For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to see Russia. I say this realizing full well that ‘visiting Russia’ is practically impossible. The country, even reduced from its original massive USSR format, is huge. So I’ve narrowed it down to the key sites and cities and Moscow is right at the top of the list.
My love story with Moscow was first kindled by Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina – my first foray into classical Russian literature. The Red Square, the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Theatre… There’s something powerful and legendary about the history of these places that fascinates me.
The problem is the timing… as in ‘now’ is never the right time.
Budapest is as close as I’ve managed to get. It’s not that close really but you can still feel the Soviet influence as the city’s architecture speaks volumes and the citizens are still trying to get over the recent communist period.
The original travel plan was not to visit Budapest but to visit Moscow as part of an East-European tour. We had it all mapped out and it seemed like the perfect moment because Russia had just won the bid to host the 2014 winter Olympics.
With Sochi 2014, we figured they would open up to western visitors… but that turned out to be wishful thinking.
There were talks of corruption and political unrest. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem because, other than perfect siblings Norway, Sweden and Finland, every country in the world has some form of problem with corruption and political unrest. But this is Russia. This is different.
Then there was the Crimean catastrophe in 2014 at just about the same time Sochi 2014 was taking place… So that scrapped any hope of going during the actual Olympics.
2016 brought a series of issues with the Trump election and the Hilton email leaks. That means I have to start being hopeful for the upcoming years all over again.
Considering every other year brings a new relationship issue… I really don’t know if I’ll ever get to see the Red Square.
Moscow… you are on my bucket list. I don’t know when I’ll get to see you but when I do… I’m going to appreciate every second of it.