers and you can just imagine how creamy it is. It was also extra special because Mom is 80-years old and she made this especially for my birthday!
Andrey explained to me that people in Russia normally don`t make Zavarnoje Piroghnoje (Éclairs) at home. It is not a time issue but basically it boils down to an acquired skill. Mom made this for many years in the bakery that she worked for. Today most people will go and buy it directly from the supermarkets or bakery.
In some parts of the United States,Long Johns are marketed under the name éclairs, but they are not identical. A Long John uses donut pastry and is typically filled with vanilla pudding or custard, making it a simpler and inexpensive alternative to the éclair.
What does an éclair taste like? Ask a two-year old!
For the people who would like to try and make eclairs at home, I am including a recipe and a very helpful video tutorial.
Recipe published in the Boston Cooking School Book:
1 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoonful salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup pastry flour
5 eggs, yolks and whites beaten separately
Boil the water, salt, and butter. When boiling, add the dry flour, stir well for five minutes, and when cool add the eggs. This is such a stiff mixture, many find it easier to mix with the hand, and some prefer to add the eggs whole, one at a time. When well mixed, drip, in tablespoonful’s, on a buttered baking-pan, some distance apart. Bake twenty to thirty minutes, or till brown and well pugged. Split when cool, and fill with cream.
Eclairs–bake the Cream Cake mixture in pieces four inches long and one and a half wide. When cool, split and fill with cream. Ice with chocolate or vanilla frosting.
Cream for Cream Cakes and Eclairs
1 pint milk, boiled
2 tablespoonfuls cornstarch
3 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1 saltspoonful salt, or
1 teaspoonful butter
Wet the cornstarch in cold milk, and cook in the boiling milk ten minutes. Beat the eggs; add the sugar and the thickened milk. Cook in the double boiler five minutes. Add the salt or butter, and when cool, flavor with lemon, vanilla, or almond.”
—Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Mrs. D.A. Lincoln 
Where: Kalinigrad,Russian Federation
When: 18 June 2012
If you are Sherlock Holmes fan and you find yourself in London, then the Sherlock Holmes Pub is definitely the place to visit. Inside this cozy pub you will find a wide range of Sherlock Holmes memorabilia on the walls and in the display cases. They serve a large selection of beer, traditional English food, wines,ales and other spirits.
It is a very touristy place and it is normally very crowded. When I visited London we drove past it in the City Tour Bus and then later I made my way over there with a couple of friends that I have met on the bus. It was too crowded and we couldn`t find a place to sit. We settled for another pub.
It seems like after all these years, the reviews for the Pub is still good. I found these pictures courtesy of Tripadvisor and was reading some of the reviews. Food is good, drinks are reasonably priced, atmosphere is great but it is busy and people advise to book in advance.
This photo of The Sherlock Holmes Pub is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The main attraction is a replica of Holmes’ and Watson’s sitting room and study. The room is adjacent to the restaurant and diners can view the area through a large glass window. There is also additional viewing space in the hallway.
This photo of The Sherlock Holmes Pub is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Memorabilia that can be seen at the pub includes Dr Watson’s old service revolver, original cartoons and the stuffed and mounted head of none other than the Hound of the Baskervilles.
Interesting facts about the Pub:
- The Sherlock Holmes pub opened in 1957.
- The exhibition items have not changed since the pub opened but are now complimented with other items including television and film stills.
- Holmes tracked down Francis Hay Moulton in “The Noble Batchelors” to this venue.
- Charing Cross Station is next to the pub.
- Old Scotland Yard is just across the other side of Northumberland Avenue.
Famous Sherlock Holmes and Watson quotes:
- “Excellent! I cried. “Elementary,” said he.
- “You know my methods, Watson.”
- “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? ”
- “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.”
- The fair sex is your department.
Address: 10-11 Northumberland St, London WC2N 5DB, United Kingdom
Phone:+44 20 7930 2644
Hours: Thursday hours 11:00 am–11:00 pm
Transit: London Charing Cross
I read an article recently in the Economist about the 25 most polluted cities in the world. It made me think about polluted cities that I have visited over the years and Cairo was at the top of this list. A thick smog was hanging over the city each morning and traffic pollution was almost unbearable. Most days I ended up with a huge headache.
There are different kinds of pollution. Some or visible and some invisible. Fact is they are both dangerous and contribute to global warming. It is estimated that more than 2 million people die prematurely each year due to the health risks of air pollution.
What are the symptoms of air pollution?
Short-term effects includes:
- Itchy eyes, nose and throat.
- Wheezing,coughing and shortness of breath.
