Horse riding near Staritsa, Tver region

Horse riding in the Upper Volga hills near Staritsa, Tver region >>

I am no longer actively involved with the project but things seem to be doing quite well without me.


Blood letting

Yes, this barbaric but sometimes effective method is still practiced and is available to the connoisseur of local peculiarities. Not as widespread as leaches though (see Leeches) which are entirely part of the mainstream. You’d need to go to the Muslim community for that. No, I will not publicly share the details for the fear of bringing trouble onto the practitioner but if you are interested I’ll provide the details. 

Your last chance to sign up for “Winter is the Soul of Russia”

The next few days is probably your last chance to sign up for a Winter is the Soul of Russia” (c) trip with elements of Misery Tourism” (c).

And dead season, when I can offer my time cheap is nearly over too. Gold Ring, Moscow to St. Petersburg, or a trip to Staritsa along the Old Riga road. It can even be done camping style to save you a bundle on hotels and restaurant meals, and of course to make it more of an “experience”. MORE>>

Camper parking in or very close to Moscow

In Sokolniki park, highly recommended if they open up this season: In English!

A compilation of resources in campers and equipped campgrounds:

A campground just north-east from Moscow:, + 7 916 117-3313. 

A campground near Sergiev Posad, on the Torbeyevo lake:, +7 495 857-3611.

All but Sokolniki cater the the local market and may not be able to easily interact with non Russian speakers.

Just a reminder that a camper can be rented from me by qualified clients. I can also arrange camping trips around Gold Ring or between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Another English conversation club, Metro Oktyabrskaya

I keep on receiving invitations to attend the English conversation club. Seems like a good way to announce yourself, meet locals, and make yourself useful. Most of these attending such events are women. If you are a Russian bride seeker I recommend you attend groups of this sort instead of questionable Anastasia socials. Here is the link:

Train-surfing still a 100R bargain


Fines and prison terms are increasing orders of magnitude. Three years ago participation in a public gathering was three hours at the police station and 100R ($3) fine. Now it can be months in prison and thousands of roubles or even dollars of fines. Display of incorrect sexual orientation turned from nothing to 5000R ($170). But there are still bargain around.  One has been brought to my attention yesterday. It is still 100 roubles to ride on top of a train or to hitch to the back. Not likely to last. Use your chance.

Russian bride seekers: try this travel companion site

Russian bride seekers may want to try this travel companion resource:  It is in Russian but my help of course is available.

As I said before and will keep on repeating, excessively direct approach has its limitations. To put it mildly. Instead, create a situation that makes its easy for Fate to work. Socialize. Offering or asking for a ride is one of many things you can try.


Russian micro-lesson:

Poputchik“ translates as “travel companion”. It consists of prefix “po” that has “together” among its meanings, “put” (“way”), and suffix “chik”, equivalent to English “-er” (traveller, player). You already know “put” from “Sputnik” (that thing that went up in flame and smoke in 1957). It was called “Sputnin” because it shares way (“put”) with earth. You know “chik” from “apparatchik”. And “po” from “pogrom” except in this case “po” implies completion, not proximity. So it turns out “poputchik” is an almost familiar word to an English speaker.

In Russian it is “попутчик”. Let’s look at the letters. Letters too should not be total strangers. П is Greek Π (pi), У formed from OU (just imagine O and U fusing to make first U with an appendage like Ц, and then this appendage growing to make modern Russian У. Т is T. Ч comes form Hebrew צ (tsade), И is again Greek  Ηη (related to Latin Hh, both of which come from Phoenician Het. K of course is same as in English.

Easy?  That’s one of the approaches use in my teaching of language. Recognized what’s already familiar. Put  an effort into leaning to access what you already know before forcing yourself to commit things to memory. 

Второе дыхание – Second Wind

2nd_windSecond Wind is still around and probably now qualifies as a cultural heritage site.

So I’m opening a separate page dedicated solely to this time warp.

It is behind Metro Novokuznetskaya. Open from 10am, when a lone alcoholic may wonder in for a hair of that dog. Full of rough looking men from 5-8pm.  Closes at 9pm I think.

Second Wind is generally acknowledged by connoisseurs of anti-glamour as the dirtiest and stinkiest of Moscow’s low-life drinking establishments. Standing room only. Hole in the floor toilet. Smoking permitted and expected. A classic.

Here is a true-to-life set of photos of Second Wind >>

My favourite places to eat and drink are here >>

Winter and snow in Soviet cartoons

While looking for inspiration to consolidate and upgrade my “Winter is the Soul of Russia” travel proposal (now scattered across several places:,, etc.) I noticed an exhibition of cartoons and movies dedicated to winter and snow.

Exhibition dates: Dec. 20 to Feb.  10 2013. Location: Solyanka Gallery, Ulitsa Solyanka 1/2, stoyeniye 2, entrance from Ulitsa Zabelina, nearest Metro Kitay-Gorod.  It is by the monument in memory of children who died in the Beslan hostage crisis in September 2004(?) that ended with the Russian military bursting in using tanks and flame rockets.


Gallery’s site: (Russian only).  Checking the site.. the gallery seems to be largely oriented towards children.

Tel.: (495) 621 5572 and 628 4109.

I’m putting the Solyanka Gallery on the list of places to visited.  You are welcomed to join.  By default Wednesdays is my going out day.