No… I could have used another word. Dacha? Vodka? Matryoshka? All valid russian words, but they don’t show the greatness of the country. The immensity. Yes, Russia is truly vast. The biggest country in the world, going from Asia to Europe, is full of contrasts. And going by train meant seeing so much landscape, meeting so many people!
I was in Russia for some days in 2010. I was much younger, and it was winter – together, it wrongly gave me a negative impression and I left the country thinking it was one of the darkest places on earth. So wrong. When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart (russian proverb)
Coming back to Russia was an eye-opening. Kazan, city of religions. Baikal lake, a magical island. Moscow, where past and future meets. Immense Siberian grassland. And its people. Going by train and sleeping in a 4 pax cabin meant talking to old russians who shared all their food with us, with young shy students who were starting to learn English, with women who wanted to learn from our cultures, and share their history. Breaking stereotypes. Definitely, this trip was about breaking stereotypes.