The first flight I catch out of the UK leads me to the land of Vodka, Caviar & Blinis.
Many people don’t realise the sheer size of Russia and the variety of landscapes it has to offer. You cannot go to Moscow or St Petersburg and claim to have seen Russia. For starters, those two cities are anomalies when it comes to Russian towns and cities as they are much more European than anywhere else in Russia. I’m not being detrimental to them when I say this for they are amazing cities to visit but in order to experience Russia I believe you have to experience a wide variety of places.
The cities in European Russia differ greatly from the cities in Asian Russia, take Moscow and Vladivostok for example, and the landscape varies greatly from north to south and east to west. It can be said that Russia has it all: the beach resorts of the Black Sea, the spectacular Caucasus, lively cities, the northern forests of Karelia, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kamchatka and plenty of famous lakes and rivers such as the Volga (Europe’s largest river) and Lake Baikal (the world’s deepest lake).
Although it would be impossible for me to visit all of these places I will do my best to experience a wide range of Russian culture.
First stop – Tomsk.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn – Tells of a typical day for a work camp prisoner.
Olga’s Story: One woman’s extraordinary journey through revolution, war and exile – Olga Yunter was just a teenager when the violence of the Russian revolution broke out. This books tells the story of the disaster and survival.
The Way Back (2011) – Based on a true story. A group of prisoners escape from one of Stalin’s prison camps and embark on a remarkable journey through Siberia, Mongolia, China, Tibet and India.