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?