Russia Reveals Herself in Layers

The onion domes and unique architecture are some of my favorite things about Russia, a place that I always welcome returning to and that’s near to my heart. Moscow and imperial St. Petersburg —some of the most unique and colorful of the world’s great cities—are filled with artwork and historical artifacts at every turn. And that includes underground, too, where the gilded ceilings, chandeliers, and stained glass on the Moscow Metro never fail to impress. (I can’t imagine any public transportation in the States being quite so exquisite!) A visit to Russia is filled with eye-opening experiences; discovering them is like carefully peeling back layers of an onion. I think of it like matroyshka, the country’s famous wooden nesting dolls, because there’s a surprise inside of each.

Deby Weinstein agrees with me. This month’s Traveler Story features her “layering” tale—the 7-time traveler managed to take just one carry-on bag on our Russia Revealed river cruise! She shares her packing strategy, highlights of her cruise, and how she celebrated her 69th birthday with us. For those of you who forget to pack a thing or two, you could try visiting one of my favorite shopping highlights in Russia—GUM department store in Moscow. Nearly barren just a decade ago, today it is filled with regional treasures, gleaming evidence of Russia’s resurgence. Nothing is quite as inspiring as reinvention, whether it’s a person, or place. Over the years, Russia has revealed herself to me like the layers of its ubiquitous and enchanting matroyshka. I hope you, too, get to experience Russia’s charms and treasures.

Is there a souvenir or piece of art that reminds you of your favorite trip? I’d love to hear from you—email me at