The Roof of the World

The Pamir mountain range and the Wakhan Valley are some of the most remote and mysterious places in the world.  There are more books written about the explorers, spies, conquerors, and kings who trod this area than one can read in a lifetime. It’s home to yaks, Bactrian camel, wolves, vultures, and other animals one … Continue reading The Roof of the World


Fort Hissor

A few weeks ago our group went on a trip to Fort Hissor, an ancient site and castle that some say dates back to Cyrus the Great. When we arrived a band was playing traditional Tajik music and many families were enjoying themselves. Our tour started at the castle itself. The façade is beautiful but … Continue reading Fort Hissor

Taraz and Turkestan – Windows to Kazakhstan’s Past

From a Western perspective, Kazakhstan may come across as the “middle of nowhere”. The country is not very populous or receive much limelight in western-centric media. However, given the history of Central Asia, Kazakhstan turns out to be the middle of everything - Central Asia has long been a crossroads of civilization, a melting pot … Continue reading Taraz and Turkestan – Windows to Kazakhstan’s Past

Falling for a city

A post from RLASP Spring 2017 participant, Nadezhda Braun.

ND to St. Petersburg

A few days ago I tried to purchase a painting at an outdoor art market across the street from my apartment. Despite the variety beautiful pieces of the city, I found myself at a loss. None of them seemed to capture the light in this city that is so infatuating. How even on the cold, gray, and icy days there is still an inherent beauty in how the street lamps illuminate the snow falling. Or how the light from the sunset hits the multicolor buildings and makes them glow. The light of St. Petersburg seems to create a sense of magic and mystery.

IMG_1974 I started a habit of taking sunset pictures after this day.

It is this sense of magic that makes St. Petersburg, and in turn, the Russian language and culture, so fascinating for me to learn about. It is a language, contrary to popular belief, of love, life…

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Places To Visit In St. Petersburg: Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery

A typically untraditional place to visit in Saint Petersburg is the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery (Пискарёвское мемориа́льное кла́дбище), located further away from the center of Saint Petersburg. In order to get there you will need to take both the metro and the bus. The cemetery contains almost 500,000 Russians in 186 mass graves who died during … Continue reading Places To Visit In St. Petersburg: Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery

How to Make the Most of your Time in St. Petersburg: 8 Recommendations

1. Explore the neighborhood you live in and don’t only stay on Nevsky Prospect. While there are many incredible things to see along Nevsky Prospect, the main drag, staying off Nevsky will allow you to see other attractions without the crowds of foreign and domestic tourists as well as helping to improve your Russian, as … Continue reading How to Make the Most of your Time in St. Petersburg: 8 Recommendations

7 Lessons in 7 Days: My First Week in Russia

DAY 1: Finally, I’m in St. Petersburg -- the moment I’ve been waiting for! After how many years, I am finally here. However, it’s hard to know what to think after being in a plane for 15 hours. It’s hard to know how to take in all the Cyrillic alphabet that surrounds me as I … Continue reading 7 Lessons in 7 Days: My First Week in Russia

Nights at the Museum: Finding Family

People come to Russia for unique reasons. Everything here is too complicated, twisted, fifty shades of gray plus fifty thousand more colors you can’t see, for someone to come just “to enjoy.” The snow doesn’t stick: it’s wet and dirty. The air is black and it always feels like one o’clock in the morning. However, … Continue reading Nights at the Museum: Finding Family