Category Archives: Memoirs

Bells ringing in Brugge

As I was posting one of my favorite pictures from Brugge, I was reminded of one of the most vivid travel memories I have from anywhere. At least when it comes to aural sense.   On our very first trip to Brugge, climbing its grand tower (featured on this blog before) was one of the

Read More

A meal unlike any other

Imagine yourself, if you would, sitting on a terrace overlooking an amazing landscape. We will tentatively pin the place as a hamlet alongside Amalfi Coast, but it might as well be Albaicin in Granada, Amboise in Loire Valley, or any number of other places. The grand view is not a mandatory attribute – if all

Read More

Travel memories: I once bought a painting

We never pass up a chance to walk through a street market. Sampling foodstuffs, stopping to admire craftsmanship, checking out odd or antique objects on display – there is little in the form of free entertainment that beats that experience. Yet, we practically never buy anything, not being much into collecting things that we probably

Read More

Travel anecdotes: Getting gas on a Sunday

Driving around the country in between sightseeing stops is one of my most favorite traveling pleasures. Pastoral landscapes aside, you can truly experience a foreign country only when you get away from its obvious touristy spots. And getting lost – figuratively speaking, of course, – on some back roads is the surest way to achieve

Read More

YouTube’d memories: Hafanana

Sometimes, the most insignificant of memories lodge themselves in one’s brain… I must have been four or five when I overheard my Mom and her girlfriends discussing comparative qualities of foreign singers who appeared on the Soviet state TV. I cannot recall anything from that conversation except the consensus that nobody moved onstage quite like

Read More

Travel anecdotes: Know your huevos

After penning my first entry in this series, I realized that we suffered through too many comical miscommunication situations in non-English-speaking restaurants, from randomly choosing a toast spray in a Parisian café and ending up with honey (which I can’t stand) to trying in vain to find something – anything! – that we could recognize

Read More

Of scars

Tania asked during my recent attempt at a Q&A session: [What] interesting scars [do you have] and how you got them? I don’t have much to flaunt in this regard, to be honest. I am only aware of two scars on my entire body, both of which were acquired by the time I was barely

Read More

YouTube’d memories: Voyage Voyage

Another one of those huge Euro-hits of the late 80’s that were so popular in our discotheques. And another one of one-song performers for me… The song obviously speaks to my wanderer inclinations. You could guess that even if your knowledge of French does not go far beyond the title…     Sergej Minaev (who

Read More

YouTube’d memories: Caribbean Blue

Half a year or so into my American immigrant life, I earned enough money through a couple of small jobs to splurge on my very own CD-playing boombox. Lured in by the infamous “12 CDs for the price of 1” offer, I then joined BMG Music Service (which I accidentally learned is ceasing operation this

Read More

YouTube’d memories: Crazy For You

Continuing with musical genres other than pop or rock (the last installment was classical waltz, remember?), another frank admission: I am very partial to stage musical. In years living in or near the New York City, I’ve seen probably fewer musicals than my natural inclination suggests, but still a fair share. We went to a

Read More

Greasing my way on Russian Airlines

That day which started with my infamous detention for video-taping local police headquarters, continued with various amusements on my subsequent trip home1. I was already well-conditioned to the pervasive expectation of monetary “incentives” exhibited by everybody in the service sector. Truth be told, with the exchange rate of about 25 rubles to a dollar, I

Read More

YouTube’d memories: Strauss’ waltz

I like classical music. Johann Strauss is one of my favorite composers. This entry was meant to be filed under “Musical Tiramisu” series – my disposition always improves upon hearing a few notes of a Strauss’ waltz. But there is a clear mental picture that often pops into my head when I’m listening to a

Read More