The largest country in the world has always held a mystical allure when viewed from the west. In equal parts admired and feared, respected and misunderstood, bits of Russia may look like Europe, but Europe this is not.
More about language travel in Russia
Absolutely vast – spanning eleven time zones – Russia stretches from the Baltic Sea and a Finnish border in Europe to within hopping distance of Alaska. So where do you start? For most people, the answer can be found in the two great Russian cities: St Petersburg and Moscow. You can still find spectacular fairytale castles and plenty of relics from the pre-Bolshevik days, if that’s what you’re looking for. But you will also find shrines to the new wealth that is permeating certain pockets of Russian society and making Russian such an important business language.
But once you have experienced the cities, be sure to explore out of town. Take an overnight train – where you are guaranteed to meet some interesting people and get some practice with your Russian – and wake up in a completely different landscape, whether the Black Sea coastline around Sochi or the frozen vastness of Siberia.
Much has been said and speculated about Russian people. It can seem like people enjoy a little melancholy with their vodka, but as your Russian improves you will discover the true depth of the famed Russian soul. As with the literature of Dostoyevsky, Nabokov and Tolstoy, the more you invest, the more you get back. You will also find an unmatched dedication to partying hard, so be prepared for some long nights! Return to introduction...