Reading about Russia: A ship and a cat in the tundra

With two trips to Russia under my belt and a lifelong fascination - thanks to my mother's own obsession with all things Russia - it's a country that, while I don't feel I want to return to in the near future, I always like to read about. Russia is such a prominent feature of the world map on our … [Read more...]

Locals I’ve met: Real life examples of why I love meeting the locals when I travel

Meeting the locals when I travel is one of the aspects of being out there that I love the most. I think it's partly because I'm insanely curious about people in general (it's a genetic trait!) and partly because over the years, meeting local people on my travels has led me on all kinds of … [Read more...]

Don’t listen to tour guides: Enjoying Yekaterinburg, Russia

When I was on my Trans-Siberian trip across Russia (if you're contemplating it - DO IT!), I stopped off at half a dozen spots along the route, turning the week-long train journey into a three week exploration. Half way through, I remember so vividly standing at the Irkutsk train station, chatting … [Read more...]

The ever-changing landscape on the Trans-Siberian train

I recently re-read some of Paul Theroux's travel narratives in preparation for the travel writing course I ran, and picked out what I considered a "beautiful" passage about his journey on the Trans-Siberian: The experience of the Trans-Siberian Express is both monotony and monkish beauty: all day … [Read more...]

The art of doing nothing on the Trans-Siberian Railway

I have heard that there are people who would get really bored if they had to sit on a train for a whole week. Really? Okay, I admit I can imagine it, but it's not the case for me. When I travelled on the Trans-Siberian railway I broke the trip up with a few stops along the way so the longest … [Read more...]

My grand Russian adventure is someone else’s summer vacation

I don't remember when I decided that one day I would just have to ride the Trans-Siberian - I really think it's something that I had in mind even before I had figured out where the Trans-Siberian actually ran. When I started planning to do some serious travel, it was high on my priority list. Then I … [Read more...]

“Art” in Vladivostok: A definite Soviet sculpture style

Landing in Vladivostok, as I've described before, was both by accident (I'd planned to start my epic train trip in China) and nearly with an accident (my hairy landing with Air Vladivostok has stayed with me - although it wasn't actually at all dangerous!). Just the same, I'm very glad I went, if … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day giveaway: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters

For many countries around the world, and here in Australia too, Mother's Day is coming up in May. And that makes it a very opportune time for me to hold a special giveaway here on Not A Ballerina. Yes, time for loyal readers to win a prize!Mother and daughter in Red SquareYou may recall that I've … [Read more...]

Moscow beauty spots (because I love Moscow)

With large-scale protests against the recent (probably fraudulent) elections in Russia, Moscow is all over the news at the moment, again. Moscow hits the headlines quite often - as you'd expect from a pretty important capital city - but so often in a negative way and people often tell me they're … [Read more...]

Russian-style trains, planes and automobiles

I really wanted to write this post to show you a couple of photos of great Russian cars that I saw on my travels, but as I sat down to type, the title just forced its way in. I haven't managed quite as many modes of transport in Russia as my friends Helen and Andy (just check their post on an … [Read more...]