Next Destination: Russia (Fingers Crossed)
Ever have a place that just calls to you? The one that whispers your name and tempts you to buy that plane ticket or book that hotel? Russia is that place for me. I’m not even sure why Russia has snuck to the top of my “where to visit” list. (As far as I know, I have no connection to it ancestry-wise.) But I’ve since stopped questioning it and jumped into research. (Hello! Lawyer and writer here!) So today I’m sharing some of the spots I’d love to visit there when I have a chance:
- The Winter Palace – Think of that famous scene in the animated movie Anastasia where the adolescent grand duchess is dancing in the ball. The opulence, the decadence, the glowing lights and laughter of the beautiful dancers. It’s all part of the tragic story of a fallen empire and a family that was brutally slain at the beginning of a social revolution. (http://stpetersburg-guide.com/history/winterpalace.shtml)
- Lake Baikal – the oldest freshwater lake in the world. It’s between two plates that are pulling apart and it will someday be a brand new ocean! (http://www.lakepedia.com/lake/baikal.html)
- Yekaterinburg – This is apparently a very quirky town and they have a huge monument in the ground that is essentially a keyboard — like the kind you find on your computer. I’m not kidding! (http://snarkynomad.com/places-to-visit-in-russia/)
- Basil’s Cathedral – The iconic association of Russia worldwide is always linked to the beautiful onion style domed architecture. I find it fascinating and beautiful and would love to see it up close. There’s no better place to do that than St. Basil’s. Urban folklore says that Ivan the Terrible, who commissioned it to be built, had the builders blinded so they could not build anything as beautiful ever again! (http://www.moscow.info/red-square/st-basils-cathedral.aspx)
- Hermitage Museum – It is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world (and technically part of the Winter Palace) and founded by Catherine the Great — one of my favorite historical figures. (I actually dressed up as Catherine in my high school for a historical roundtable discussion.) The Hermitage is technically part of the Winter Palace but is the museum portion. (http://www.bestourism.com/items/di/6914?title=The-Hermitage-Museum&b=248)
I’m sure part of my fascination with Russia has to do with its rich history. The mysticism! The tragic fallen empires! The beautiful sights! They all offer so much to someone like me — who lives and breathes the stories of the past. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Russia before, be sure to leave me some suggestions!
# # #
Lauren Smith is a romance author, living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her series include The League of Rogues from Samhain Publishing, and The Surrender and Her British Stepbrother series from Grand Central Publishing. She has also written for Heroes & Heartbreakers Blog, The Daily Quirk, and Bustle. For more (including cute animal photos), follow Lauren on Twitter @LSmithAuthor or laurensmithbooks.com.