Top 10 Reasons to Visit Russia

Winston Churchill called Russia a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” which is perhaps even more true today; just read the news. Russia is on the far eastern edge of Europe and tourism there can be expensive and frustrating. Nevertheless, the only possible way to understand one of the world’s great countries is to stand on her soil. I worked at the Anglo-American School of Moscow ... Read Full Article

The Wonder of White Nights in Northern Europe

White Nights Hike

Come inside the Arctic Circle, where during most of the summer, the sun never sets. Northern European countries that lie inside the Arctic Circle provide some very interesting White Nights experiences. Because the sun does not set throughout the night, you can take the opportunity to change the way you travel…take a chance, do something you haven’t done before, stay up late (really late.) Start ... Read Full Article

St. Petersburg, Russia – the Enchantress

Venice-like streets along canals in St. Petersburg

  “If Moscow and St Petersburg were sisters, Moscow would be serious and businesslike, compared to this relaxed, light-hearted sibling,” I say with a flourish to my husband Rick. The main street, Nevsky Prospekt, bustles with chattering people strolling arm-in-arm relishing the day. The historic area side-streets with imperial classical architecture in pastels of coral, opal, gold, and ... Read Full Article

Lake Baikal, Siberia – Russia’s Galapagos

Listvyanka nestled in boreal forest

  All who leave Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Railway stop at Irkutsk, the closest city from which to visit Siberia’s jewel, Lake Baikal. This world renowned lake is located just before the dividing point where travelers by rail choose one of three routes to complete their epic journey. Alas, my husband Rick and I do not have time on this trip to visit the area via the Trans-Siberian ... Read Full Article

Discovering Moscow with a Phrase Book and Map – Beyond the City’s Historic Heart

Upper St Peter's Monastery - main church

The luxury of having a full week in Moscow is that after visiting the Kremlin and Red Square, there is still time to discover the pulse of the city as you explore the streets radiating from these highly visited sites. The choices are so varied they defy being put into categories while  also revealing the many faces of Russian history. Along Petrovka Ulitsa (street) my husband Rick and I ... Read Full Article

Discovering Moscow with a Phrase Book and Map – The Kremlin and Red Square

St Basil's Cathedral

  An hour to go and crowds are gathering. Leaving our shady niche in the flowery Alexandrovsky Garden, my husband Rick and I stake a spot with a good view along the outside northwest Kremlin wall. Exactly on the hour all heads turn toward three soldiers “goosestep” marching; their legs with locked knees swing in unison high off the ground, their rifles balance vertically from their left ... Read Full Article

Riding the Trans-Siberian: The End of the Line

Saint Sofia Russian Orthordox Church Harbin China

  Where you end up matters almost as much as where you begin. After days on the Trans-Siberian railway, eating instant noodles and watching Siberia flick past the windows, you have one final choice: where will you finish? A traditional Trans-Siberian ticket ends in Vladivostok. A few miles past Lake Baikal, the track splits; one route continues east, and the others leave Russia. While ... Read Full Article

Riding The Trans-Siberian Railway: Lake Baikal

Western shore of Lake Baikal

  Trans-Siberian travelers look forward to Lake Baikal. It’s the gleaming jewel in the center of Siberia, the necessary stop on the long rail journey. Everyone encounters a different version of the lake, which shifts identities depending on the desires of its visitors: Lake Baikal can be an outdoor adventure, holiday destination, ecological marvel, and spiritual retreat. The world's ... Read Full Article

Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway: Irkutsk, Russia

Siberian architecture in Irkutsk

  Irkutsk makes a pretty nice exile. When Russian army officers rose up against Tsar Nicholas I in 1825, they hoped for a better Russia: land equality, more representative government. Unfortunately, the Tsar’s guards trounced the Decembrists, hanged the leaders, and sent the rest to Siberia. Packing up their wives and candelabras, the Decembrists set out for Irkutsk. At that time, the city ... Read Full Article

Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway: Where to Stop in Western Siberia

  Between Moscow and Lake Baikal lie over 3,000 miles of track. The Trans-Siberian railroad winds through lowland plains and mountain ranges, chugging away from Russia’s urban centers and slowly out into the unknown. Or at least, that’s how it feels to a traveler, as the suburban brick and concrete fades into a pastiche of birch and meadow. This is Russia’s economic heartland and ... Read Full Article