The Time I Paid $4 for 3 Slices of Bread and Butter

The alternative name of this article was “The time I dined alone at the most talked about restaurant of Saint Petersburg”, but I decided that me struggling to keep my face straight while having a fancy fine-dining experience is not as fun as me complaining about $4 bread, so here we go.  For some reason,…

On Turning 30 or Who Wants to Be 20 Anyway?

On the day after my 30th birthday I sat in front of my computer for two hours, staring at the blank page, forcing myself to write something, anything about turning thirty. For some reason, I was sure that once I turn thirty, I’ll know exactly what to say. I imagined writing this deeply philosophical post about…

Being a Woman and Traveling Solo in Sri Lanka

When I was 22 I packed my bag with extremely unfitting clothes like a figure-hugging pink dress and high-heeled shoes — come to think of it, I didn’t pack those, I was wearing them on a ten-hour flight from Moscow to Colombo — and left to Sri Lanka for half a year.  You know how much…

The Weird Wobbly Meat Jello That Is Russian Kholodets

Don’t start exploring Russian cuisine with kholodets. That is if you are willing to enjoy Russian food. Start with something familiar like pelmeni, Russian-style dumplings, or soup… you’ve had soups before, right? Don’t dive into Russian food head first by trying the one thing most foreigners find weird and, frankly, disgusting. Kholodets, as people like…

Dear Instagram…

Dear Instagram, I think we need to take a break. For a few days or a few weeks — I have not decided yet, but I feel that I need a breath of fresh air and time to think. I do hope you won’t come back biting me in the ass for this, like showing…

Moscow GUM Is Not for Shopping, It’s for Eating

Moscow GUM was one of those places where I, a naive girl from a small Russian town, was genuinely afraid to step in on my first visit to the capital. I was ten and the concept of a shopping mall was new to me. When I needed a new blouse or winter boots for the…

Could You Kindly NOT Help Me in the Kitchen?

I am not a jerk. I really think so. I am usually a very welcoming, kind, and positive type who loves family gatherings at home and is ready to stay in the kitchen for hours making an elaborate dinner. You are welcome to come and enjoy the food and a conversation on some controversial topics,…

Ekaterinburg Travel Guide Written by a Local with Love

When foreigners ask me which Russian city I am from, more often than not they expect to hear “Moscow” or “Saint Petersburg”. When I say “Ekaterinburg”, the reaction is usually “Oh… ok… I will never be able to pronounce that”. To which I reply: “Not only will you be able to pronounce it, but you’ll…

50 Important Tips for Traveling in Russia

So you are planning a visit to my Motherland? This truly makes me happy. As a person who was born in Russia and knows about its beauty, historical and cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, I often feel frustrated by the lack of interest to my home country around the world. Ok, I’ll rephrase that. There’s…