Why Not Russia? (My appearance on Rick Steves’ radio show)


I talked about Russia, again. It’s sort of a pet project these days – defending Russia as a travel destination. But this time I did so on Rick Steves’ radio show. Listen:

This just in: Russia doesn’t always have the best reputation outside Russia.

People of a certain age (aka grew up in the “Cold War”) were seasoned to feel Russia was a cold place of cold people and gray foods. And it stuck. For whatever reason, I never listened to the hype. in high school, my year-long civics survey was on “Life in the USSR,” I studied Russian language in college, wrote about the Trans-Siberian for Lonely Planet  – and even got a New York Times article on Vladivostok in the mix. Last year, I went again – taking a river cruise with Viking from Moscow to St Petersburg, where I went on a record shopping spree.

On Rick Steves’ show, one listener called in to ask why would someone go to a nation led by someone like Vladimir Putin. Here’s basically what I said:

Hey, it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves. If we always equate a culture and a people and a place with its leader, I don’t think we’d get very far in this world. My question about Russia is the same as any destination: is what someone “knows” of a place really what the place is like?


About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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