- Chest pain, headaches, nausea, bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Asthma can get worse.
How can the traveler protect himself and what precautions can be taken?
When you plan your trip do a bit of research and try to answer the following questions:
- Cities visited: Are you going to visit any of the cities that are known to be heavily polluted?
- Length of your trip: How long will you be exposed to these conditions?
- Health Status: What is your current health status? Do you have asthma, allergies, chronic bronchitis, heart or lung disease?
- Age: Are you an elderly person or travelling with young children. The elderly are more susceptible to air pollution due to pre-existing chronic conditions and newborns and children take in more air (higher level of pollutants) than adults for their body weight.
- Season: What time of year are you going? Depending on seasonal weather patterns, smog tends to occur during hot and humid days. If you suffer from asthma or allergies, also consider the occurrence of pollen season at your destination.
What precautions can be taken?
- Purchase a mask that you can wear over your mouth and nose. You often see Chinese locals wearing them. They wear it for a reason!
- Be on the lookout for smog alert days. Many newspapers warn people as well as the radio and television.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity on these days.
- Consult with your doctor if you are at risk.
- For older travelers, get a physical exam that includes a stress and lung capacity test prior to departure.
- If you are travelling with newborns or young children, minimize exposure or consider not travelling to areas with low air quality
Does air pollution bother you and do you take precautions before you set off on an adventure? Which cities in your opinion are the most polluted?
The State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow is home to more than 170,000 works of art and is one of the largest museums in Russia. This is indeed a rare collection that will give Westerners a glimpse into the development of Russian art from the 10th to the end of the 19th Century. Some of these famous artists includes Kandinsky, Chagall and Malevich to name a few.
The gallery boasts 62 rooms and will take you anything between 2 and 3 hours to work your way through the museum. You will also find early religious paintings,sculptures,drawings, a large collection of Russian Religious Icons and modern art objects.
What is so special about this museum?
I have been privileged to have visited the famous Louvre and the Hermitage Museum a couple of years ago. It is really hard to find a museum that can be compared to these two. I went into the Tretyakov Gallery with an open mind and after the first hall I was speechless. I saw Russian masterpieces that you will not see in the Louvre or even in the Hermitage. This is an exclusive collection that takes you on a journey through time.
A little history about the museum.
A Russian merchant named Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov founded the gallery. The building itself is also historical and was built on an estate in the 17th and 18th centuries. He was an art lover and when he bought it in 1852 moved his whole art collection there. It took him more than 30 years to put this collection together and in 1892 he opened the house as a museum in order for other people to enjoy. It was during this time that he donated the house, including the art collection to the city of Moscow.
When we were walking through the museum I recognized portraits of famous Russian writers like Dostoevskii, Ostrovskii, Turgenev and Tolstoi. Tretiakov can also be credited for acquiring these portraits and in the museum you will find two portraits of the patron himself.
In 1898 he passed away and the house was reconstructed and in 1918 it became the property of the state and received its present name.
My Opinion about the State Tretyakov Gallery:
I enjoyed every minute in this museum. It is a little difficult to understand the importance of the art without proper descriptions in English. My husband pointed out the most famous pieces in the museum that he knows and grew up with. At the entrance of each hall is a basket with laminated information about the artists. This is in Russian and English. In my opinion it will be easier to visit the museum with a guide. I do hope they will add more English descriptions to the art pieces as it will be more valuable for the foreign tourist.
Moscow has “Free Museum” Night” from time-to-time. On these nights you can visit a list of museums for free. It does add up if you are planning to visit other famous museums like the Pushkin Museum. We visited the Tretyakov museum for free but photographs were not allowed on this evening. I sneaked in a couple of photos until I got shouted at by one of the ladies who worked there. It is quite difficult to take photos because they have 3 people in each hall watching the visitors. Luckily for me there were a lot of people on this evening and I managed to put together a video clip and also a brief explanation of the art that I did manage to photograph.
Address: 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Moscow, Russia, 119017
Getting Here: The nearest metro stations are “Tretyakovskaya”, “Novokuznetskaya” and “Polyanka”
- Thursdays, Fridays: 10.00 am – 09.00 pm (ticket office and last admission until 08.00 pm);
- Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays: 10.00 am – 06.00 pm (ticket office and last admission until 05.00 pm)
- day-off Monday
Adults – 450 RUB
Students – 300 RUB
When: 19 May 2012
Where: Moscow, Russian Federation
Famous paintings that I have seen in the museum. Information courtesy of the Tretyakov State Gallery webpage.
