On the Road

The Trans-Siberian Railway—And Me.

In the Kremlin armory, there’s an ornately crafted Faberge egg, given by Nicholas II to his wife Alexandra. It celebrates the Trans-Siberian Railway, which was a project under Nicholas’s leadership when he was Tsarevich. Inside the egg is a minute replica of the royal train. While the real train wasn’t made out of silver, I’m […]

What Do You Think of When You Think of Siberia?

One of the most frequently asked questions put to me by Russians during my time here is: “what stereotypes do Americans have about Russia?”. Then, before I can give an answer, they list the things that they’ve heard we think about them: bears in the streets, everybody drinks vodka, it’s always cold, and Siberia is […]

Siberian Foods

During our week and a half in Siberia, we got to experience a very different part of Russia from the metropolis of Moscow. We traveled throughout Buryatia and to Irkutsk in a bus, visiting as many places of interest as we could. With this different setting came a very different routine and diet for us. […]

Zoom Bump Bounce

Zoom Bump Bounce

A trip to Buryatia, Siberia (see feature image) is incomplete without spending hours upon hours bumping and bouncing in a bus. A bus takes you through multiple climates, ecological zones and types of existence. After nine days of long bus rides, one day of which eleven hours were spent on the bus, I gained an […]

Russian Identity

Our coupe on the Trans-Siberian. Owen Yager photo I’m starting to write this post on the first morning of a train ride that will take us from Irkutsk, on the western shore of Lake Baikal, to Moscow. We got on this train some twelve hours ago; in total, we will be on this train for three […]

What is a Buuza?

On the southern and eastern shores of Lake Baikal is the Republic of Buryatia, one of the subjects of the Russian Federation.  The Buryat people are closely related to Mongolians, so much so that Mongolians refer to Buryats as Russian-Mongolians.  Buryatia has its own distinct language, culture, and history, distinct from other nearby tribes and […]

Khramy – Places of Worship and Museums

Everywhere you go in Russia, there are khramy.  In Russian, this word means “place of worship” and is differentiated from the word for church or cathedral because one khram can contain multiple chapels or churches, as St. Basil’s on Red Square does.  Many have onion domes and bell towers to distinguish them, others are behind […]