BAVARIAN ALPS or How Travel Dreams Are Made

I’m not a mountains person, but as soon as I saw the idyllic, bucolic landscape of the Bavarian Alps from the window of my tour bus, it was love at first sight. All I could think was “I can’t believe God has made something so beautiful.” Give me a minute, I think I might have…

Travel Dreams Come True: TWO DAYS IN THE RHINE VALLEY

My college boyfriend had three crushes: Asian girls with giant racks, me (not Asian, no giant anything to speak of) – and Germany. I could never understand that third one: for me, Germany was not country to be visited. It wasn’t even a place — but a concept. Growing up in the USSR, I was…

And Just Like That, It’s Winter Again

My seasonal depression begins during the Summer Solstice. For most Western people June 21st marks the beginning of summer, but for me it is the end; in fact, it’s the official first day of “Winter Is Coming.” * * * Living in Moscow means you can’t just assume that you will get all the trappings…

ESTONIA’S GORGEOUS COUNTRYSIDE

You know how parents tell their kids to never get into cars with strange men? This is exactly what I did in Estonia. The strange man in question was the Nice German I met on my first evening in Tallinn. Long story short, as a result of making this acquaintance, I abandoned my original plan…

FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN

Today seemed like the first real day of autumn in Moscow. It wasn’t September 1st, when fall officially kicks off in Russia, and every person from the age of 6 to 21 suddenly reappears on the city streets after three months at the dacha. It wasn’t September 20-something, when the sun decides to do its…

CRIMEA: FOUR REASONS TO GO*

*I swear that neither the Russian government nor my place of employment have paid me a kopek for the 10,000 words I have written about how “Crimea is Awesome” – though on second thought they should totally comp me this vacation. So, why did I go? I had specific goals for this vacation: regain some…