Tchaikovsky and von Meck: the “lovers” who agreed never to meet

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (often anglicized as Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky), needs little introduction. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States. Born in Votkinsk, he studied in Saint Petersburg and lived both in the then-capital of Russia and... Continue Reading →

The Times They Are A Changin

This 1964 Bob Dylan song seemed appropriate to illustrate how in just one picture you can see how much things have changed in Russia since the time of the Soviet Union. In a seemingly insignificant corner (even if it is in fact a round corner) of a Moscow street we see two elements that symbolize as... Continue Reading →

The Soul in the Shed

No trip to understand Russian culture would be complete without a visit to a country shed, or its urban equivalent: the garage. The shed and the garage are a heritage of Soviet culture, which has survived in modern-day Russia. An interesting social study and explanation of how the shed became such an important part of... Continue Reading →

The Forgotten (?) Payphone

I am always amazed at how past and present coexist in today's Russia. On example of that are funfairs, especially in smaller towns. There you can almost always see old Soviet relics (like 50-year-rusty old mini ferris wheels or decrepit bumper cars, which not only violate each and every safety standard, but also look like they could literally fall apart at any given time), next to stands with virtual reality goggles and mobile 4D cinemas. The truly amazing thing, to me, is that children always go from one to the other and/or vice-versa without a second though.

The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow

The Museum is located about 15 minutes walking away from the Maryina Roshcha metro station (at the exit of which you can see the Planeta VKN Youth Center): Being rather far from the city center is not a popular tourist destination. On one hand this is a shame, because it is definitely worth visiting, but on the other hand this offers you the definite advantage of seeing such an interesting place almost devoid of other visitors, especially during the week.

Lonely ice fisherman in Tver

After yesterday's mega post on such a worrying matter, today I wanted something peaceful and serene! So I found this image I took this past winter in Tver. I wrote in another previous blog about the danger of walking on frozen rivers, but this is different. Ice fishing is a very strong tradition in Russia and the best places and times and modes to fish on the ice are generally passed from father to son. These guys know what they are doing, they know the river, they know the ice.

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