TRAVEL READS – September 2015

Autumn is in full swing across the Northern Hemisphere. Here in Moscow September brought a freakish bout of absolutely gorgeous weather, with sunny days, blue skies, and temperatures reaching into the high 20’s C/80’s F. A true “babye leto”, or “women’s summer.” And now, let’s move on to …


In many countries fall means harvest festivals, and probably none are more famous than Germany’s Oktoberfest. Allane from Packing My Suitcase lives in Munich, the capital of Oktoberfest, and she has great tips on how to have the best time during the celebrations, plus advice on all the cool things you can do on top of the beer-drinking. Also, you MUST read this absolutely insane account of what it’s like to be a waiter during Oktoberfest.

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If wine, rather than beer, is more your jam, here are 10 wine regions to watch, just in time for grape harvest. Two places I didn’t expect to see on the list?  Michigan and Moldova, although now that I think about it, this former Soviet republic was one of the major wine suppliers to all of USSR, alongside Georgia and Crimea.


In America, fall is synonymous – at least for me, but I think for many others too – with gorgeous New England foliage. This slideshow features the most foliage-tastic spots all over the US, and will dazzle you with a kaleidoscope of colors. I am suddenly itching to go on a road trip…

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What are your feelings about solo travel? I travel alone quite a bit, both for leisure and even on business trips, in a sense that when I have a bit of free time, I like to wander off on my own and explore things that I want to see, rather than conform to a group. I am prickly like that 🙂   And while for the most part I like traveling by myself (insert George Michael – Freedom! chorus here), sometimes I do get hit with a sense of anxiety and even loneliness in an unfamiliar place. That was actually difficult to admit, even to myself, so I was really excited when Adventurous Kate shared similar feelings despite being an expert solo traveler  — and then suggested one ingenious trick for getting your confidence back on track!
Of course there are MUCH scarier things about travel than grabbing a meal by yourself. For example, one of those insane hikes that you should probably never go on! But in case you don’t listen to me, do take one of those trips, and are stranded somewhere in the wilderness, here’s a handy video tutorial on how to build a hut with a bed and fireplace using no tools but your own two hands, and no materials except for what nature has provided for you. It is absolutely mesmerizing.


For a different kind of extreme traveler, here’s the incomparable Linda from Expat Eye on Latvia on the 9 reasons people move to Latvia. For several years Linda tried to scare people away from Latvia, totally unsuccessfully, I must say, because I ended up going to visit her there (if you’re new to the blog, you can read about it here). Warning: Once you start reading Linda’s Latvian tales, you might not stop till you’ve gone through all the archives. I speak from experience.


For a different kind of exotic traveler (come on, The Baltics are TOTALLY exotic), here is Expat Edna with the 5 best things she ate in Azerbaijan. Even for a Russian who’s supposed to be somewhat familiar with Central Asian cuisine this was a really interesting post. My ideas about Azeri food are grounded in Moscow’s street-food stands, which combine Azeri, Uzbek and Georgian influences, and deal mostly in savory pastries and shwarma.

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While we are on the subject of eating… Lady of the Cakes is a professional food researcher and expat (a German who’s lived in England and is now in Toledo, Spain) and she likes to share some fascinating food trivia. Could you guess which country consumes the most mayonnaise? What about who drinks the most whisky? I guarantee you will be totally surprised when you read on.


Last week I put together a guide for seeing all of New York in a day, for my friends who were in the Big Apple for work, barely had any free time, and for whom it was the first time in America, too! I also included some recommendations what to eat while there, but I kept them very general and stuck to a mix of NYC and American classics that can be had on the go. Now I need to go and update that post with this totally awesome list of 33 great (and cheap!) places to eat in The City, by TravelFreak. Yes, my timing sucks!

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And finally, some food for thought: why do we keep going to “overrated tourist attractions” even if we know beforehand that they’re overrated, and will probably bitch about them being overrated afterwards? Discuss.

Travel Reads is H&A’s monthly feature  where I 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.

Happy reading!

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