Every day I come across awesome reads from fellow expats, travel bloggers, news magazines and other great sources and think, “so-and-so would love that!” Sometimes I might forward the articles privately, but most of the time they disappear into the abyss of my memory and the Internet.
Well, no more! In this new feature, which is a belated replacement for my Russia Through Russian Art series, I will share the best of travel ideas, advice, reflections, photos and eats that I’ve purused over the past month, illustrated with some of my favorite Instagrams from all around the world. And if you have a great piece of content that you’d like to share — please feel free to link to it in the comments!
Let’s kick off the series with shameless promotion of self and Motherland. Even though I’ve been on a Russia hiatus here on Home & Away, I wrote two guest posts for Vlad of Eff It, I’m On Holiday. The first one dealt with why you must visit Moscow. To quote myself, because “it is one of the greatest cities in the world. It is so unique and uniquely Russian; in fact, it is the heart and soul of this country, and is at the center of its cultural and historical identity. You can’t say you’ve been to Russia without visiting Moscow.”
The second one gave a little taste of what you could and should eat while in Russia. Spoiler alert: there will be a lot of dill and sour cream. You think I’m kidding about the dill thing? Apparently, the overabundance of this herb straight-up terrified The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, who’s written a rather droll essay about it, titled “Dill With It.” See what he did there?
Meanwhile, John from Continental Breakfast Travel took it upon himself to tell the world why the best time to visit Russia is NOW!!! Reason #1: because over the last year Russia went from one of the most expensive destinations in the world to probably the cheapest capital city in Europe. We don’t know how long our monetary woes will last, so strike while the iron is hot and prices (in dollars and euros) are low!
UK – LONDON
Will you be in London in two weeks? If yes, then I would like to live vicariously through you, MKayThanks – as London will be holding a PIZZA FESTIVAL!!! After you eat the six quarter-pizzas that are included in your £30 admission fee (steep, yes – but that’s London for you), you can wash them down with some brews at one of London’s 12 Best Riverside Pubs. Or you can bar-crawl along the Thames to check out the whole dozen… I wonder if anyone could survive that, actually…
FRANCE – PARIS
Aventurous Kate – my hands-down favorite professional travel blogger – has put together your ultimate, 100-tip large Guide To Paris, which includes everything from where to stay to what to eat and see, to how to have a great time on a budget. I spent a semester studying in Paris and I couldn’t have written a better recommendation myself. I think that post is in the process of going viral.
If you do find yourself in Paris, pay particular attention to the unique street signs around town – according to Huffington Post they are disappearing, and fast. I remember the beautiful Art Nouveau mosaics and the gilded, wrought iron frames well, they were my favorite part of exploring Paris. It is the little details that give any place its cultural character and in this day and age, when we are speeding toward global homogenization of everything from food to clothing to architecture, it’s really important for us to appreciate and preserve them.
Morocco has started to creep up my Travel Wish List a few years ago, but very slowly, as a destination I should maybe consider… some day. But that was before Annie of MontgomeryFest went there and her photos of Fes and Chefchaouen completely stole my heart and filled me with bothersome wanderlust. It is now among my top-3 must-visit places, alongside Scotland and South Africa. Also, come to MontgomeryFest for Morocco, stay for what is probably the most meticulously curated and delightfully soothing travel and lifestyle blog on the web. Browsing it is like a vacation in and of itself.
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USA – WEST/SOUTHWEST
My best friend Jenna – a Real-Life friend, at that! – recently took an amaaaaaaaazing road trip through the American SouthWest, including Utah and Colorado. Her photos from the head-spinning hikes (which she recounts on All The Roads We Have To Walk Are Winding) are absolutely breathtaking, and rightly make me feel like a complete idiot for not traveling more domestically back when “domestically” still meant USA.
By the way, should you travel to the American West with the goal of seeing wildlife, please be advised that the Nature and the U.S. National Park Service do not guarantee close encounters of the big game kind, such as selfies with grizzly bears or dances with wolves. Otherwise you risk being disappointed, like these poor souls visiting the Yellowstone National Park, who politely requested that the Park ” please train [their] bears to be where guests can see them.”