RUSSIA

I had been to St. Petersburg before and it’s -together with Istanbul- one of my favourite cities, but I had never been to Moscow. Because Nikita is Russian, so “Mother Russia” and all that, but mainly because it was his dad’s birthday, I fifth-wheeled along when he went to Moscow –I thought it would be cool to take the chance and see it through the eyes of locals.

Leonid is an absolute culture-phil, an impressive photographer and one of the kindest and most positive people I met. In that, except the “impressive photographer” part, he reminds me very much of my own dad. At least now I know where Nikita has that unbreakable smile from. Then of course there is Tatjana, who holds all (but with a preference for Leonid) our feet to the ground and indulges with her tender painting and fantastic food, even though she absolutely will force to you eat until the end of times.(Leonid and Tatjana also give some great pieces of advice if you need to take out your wisdom teeth, like me.) After some days in Moscow getting some insight into its history and visiting a beautiful orthodox monastery, we had a long trip to the Datcha by the lake just outside of the city. There Leonid, Tatjana, Costa and even Nikita’s grandmother proved to me that they definitely knew more about Italian singer-songwriter than I will ever know. Ah, and also that Vodka works as main ingredient for soup, cakes, sides and basically anything edible.

That’s the unbreakable smile.

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On a bridge in Moscow city.

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My first time in an orthodox monastery:

The main church.

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A picture Leonid took of another part of the monastery. Nikita was playing poker face.

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An orthodox priest.

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Me pretending to interpret some iconographies.

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Nikita and Leonid in the orthodox shop inside the monastery.

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Leonid discussing about something I will now call cider, which they produced in the monastery and sold in the shop.

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Nikita in his grilling pose (please notice the sandals with socks). In the back, the lake during twilight. Invisible, but omnipresent, mosquitos that will bleed you white.

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Evenings.

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Practicing my reading skills.

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Leonid teaching me how to cook.

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Waterlilies! During my time in China we used to eat lotus, which is the same. Tatjana and Leonid were a bit incredulous, and Nikita definitely just pretended to believe me, as always.

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Some pictures of when we cycled to the closest store.

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