Hear about travel to the Russian Far East as the Amateur Traveler talks to freelance travel journalist Robert Reid about his numerous journeys to this remote part of Russia.
Robert says, “Russia is big. It’s a very big place and I have spent a good chunk of my life there. I studied Russian in college and lived in Moscow and St Petersburg. This is at the other end of Russia. We are talking about going 7 time zones east of Moscow to the part that is really the Siberia of Siberia. In Russian, that’s Dal’niy Vostok, the Russian Far East. We are talking about an area that’s about the size of the lower 48 that is east of Lake Baikal which is a famous natural attraction in Russia, curving over the border with China and extending almost to Alaska, down to Vladivostok which is just a little east of North Korea.”
“A handful of your listeners are going to do the once in a lifetime trip of the trans-Siberian [railroad] and of those only a trickle of those will make it to the far east even though that’s where the trans-Siberian ends going 9,300 km from Moscow to Vladivostok. If you keep going east of Lake Baikal into towns that were built just to justify a railroad out there in the tsarist era and also the soviet era you have these towns that were created to look like European towns. It’s Russia at its edge.”
Robert draws us into his adventures in the Russian far east with tales of shirtless adventure guides standing on snow-covered volcanoes, beautiful geologists that now run Italian restaurants, grandmothers offering you tomatoes and cucumbers from their gardens as they share a compartment with you on the railroad, and people searching all over town to find the rumored visitor from the U.S.
Robert drinks vodka with strangers, takes a steam and is beaten with birch branches with the locals, and visits the remote hometown of actor Yul Brynner. Robert does not describe a country that is easy to see or necessarily always approachable, but one that can still be seductive. Learn why Robert has “Russia Love”.
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