My Russia Top 5 Lists Best Cities, best Nature, Best food, Best festivals

As usual with my country review series, I present my top 5 of different aspects of Russia. Its a great way to start planning your itinerary by seeing the highlights of my trips. Top 5 Favorite Cities 1. Novosibirsk 2. Krasnoyarsk 3. Sochi 4. Vladivostok 5. Moscow Top 5 Most Beautiful Cities 1. St-Petersburg 2. Vladivostok 3. Sochi 4. Moscow 5. Samara Top 5 Best Nature 1. Siberian Forest 2. Black Sea Coast from Krasnodar to Sochi 3. Baikal Lake and Baikal Natural Reserve 4. Altai Mountains 5. The Far East around Vladivostok Top 5 Food & Drinks 1. Borsch 2. Shashlik 3. Russian Dumplings 4. Russian Pancakes 5. Russian Salad Top 5 St-Petersburg Attractions 1. Hermitage Museum 2. Peterhof Palace 3. White Palace 4. Canals 5. Chuch of the Saviour Top 5 Moscow Attractions 1. Red Square 2. St-Basil Cathedral 3. Moscow Metro 4. […]

Read More...

3 Best Russian Itineraries You Must Do On Your Next Trip

Following my series about Russia, I describe in this article the best itineraries to be done in this vast countries, from my own experience and personal researchers while on the field, and while talking with other travelers. Itinerary 1: Moscow and around Many people will only have a week to dedicate to visiting a country. And in a country as big as Russia, that means traveling very little distances. Limiting a visit that short will constrain to focus on Moscow and St-Petersburg. This is the itinerary that I have personally done in 2010, arriving by plane in Moscow and leaving the country on the western border into Estonia. Moscow deserves 2 to 3 days to visit all of its highlights, including the Kremlin, the Red Square, and the St-Basil Cathedral. Moscow Subway is also a must, and can easily be taken to go around the […]

Read More...

The Trans-Siberian Train: The Ultimate Russian Challenge

My most recent interest since 2013 has been to dig into the cultures of the ex Soviet Union when I moved to Moldova and Ukraine for the summer 2013. Having more than 144 million native speakers, and the seventh most spoken language worldwide and especially in the 18 ex-soviet nations, I knew it would be a very useful tool for my adventures. It was especially interesting to me since I wanted to travel through the 5 Central Asian “Stan” countries, as well as in the Caucasus. So I went ahead and started learning Russian grammar and practiced through my travels and finally made it with at fluent conversational level in Russian by now. I have been back living in Ukraine for several months during the war of 2014 and after the war, back in 2016. My goal in learning the language was primarily to help […]

Read More...

World Map of the Best Quality/Price Destinations, Through the Eyes of a Man Who Visited Them All

Using leverage for your dollar in choosing your next holiday destination is super important. People sometimes focus too much on the hype from what they heard of some places without comparing them to others. An example of this is the typical holiday in Maldives or Seychelles as a beach destination. Having visited both a few years ago, I liked the islands but it definitely isn’t’ better than Thailand or beaches around  Mexico and the Caribbean. Seems like all this publicity from Hollywood movies and advertisement in Forbes magazine worked out for them as people rank them as their “dream destination” while they can do a week to Punta Cana or the Riviera Maya for a fraction of the price. Same applies for Mountain destinations… why travel to the typical Swiss mountains or Western Canada, while you can get better quality mountains in Argentina and Chile for Cheaper and […]

Read More...

Cities I’ve Been Map (188/196 Countries) – Update December 2017

Each year or so, I update my map with the app “Cities I’ve Been” app on Facebook, and have done so for the last 10 years. This was my way to track my way through the world when I was at the stage of going anywhere whenever I felt like it and wasn’t necessarily counting the countries I’ve been to. I’ve never really been a “Country Counter” until I was getting close to 150 and newspapers started asking for my current count, as well as I wanted to have a way to measure the distance I have traveled. As a world adventurer, my Travel Map is really what I am proud of, much more than my “countries Ive been” map. It is really not that really that hard anymore to travel the 196 countries as it once was with all the flights getting cheaper. There […]

Read More...

