Life’s A Birch

DSCF1055 (Copy)The Trans-Siberian is a journey that everyone knows about, but few have taken. It’s steeped in romantic intrigue, crossing land that to western minds is about as remote and far away as it is possible to get. For many who take the journey however, it is just a way to get from A to B. Continue reading


Russian Ark to Gorky Park

DSCF0913 (Copy)Less an iron curtain and more of a veil these days, nonetheless there are distinct differences to the rest of Europe once you land in what once called itself the USSR (or CCCP if you are being pedantic). Not least of these is the Soviet levels of service that greet you in the (greying, crumbling) airport at St Petersburg. “Hey. You. Look at camera”. I look at the camera. She raps impatiently on the glass to my right. Am I supposed to not look at the camera now? Ah, it seems I am to look at her so she can ascertain I am who I say I am according to my passport photo. I pass muster. I get the stamp, the sound of which echoes around the terminal. “NEXT!” Service with a smile is a phenomenon that did not make it in to the approved government processes once Glasnost took effect. Continue reading