I’ve been reminiscing a lot about my past travels since it seems like we probably won’t be able to travel again for awhile. The last trip that I went on in the fall of 2019 was to Russia and the five Stans. The trip was absolutely amazing, but a month of travel was too much for me. It mostly satisfied my travel bug. There aren’t very many countries I’ve been to that I would go out of my way to revisit, but Russia is definitely on the list. It’s absolutely beautiful and not at all what I expected. These are some of my favorite things about Russia.
1.) Russians are Romantic
I don’t normally advocate for taking photos of strangers in public, but I couldn’t help it. Everywhere I went in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, there were young lovers being romantic on the streets. I guess my perception of Russia was tainted by my American upbringing, so I found this surprising. I was under the impression Russians were very conservative and serious and that the country would be gray and drab. This was hardly the case. It was refreshing to see the youth wrapped around each other sharing tender moments. I couldn’t help but snap a few photos on the sly.
2.) Music and Dancing
Speaking of being serious and drab, when it comes to live music and dancing, Russia is anything but. There were a number of street performers doing impressive breakdancing and others playing live music. We stumbled upon a live performance outside a bar in Moscow and enjoyed dancing with the locals. It never occurred to me that a country with such a serious reputation could be so much fun.
3.) The Architecture
Of course, you can’t go to Russia without visiting the cathedrals, the metro, GUM mall, the Kremlin, and all the other sites. We’ve all seen pictures of Saint Basil’s cathedral, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. I think it was my favorite tourist attraction, and also the red square which I ignorantly thought would be red in color. Silly me. Russians must have a love for beauty based on the attention to detail in their cathedrals and the ornate ceilings of the metro. It’s a magical place.
4.) The FOOD
When I first started traveling, I made the mistake of trying to cram in as much as I possibly could and didn’t slow down to enjoy myself. Now that I’m a more experienced traveler, my favorite thing to do in a new country is to sit in local restaurants and eat the food. The food in Russia is absolutely phenomenal. Of course, I love beets so naturally I found borscht to be delicious. My favorite past time in Russia was sitting on patios just trying different foods and people watching. For me, it’s the little things that make a trip memorable.
5.) A New Perspective
My absolute favorite thing about traveling is the new perspective I gain. If you never leave your hometown, you restrict your worldview. This is especially important for Americans who are constantly bombarded by biased media. I especially enjoyed visiting the Cold War bunker. Our tour guide had a great sense of humor and liked teasing the Americans. I got to watch propaganda videos about the dangerous American country during World War II. I wish more people were inclined to get out of their fishbowl and see the other side of things. My perception of Russia has changed forever because of my travels, much like many of the other countries I’ve been to. I can’t wait to return some day.