Russia Travel: An Enigmatic Encounter Between East and West
The mystique of Russia lies in its unique geographical location. Set at the cultural crossroads between the East and the West, between Asia and Europe, the centuries have forged a unique identity that permeates everything from its culture to politics and cuisine. So much of what we know of Russia in the post-World War II era has been told to us by writers and artists in exile. It’s probably their deep yearning for home that gave the world its profound fascination with this country. In this era, travel to Russia has relaxed into carefree exploration, without the Bond-style adventurousness of stepping behind the Iron Curtain. Our team of experts offers you an exhilarating encounter with past and present on your Russia tour!
We suggest that you start your trip with a visit to two iconic cities: Moscow and St Petersburg. See the Kremlin and the Red Square to experience the setting of many epic historical events in real life. Visit the Bolshoi in Moscow, not just to watch the ballet, but also to be a part of the boisterous Russian audience, loudly cheering pirouettes and fouettés. Even if you think you’ve had enough of ballet in Moscow, stop by the imposing Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. This is where the former Soviet Union’s most famous defectors, Baryshnikov and Nurejev, started their careers.
St Petersburg is also home to the Hermitage museum, immortalized in Alexander Sokurov’s movie The Russian Ark. As the title of the film suggests, this is the place to take a thrilling artistic journey, and also to witness the growing pains of a nation. Originally established by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage was expanded to include the Winter Palace after the October Revolution and heavily bombed during WWII. Today, it stands as testimony to a turbulent past.
To really feel the big beating heart of this country, however, go beyond the cities. The legendary Trans-Siberian Railway route from Moscow to Vladivostok covers some of the most dramatic isolated wildernesses in the world. Visit the ancient Lake Baikal to see what the words ‘crystal clear waters’ really mean. You don’t even need to go as far as Siberia to experience the pristine beauty of the taiga. We’d suggest a quicker getaway to Karelia, a haven of lakes, boreal forests and tiny villages where you can still see historic wooden Orthodox churches.
As for the food, we recommend that you prepare yourself for big, hearty meals. Russians like their ballet and their architecture big, bold and dramatic. The same goes for the food – generous helpings of black caviar, salmon, and hearty soups like the ruby red borscht, perfect for chilly nights. You’re not expected to order vodkas by anything less than the bottle.
If you really need any more reasons to experience the drama and grandeur of Russia, get in touch with us; we’ll give you plenty!
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Russia’s Golden Ring is a band of pretty little historical towns that lie to the east of Moscow.
Karelia lies along the Finnish–Russian border, with a distinct geography, culture, and architecture all of its own.
Lake Baikal is one of the world’s deepest lakes and oldest geographical features, formed millions of years ago.
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