1. Portrait of Empress Anna Ioannovna by Louis Caravaque
Empress Anna Ioannovna (1693–1740) was the daughter of Peter the Great’s stepbrother, Tsar Ioann Alekseevich, who by marriage became the Duchess of Courland. She was Empress of Russia beginning in 1730. She is depicted in the kind of formal Imperial portrait that took shape in European art in the 17th century during the age of the Baroque.
The artist places the figure of the Sovereign in a palace interior and painstakingly sets down all the attributes of power – a lavish coronation dress over which she wears an ermine mantle, the crown, scepter, and orb displayed on a velvet cushion. The large and heavy figure of Anna Ioannovna has compelled the artist to use a monumental composition. The appearance of the model hardly corresponds to the way she looked in life. Princess N.B. Dolgorukaya wrote about Anna Ioannovna: “… she had a terrifying gaze and an unpleasant face; she was so big that when she walked with courtiers she was head and shoulders above them and exceedingly fat.
Can be seen at Hall 1
2. Portrait of Countess Ursula Mniszek (1782) by Dimitry Grigorievich Levitsky
Countess Ursula Mniszek (circa 1750 – 1808) was a brilliant aristocrat, a lady of the Russian court, sister of the last Polish king, Stanislav Augustus Poniatowski, and a female knight of the Order of St Catherine. Levitsky used for the portrait an oval format, which was rare in his work but in which the waist-length figure of the model is made to fit in a masterful way.
The colour range is constructed on a cool combination of light blues and radiant pearly tones. With flawless mastery the artist has depicted the heavy satin and transparent lace of the splendid formal dress, the luxuriant locks of powdered hair, the enamel brilliance of the Countess’s eyes. The smooth painterly surface heightens the sensation of cold splendour of the portrait of this flawless and distant heroine, far removed from the artist’s world and from the world of viewers gazing at her portrait.
Can be seen at Hall 5
3. Life Goes on Everywhere (1888) by Nikolai Aleksandrovich Yaroshenko
The topic of social contradictions was very important for Yaroshenko. The picture was painted under the impression of a story by Lev Tolstoy entitled What do people cherish in life? The artist originally planned to call his work “Where there is love, there is God.” In the window of a wagon carrying convicts, the prisoners have crowded together as they feed pigeons. The idea of the painting is humanity which is preserved in inhuman conditions.
The central group reminds us of the Holy Family Like many of the Itinerant (Peredvizhniki) artists, Yaroshenko used parallels from the Gospel to enhance the social resonance of his canvases. “This speaks so very much to the heart,” Lev Tolstoy said about this painting.
Can be seen at Hall 24
4. Heroes (Bogatyri) (1898) by Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov
Having revived the images of Old Russia’s legendary defenders, mighty in their spiritual power, such as Ilya Muromets, Dobrynya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich, Vasnetsov attempted at the turn of the 20th century to bridge the heroic past of the Russian people and its great future. Concrete as the images might be, the heroes are seen as a mythical epitome of the creative power of the Russian land. Mighty figures on horseback rise like mountains or colossal trees.
The hooves of the heroes’s horses tread on fragile young growth of fir and pine trees: a metaphor for intergenerational continuity. By turning to a pictoral hyperbole, Vasnetsov imparts to his heroes true qualities of Russian nature. Ilya Muromets epitomizes solidity, wise deliberate ways and tapping of experience and traditions of the people. Proud fighting spirit and desire to defend the motherland are embodied in Dobrynya Nikitich. And the image of Alyosha Popovich reflects a poetical, contemplative streak of the Russian soul, sensitivity to all manifestations of beauty.
Can be seen in Hall 26
5. Alyonushka (1881) by Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov
Not targeting a specific theme or event, Vasnetsov managed to portray in his picture the soul of Russian fairy tale, akin to quiet Mid-Russian nature. The image of Alyonushka, painted with a peasant girl as the model, conveys the suffering of a meek, lonely orphan, abandoned by everybody, who is present in many a tale. She spends an eternity sitting on a white stone, as if turned into stone with suffering, her eyes a mirror of unspoken despair.
The girl’s eyes pull you in like a whirlpool. The deep dark water, with a shimmering transparent reflection, is pulling at Alyonushka like a magnet. The girl’s figure seems to have been put together using naturally occurring shapes, dying evening colours and foliage patterns, to project a distilled inward-turned sadness of autumn nature, which takes care to conceal and safeguard the heroine. Nature consoles her like a mother consoles her baby. Landscape motifs are suggested by poetical folklore images, for example the swallows that are gathered on a twig above Alyonushka’s head as good message bringers, while the fluttering aspens are a symbol of bad luck.
Can be seen in Hall 26