TREASURE-HUNTING IN ROTHENBURG

One of the best ways to spend a day in Rothenburg is shopping. I don’t even like shopping, yet Rothenburg is just so charming, welcoming and relaxed, that it imbues with joy even one of the most stressful and tedious [for me] activities. Tiny Rothenburg is a GREAT shopping destination. But you won’t find Prada or…

MOSCOW SHOPS: RUSSIAN CRAFTS AT IZMAYLOVO VERNISAZH

If you have been losing sleep over how to get your hands on all those amazing Russian crafts I wrote about last week, fret no more. Izmaylovo Vernisazh to the rescue! Vernisazh (derived from French “Vernissage” or a preview for an art show) is Moscow’s, if not Russia’s, biggest and best known market for all…

MOSCOW’S MOST FESTIVE EASTER EVER

Moscow REALLY turned up Easter this year. Word on the street was, city officials have decided that with all the #sanctions, ruble woes, Ukraine and endless winter the people needed some extra cheering up this year. And so, Christmas decorations stayed up all the way through March, only to be immediately replaced by Easter decorations…

MASLENITSA MADNESS IN SUZDAL

What? Maslenitsa (“butter week”) is a half-Christian, half-Slavic pagan celebration of the soon-to-come end of winter that takes place for a week before Lent. Think Mardi Gras, or carnivals of Rio de Janeiro and Venice, but instead of ball gowns, beads and nudity you get traditional Russian games, folk music and dance concerts, a lot…

AMSTERDAM MAD DASH

Can Amsterdam be done as a day trip? Only if your day starts at 6 am and ends at midnight, or if your whole plan for the city involves a stop at a “coffee shop” and grabbing a beer along one of the canals. If you want to get more out of the Dutch capital,…

THE HIDDEN BRIGHTNESS OF BRUSSELS

It is true that with its mostly limestone-gray Gothic exteriors of the old town and limestone-beige Neo-Classical architecture of the last two centuries Brussels is architecturally more somber and buttoned-up than a lot of it European neighbors. But take some time to hang around it and you will discover a million ways that the city…

WHAT I ATE IN CRIMEA: Farmers’ Markets

For weeks before my Crimea trip my mother was imploring me to check out the farmers’ markets in Novy Svet and Sudak, for the freshest fruits and berries in all the land! The markets did not disappoint, and I tried everything from the in-season strawberries and raspberries, to homemade cheeses and sausages. I cannot even…

THE COST OF STAYING IN

Or, Part II of Moscow’s Cost of Living (go here for Part I – The Cost of Going Out). Grocery prices in Moscow vary widely from one store to the next. In the area where I live there is only relatively large supermarket – Azbuka Vkusa (Alphabet of Taste), well-known for its sky-high prices and…

I MISS NY: BERGDORF’S WINDOWS

One of my favorite things about the holiday season in New York is the unveiling of the window displays of Bergdorf Goodman, the poshest and fanciest of all the posh and fancy department stores in the world. Every December I would rearrange my post-work commute so that I could swing by the BG store on…

MY MOSCOW: 5 PLACES

To date, I have lived in five wonderful cities: Moscow, New York, Washington DC, Paris and Madrid. This is my take on the best things to do, places to visit and treats to try in each of them. While this is not an exhaustive compilation by any means — and a rather subjective one at…