Hello! I promise I have not forgotten about this blog. I truly love writing here, but I am learning how to consistently make time to write. I’ll get there!
Last week, I had the most amazing opportunity to go back to Moscow, Russia and show Blake where I grew up. It had been 9 years since I’d been there, and I had been longing to go back to the place I had called home for 17 years. Words cannot describe how amazing our trip was! I’m going to share a lot about the food we ate, because it was a highlight, but also because it was such a great way to experience the culture. I shared on Instagram, how special it was to be in Moscow without an eating disorder, and to be able to freely enjoy the foods I never let myself eat.
Unfortunately, Blake and I both got really sick the week before our trip, but we were on the mend when we left. Nothing was stopping us! Only 2 hours from New York City, we drove a rented car to JFK for our direct flight. The plane ride wasn’t much to talk about, although I had been craving ice cream that whole day, and was so excited when Blake woke me up when they handed out ice cream bars.
I was put to the test once we arrived, as I had to use my very rusty Russian to figure out how to get to our Airbnb. Once we finally got inside, it was so perfect! I didn’t take many pictures of the inside of that tiny studio apartment, but here’s one from the website. We absolutely loved all the windows and natural light! If you’ve never used Airbnb before, use this link to get $40 towards your first trip!
I had made a basic schedule for our 8 days in Moscow, so we wouldn’t miss a thing. Day one started off with coffee and pastries at what came to be our favorite coffee shops in the city, Double B. I went with a latte and almond croissant. Pastries in Europe are so much better than in the US! We then made our way to Old Arbat, a historical pedestrian street with shops, art, and lots of cafes. We did a lot of walking, talking, and people watching. It’s amazing how much more you notice when you don’t have phone distractions.
Still feeling under the weather and tired from our trip, we made a trip to the banya, the traditional Russian bath house. Blake went to the men’s, and I to the women’s, and I let him figure out the whole system on his own. He did a great job, and we both appreciated the relaxation. We made dinner at our flat that night – chicken stir-fry with eggplant, tomatoes, onions, garlic, lots of herbs and brown rice. It was nice to have the option to eat at home on occasion.
Day 2 started with breakfast at home – fruit, scrambled eggs with herbs, a bulochka (Russian sweet bread), and coffee. Fueld and rested, we headed to my first home in Moscow, Konkova.
This spot is where I spent my childhood, and the highlight was the expansive forest across the street from our apartment. I had so much fun taking Blake down the paths we walked and cross-country skied, the hills we sledded down, and the lake where Russians would polar swim in the winter.
We stopped for a picnic lunch full of the best of Russian ingredients. Fresh nareznoi (bread), cheese, ham, cucumbers, and cherries (bought from a small stand outside the Metro). We walked and walked as I reminisced.
We had time after Konkova, so we made our way to Universitet to pick up circus tickets for later that week. We were exhausted after all the walking, so we stopped at a coffee shop for coffee and a sweet. This ended up being one of our favorite traditions on the trip. Free from the distractions of our phones or places to be, we dreamed and thoroughly enjoyed our coffee and tvorog cheesecake.
The plan was to go to Lepim i Varim, for dinner. By the time we got there, we were so tired. I don’t track steps normally, but I looked at my phone and saw we had walked about 10 miles that day! No wonder we were tired. Dinner was perfect. Authentic and fresh pelmini (Russian dumplings) and salads. They had the traditional pelmini flavors as well as some unique flavors. We shared a bowl of traditional pork and beef pelmini served with sour cream and a bowl of chicken, parmesan, and basil pelmini. Both were so good!
Stay tuned for Part II of our trip!