Visiting Angola – One of my Favorite Cities in Africa (my 188/196 country visited)

Angola was my last country of the 5 Portuguese colonies in Africa after Sao Tome and Principe, and I would have come much earlier if t wasn’t for the exhaustive visa procedures that are so hard that I had to wait to my 188th country to pay it a visit. Fortunately for my arrival, I had some contacts to receive me. Some Angolan friends from 5 years ago when I lived in Salvador de Bahía in Brazil. Young Angolan Capitan And what a reception! Thanks to my friend Karina (photo above) who warmly welcomed me with arms wide open, I had the opportunity to see Luanda as locals do it! With a carefully prepared plan she had prepared, Karina and I rumbled the capital from navigated to nearby islands, attending he nieces baptism as well as partying the night away in trendy Luanda Beach clubs […]

Read More...

3 Days guide to São Tome & Principe – (my Country #187/196)

Set as a paradise island off the coast of Central Africa, Sao Tome was long on my list of countries to visit ever since I spent time in Cabo Verde back in 2014. Caberverdian friends had told me they considered Sao Tome as their little sister country, and now I must admit that was particularly true. Both are African, both are islands, both are Portuguese colonies and are very reliant on Portugal, as I later noticed with the massive Portugues community on Sao Tome. Downtown São Tome “Viva Brazil” I was told a few times as thats where local saotomeans beleived I was from, guessing from the my accent in Portugues. To me, it was them that felt Brazilian to me… Not because of their accent (sounds much more like Portuguese from Portugal to my ear) but because of their nice little colonial capital. Sao […]

Read More...

Top Itinerary to Libreville, Gabon in West Africa – (Country Visited #186/196)

Arriving in Gabon didn’t feel too unfamiliar after being in Brazzaville for a while. Both nations are actually pretty similar economically, being two of the most developed central African Nation and even in Africa. Gabon has one of Africa’s highest GDP per Capita and it was felt as soon as I arrived at Libreville’s shiny airport, definitely an upgrade compared to most African Nations I’ve visited. Gabon enjoyed rapid growth after independence from France, mostly because of its rich resources such as diamonds and gold, but mostly Wood. But most of its economic boom has come from the oil boom which catapulted Libreville into a model African Economy where people from all over the world come to work for a high wage. As soon as I wandered around the city I could see this, with nice roads, clean streets and nice cars all over the […]

Read More...

How to Travel to the Republic of Congo – a Wedding in a Great African Family – My Country Visited # 185/196

Ahhh “Brazza la Verte”, as it was called traditionally by the French (literally, Brazza the Green). After Experiencing its big brother the Democratic Republic of Congo last week, I was happy to see this new country that was acclaimed by the French as hosting their most important city in Central Africa, separated only by the Congo river to Kinshasa which was held by the Belgians. From the corniche of Brazzaville, we can clearly see the buildings of Kinshasa with its 9 million inhabitants, making them the two closest capitals in the world. As much as there are similarities between the two countries like having basically the same people, it does feel quite different on the ground. View of Brazzaville from the Sky First, the Republic of Congo is quite definitely the most French-speaking nation I have encountered in sub-Saharan Africa, many people choosing to speak […]

Read More...

Travel Guide to Congo DRC (Zaire) – Climbing the World’s Most Dangerous Volcano – My Country #184/196

Not even two weeks since I climbed the world’s biggest crater, the Khartala in the Comoros Islands, it was now time to climb the world’s most dangerous volcano: The Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. My Legs had barely recovered from the pain of climbing the 2300 meters of the Khartala, that I now had to climb to another Summit, this time at about 3500 meters of altitude. But the reward for this second climb was unparalleled; a crater filled with a massive Lava Lake, one of the few visible in any volcano around the world and being the biggest lava lake in the world. View of Goma and Lake Kivu from the Top of the Nyiragongo Back in 2002, the Nyiragongo erupted and rivers of lava started flowing directly towards the city of Goma where I was staying, a 1 million inhabitant city and was […]

Read More...