Conclusion. Did I Find Europe in Kaliningrad Region?

What really sold Kaliningrad Region as a destination to me was its complex identity as well as the beautiful scenery without the crowds typically found in the country’s South in the summertime. I wasn’t fooling myself by expecting to be able to duplicate my European trips. I’d been thinking of ways to process this trip … Continue reading Conclusion. Did I Find Europe in Kaliningrad Region?

Kaliningrad Region. Food

The more I travel, the more I grow to appreciate being able to try new foods. Probably as you grow older (regardless of the amount of traveling experience), you learn the importance of mundane things. In my attempt to get a little taste of Europe in this complicated part of my country, I wanted to try something … Continue reading Kaliningrad Region. Food

Kaliningrad Region. Man-Made Environment

In places with such a complicated history and identity as Kaliningrad Region, little details are really important to absord and process. While traveling, you don’t normally expect wherever you are staying to be of any great significance to the place’s or region’s character unless you are specifically on the lookout for something quaint. We weren’t looking for that, but as given the current popularity of Zelenogradsk, … Continue reading Kaliningrad Region. Man-Made Environment

Kaliningrad Region. Geography

Kaliningrad Region is a Russian exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. Where do these two EU members stand in the heterogeneous unit? Before Lithuania joined the EU, it had been part of the USSR. Can this European state sitting 'on the front line between Russia and the West’ fully embrace its Europeanness? Among the other two states with the … Continue reading Kaliningrad Region. Geography

Kazan. Part 6.Travelling Way Back in Time (The Volga Bolghar). Concluding Thoughts

I am not a fan of group tours, but it is good to have somebody else take care of navigation and time management for a change. Places like the one I have visited today might need a professional tour guide to help you decipher, decode and generally make sense of what is in front of you. I could have gone to one of the neighboring republics (Mari … Continue reading Kazan. Part 6.Travelling Way Back in Time (The Volga Bolghar). Concluding Thoughts

Kazan. Part 5. Great People of Kazan: Literature, Linguistics, Politics, Science

As per usual, my last full day in a new city is about exploring some parts which seem to have been left ignored. Well, it is no wonder these are often those closest to where you stay. Kremlin Street, which is home to the government institutions, is one of them. Actually through a glass window in my apartment landing going up and down … Continue reading Kazan. Part 5. Great People of Kazan: Literature, Linguistics, Politics, Science

Kazan. Part 4. The Volga River, Music, Metrolingualism

A graffiti showing a man wearing a tubeteika (a national cap) in Tatarstan Avenue Tatarstan Avenue led me to finally see the Volga River which has a special place in the hearts of Russians. It flows entirely through Russia. I knew I had to see this national river here for the first time in my life. While a … Continue reading Kazan. Part 4. The Volga River, Music, Metrolingualism

Kazan. Part 3. On the City’s Ethnic Identity, Tatar Language, The Other Side of Kazan

I am in my room in Kremlin Street listening to some Tatar music eating another new type of the locally made chakchak. Why is it we want to listen to national music to get us closer to the place we are visiting (that now I seem a bit more knowledgeable about)? There is this amazing ethnic song by a young Tatar … Continue reading Kazan. Part 3. On the City’s Ethnic Identity, Tatar Language, The Other Side of Kazan