St. Petersburg was happy photo hunting. Cameras are allowed everywhere in the Hermitage so I took advantage of that happy fact and here are the results. Enjoy the tiniest bit of the AMAZING ECLECTIC ONE-OF-ITS-KIND HERMITAGE. FROM ELSEWHERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

Lobby coffee/bar at Hotel Budapest in Moscow. 9:30am. So what do I want, conference hotel with super service or funky gray-toned with surly service? I can do this I can I can…. Had a compartment mate again last night. Pretty young blonde woman with very curly hair who talked long into the night to her boyfriend but Russian is a nice background sound, soft and even melodic, odd isn’t? Bigger train car,… Read More

Norway and the trans-Siberian Express were the anchors of this journey. Everything else was and is an add-on; exciting add-ons it’s true but still not the anchor babies of this adventure. Norway now seems long past and Siberia still a couple of days away and I’ve seen all of the gold I can handle—although more palaces and squares are in my Moscow future. So why am I writing this morning? Maybe I’m… Read More

And Soon it Was the Morning of the Second Day of the Fourth Week. As I drifted happily to sleep last night in a king-size bed with a large duvet and two fat pillows dreaming of golden palaces… Well actually I may have been dreaming of my own bed on 13th Street and thinking it wouldn’t be so bad getting up tomorrow morning for a dawn walk along my own river, then… Read More

I’ve long thought that South Africa, Russia and the U.S. are probably the most intriguing countries in the world. It is true. For reasons of size and complexity and history and promise and some disappointments along the way as well. It is 7:30pm in St. Petersburg and the hours since midnight have been interesting to say the least. Starting at about 12:30am when I was roused out of a sound sleep, after… Read More

For my birthday lunch, San Diego son Scott offered to take me anywhere in the city. I knew exactly what I wanted. Russian food. Prep for the Big15Trip. I’ll continue to be up front about the fact I’m a foodie failure. I tried—to cook innovatively; love kale; pay attention to the ‘in’ restaurants; read and love and plan to visit NOMA; and, not least, to enjoy foodie conversations with kids, grandkids, and… Read More