1. If you spend 2-3 hours learning the Cyrillic alphabet on a free app on the airline ride to Russia, you will be able to sound out many Russian words, which is amazingly helpful when it comes to riding the Metro and reading street signs. I read this on another blog before I went and I didn’t believe it, but it’s true!
  2. Russians like Putin because, historically, every time they have a ‘weak’ leader, their country tends to crumble into chaos. Ex- Tsar Nicholas II, Mikhail Gorbachev, and it would take more than a superficial search of Google to figure the third one out so, if you know, please let me know!
  3. Except for the major cities, most Russians live in wooden houses with no indoor plumbing and only outhouses and a shower in the garden that they can use in the summertime. To live in a stone house is considered bad luck.
  4. It’s not just Putin who is shirtless. In the summer, most Russian men catch every last ray of sunshine possible by sunbathing shirtless.
  5. The average Russian person is simply living to survive. Our guide told us (in a Q&A session) that the average Russian “is into shit up to here” and she pointed to above her eyebrow and then said, “but we still have one ear above the shit because we really want to hear something good.”
  6. The average Russian person feels like they don’t have a choice when it comes to voting. It doesn’t matter who they vote for because, according to the people I talked to, they stated that the winner of any election is already pre-chosen by the super-wealthy oligarchs and the powers-that-be.
  7. The average Russian is too preoccupied with their own daily concerns to follow American politics (i.e. Trump). The response I heard was: Why do you Americans think that we care about your politics — we have other things to worry about — like survival!
  8. The Hermitage has ONE exit and that exit is only ONE small doorway that allows ONE person at a time to exit. I asked our guide about it and she shrugged and said, “Don’t try to understand the Russian logic.”
  9. Russians are surprisingly open about their history and don’t pull any punches when talking about politics. They hate Gorbachev, they make fun of how Breznekov kissed everyone on the lips and they despise Stalin. Putin is simply someone who leads the country and they don’t have a choice over. A fact of life — not bad or good, but worthy of a shrug.
  10. There are Russian Orthodox churches everywhere. Whether you are in a city or in the middle of the nowhere, like magic, beautiful onion-domes of all colors emerge in the skyline. Magical!


I highly recommend you considering making your next trip to Russia. It’s a beautiful country, the people are wonderful, food is delicious, and the history and the art are awe inspiring. Your biggest challenge will be to see as much as possible without hitting total overload of the senses.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “10 Things I learned traveling in Russia.

  1. Cathy,
    You’d told us you were going to visit Russia, but not when. I assume it
    was the last week of August.
    Thanks for your upbeat view of what was once America’s enemy. In a
    few centuries, we’ll have gotten around to all the nations.
    Did you check out any feet while there?


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