Reflections on Travel to Russia

One of the Kremlin cathedrals

This week, we saw Russia invade Ukraine and Delta end its partnership (at least for now) with Aeroflot. I have a connection to Ukraine as my great grandmother Yetta was born in Odessa in 1890 before moving to England as a young child. Watching the Ukrainians fight for their country has been both heartbreaking and inspiring. The news this week made me think about our trip to Russia (on Aeroflot) just a few years ago.

In 2016, my wife and I planned a Baltic cruise (well, I planned it and she came along). When I went to book the flights to catch the ship (departing from Stockholm and returning from Amsterdam), the only flights I could find with SkyMiles (which is all we had to use back then before I got heavily into transferrable points) were from Atlanta to Moscow via London. So, we applied for Russian visas and flew Atlanta to London on Virgin Atlantic and London to Moscow on Aeroflot. We spent a few days in Moscow before flying to Stockholm (on Aeroflot again) and meeting the Celebrity Solstice. The cruise also stopped in St. Petersburg, Russia for three days.

Moscow was amazing. The people were much friendlier than I expected and the food was pretty good too. It was really incredible to stand in Red Square and look at those iconic buildings we remembered from the TV news in the 70’s and 80’s at the height of the cold war.

St. Petersburg was also great and very different. It had more of a European feel compared to Moscow. With our Russian visas, we were able to explore a bit more compared to the usual tours that cruise passengers have to take.

After the trip, I wanted to return in the winter before our visas expired, but could not make it happen. I’ll provide a link to the trip report in my Lazy Sunday post tomorrow. For now, I wish for a quick end to this war and I hope we can return to Russia someday to visit again,

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