I’ve missed Russia – and my blog

I’m horrified to realise it’s nearly two years since I last wrote anything here.  I’ve been bogged down by other projects and preoccupations – but now I’m back, and keen to immerse myself again in my passion for all things Russian and East European.

I didn’t travel much at all during 2018. The most exciting trip was in August to Lake Maggiore in Italy for my son’s wedding.  But I have plans to go to Russia and to Finland later this year.

I did go to Russia in September 2017. Click here for the photobook I made of the trip. We had a few days in St Petersburg first and then travelled to Novgorod for a week.  Such a fascinating ancient city. Then back to St Petersburg and an excursion to Penates, the home and studio of Ilya Repin, ‘the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century’.  The village where Penates is situated is named Repino after him.  Football fans will recognise this as the place where the England team had their base during the 2018 World Cup.  I wonder if any of the players took the time to visit Repin’s inspiring estate.  I expect they went running beside the waters of the Gulf of Finland, which you can see in the last few pictures in the photobook.


At the Vitoslavlitsky open-air museum of wooden architecture, near Novgorod


Ringing the bells at midday beside the St Sophia Cathedral, Novgorod


Freshening up Lenin, Novgorod

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