Thursday, October 20, 2016

Stolovaya: the student cafeteria

This post is either going to make you ravenous or revolted, because today we're going back to the столовая, cafeteria. The stolovaya seems to be a love-or-hate affair for most people. Which side are you on?

Stolovaya at Lobachevsky University in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

I'm a lover.

Sure, occasionally comes a day when there's just nothing good out- you're picking at some wilted cabbage and overcooked cutlets- but most of the time, the stolovaya is the best place to eat well + cheap. We never ever said no to a stolovaya in Ukraine (especially the overlooked ones!) and so I was psyched to be eating once a day at Lobachevsky State University's stolovaya in July.

Here's an example of a typical meal in the student cafeteria.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Three fall scenes in Portland

It's disgustingly beautiful around town already. Everywhere! Ugh!

South Park Blocks.

(Also, disgustingly beautiful in autumn but not nearby-
the streets of Kharkiv and this national park near Arkhangelsk.)

If you need a Portland fall adventure list, here are three spots to get you started...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Nizhny Novgorod cable cars

Of all the cable car rides in the world, Kharkiv's cable cars were just named one of the world's ten best cable car rides! I knew you could do it, Kharkiv!! :D

And so, today, let's look at a cable car ride that didn't make the cut...

... the 13-minute ride between the city of Nizhny Novgorod and the suburb of Bor, Russia.

This was another afternoon excursion in our summer language program. I loooooove cable cars solely based on a dozen rides in Kharkiv and one ride on a line in Odessa. The cable car in Nizhny Novgorod looked like a much bigger deal from the get-go. Just take a look at the platforms-

Monday, October 3, 2016

Volga (not Volga) Cruise

Of all the afternoon excursions in the Russian summer school program, the most anticipated one was the 'Boat Trip on the Volga River'. Doesn't that just sound cool? Who wouldn't want to go on a boat trip, and one that might actually be a booze cruise at that? And maybe a little bit educational too, if someone were to point out certain sights?

Well, spoiler alert: I slept through most of the cruise. And there was no drinking on the boat!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Matryoshka Haul

I'm always trying to get closer and closer to minimalism. In our eleven years together, the question I ask my husband the most is probably, Do you think we have more stuff or less stuff than we used to have? But there are two "weaknesses" that often accompany an interest in the Russian language- a love of teas and matryoshka dolls- that make me forget all about minimalism. And so...

Welcome to this summer's matryoshka haul :)

These little (or not so little) dolls were everywhere in Russia!

The bill was tucked away inside this doll.

Despite seeing them everywhere, people were quick to say that only tourists would buy the souvenir dolls. The university gave us basic matryoshkas on the first day of classes and then had us paint our own dolls on the last day. Those are the only traditional matryoshkas I brought back. The souvenir I gave to my uncle, the handpainted mess I hid on D's desk. As much as I love matryoshkas, they don't... do anything. The minimalist in me thinks they're dust collectors. But if it's a "useful" object with a matryoshka on it- in that case, all bets are off. Let's shop!

#1. Matryoshka apron. I love this thing. It came from a gift shop in Kazan and it fits cafeteria-style, so I can pretend to be slaving away in a stolovaya when cooking in my own kitchen. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

September Snapshots

This month D has gone back to making borsch, and we've been hitting up the farmers market on the weekends.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How to spend 3 days in Kharkiv?

Kharkiv friends- your suggestions are needed! This intrepid traveler is headed to Ukraine and has a little bit of time to explore Kharkiv. Megan Starr is no newbie to Ukraine. She wrote a fantastic intro to Dnipro earlier this year, a craft beer guide to Kyiv this July, and... well, you should just check out all her Ukraine posts here ;) I'm psyched that soon she'll be experiencing Kharkiv, since it is (of course) the coolest city in Ukraine!

But now, how to prove it? What's the best way to be blown away by Kharkiv in just a few days? Below is how I remember my favorite city walking route, split into two days. What else would you recommend?

Спасибо, дякую, and thank you!!! :D

Day 1: