A nostalgic trip to Russia
For years I’ve carried vague memories of Russia from when I visited as a child. While I’m often mistaken for having a Scandinavian or UK heritage, my mother’s side of the family is actually Russian, and this is often something that intrigues people. What is it like there? What are the people like? Is it safe? For a long time I have not been able to answer these questions and I’ve often wondered myself how I might experience visiting Russia as an adult. This year, I finally had the opportunity to visit again with my Mum as a guide.
It may not be a trip for everyone. You can become quickly frustrated by the visa process, and if you’re not familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet and the language, it can be challenging to fully appreciate the culture. However, if Russia still intrigues you then I would recommend visiting with a friend who can speak the language, or a tour group.
Moscow is a vibrant and creative city, with a great food culture. The metro train system is fantastic – so there is really no need to hire a car here. I was lucky enough to venture off the beaten path and visit other lesser known cities and even small rural villages. Everyone we encountered on the trip was warm and inviting, and wanted to welcome or help us with our journey in any way they could offer. This trip to Russia for me was a personal journey, and showed me where my family came from and how they lived. Russia has an incredible culture, delicious food and warm people, and I can’t wait to visit again soon.
The Bolshoi Theatre – an iconic building with world class ballet and opera performances.
Moscow Metro – spend an evening (I suggest late in the night when there are less crowds) getting on and off the different stations of the metro. Each one has it’s own unique design and architecture and are incredible to see.
Old Arbat Street – this is a long pedestrian street in one of the oldest parts of Moscow. There are lots of places to eat and shops to visit, and you can enjoy the colourful buildings and culture along the way. Catch the metro to Arbatskaya and the street begins just across the road
Izmailovsky Market – Catch the metro to Izmaylovo and it’s a short walk to the market. Here you will find a range of stalls, from pottery to Russian nesting dolls and all sorts of flea market items.
Eliseevsky Store – Take the metro to Tvserskaya and visit this picturesque food store. It has traditional Russian foods, cakes, sweets and other goods. The interior design is worth visiting for alone, but the food is a bonus.
Cafe Pushkin – A fine dining restaurant that is set in an old library hall. I would come back to Moscow just to visit this place again! The food is incredible, the setting is magical and it lived up to all my expectations.
Mari Vanna – A cosy restaurant offering traditional Russian foods but with a slightly modern twist. There are lots of lovely little stores and shops along the same street to explore as well.
Varenichnaya №1 – For local and affordable meals, I really enjoyed this chain of restaurants that can be found in a number of locations throughout Moscow. Buckwheat porridge, pelmeni and borscht soup are all traditional foods I recommend trying.
молоко топленое (baked milk) – A traditional drink that my mum would make all the time when I was a kid. You can buy it in all the local shops and deli’s.