“For most of my travels I have been under the influence of alcohol. In my defence, I had to be: by a very fortunate twist of fate, I once worked as an analyst in the wine and spirits industry.
Covering the Eurasia region I travelled to several countries to discover what – and how much – the people in this part of the world drink. I learned that a country’s choice of tipple always reveals something great about their culture. Behind the data and numbers in my reports were hundreds of stories – not to mention some delicious memories”. … More Tipsy travels: a tour of Eurasia’s favourite drinks – Bradt Guides
After two years studying in England I thought my Russian was fluent. Trying to talk to people in Yaroslavl I quickly realised I understood almost nothing. The teachers at the school got me speaking with more confidence, and I topped up my vocab by listening to Yulia Savicheva and Zemfira on my walkman as I wandered through the streets. I spent a lot of time wandering: at home Tamara Aleksandrovna, the formidable babushka whose spare room I slept in, fed me spaghetti with tangerines in warm milk, and once cut my bath towel into pieces. … More How Russians changed my life – Russia Beyond
*** JC: This story ‘Wonder and reflection in the Russian Arctic’ was published in the December 2020 issue of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s magazine, The Geographer. The Royal Scottish Geographical Society is a fantastic organisation; learn more about the RSGS on its website, and read previous editions of The Geographer online here. *** I … More Wonder and reflection in the Russian Arctic
Georgia was ranked the fourth-safest country in the world in 2020 by the quality of life researchers Numbeo, and this is how it feels. The internet is great in Tbilisi – and in the second city, Batumi on the Black Sea – but disappears elsewhere. I learned this the hard way, when I went hiking in the Caucasus Mountains for the weekend, got avalanched-in, and went AWOL from work for two days. … More Working remotely from Georgia – Lonely Planet
St. Petersburg is a gorgeous – and surprisingly boisterous – city full of mesmerising art, impressive history, and unforgettable hospitality. It is one of the world’s great cities. But a trip to Russia can still seem daunting. Luckily for travellers for whom the Winter Palace, Hermitage Museum and Mariinsky Theatre have felt out of reach, Europe’s fourth-largest city is becoming much more accessible. … More 2021 travel guide to St. Petersburg, Russia
It was lunchtime at Chorsu Bazaar, and the wooden benches of the choykhona were filling up with hungry families. The room was dark from the smoke of cigarettes and shashlyk. I took a space opposite an older middle-aged couple, sitting with a boy of about six. … More A miracle in Tashkent