As a pre-teen living in Washington D.C., I had loved the frequent trips to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum with my dad. We went almost every time friends visited. Over the course of three years in the late eighties, I possibly visited it 12 to 15 times. Not once did I not get excited at the prospect of a new visit.

A few days ago, on the facebook feed of a friend who happened to be traveling in Moscow, I...

The boys diligently followed us through the endless galleries of the Hermitage yesterday, even though the art on display did not thrill them. To repay their patience, we decided to reward them with a visit to the funky and kid-friendly Museum of Zoology this morning.

Adjacent to its more famous sister museum, the Kunstkamera, Peter the Great founded it in the early 18th century with a similar purpose: hosting the rich...

August 1, 2017

Just when the boys thought we could simply not visit another museum, we woke up on day four and told them we would be visiting the Hermitage. Like many museums around the world it is closed on Mondays and we therefore suffered the consequences of going there on a Tuesday. Though if you continue reading you will find the crowds were even worse when we walked past on Thursday.

After we made our way through the maze...

After yesterday’s seven hour-long hike through the city, we opted for a lazier mode of exploration. We took the metro again to Saint Petersburg’s busiest street, Nevsky Prospekt, and boarded a hop-on-hop-off red bus where we proceeded to buy a family day-ticket allowing additional passage on boats that tour the city’s many canals and rivers. Not only is this option less tiring on little legs, it is fun and informativ...

The three-hour time zone and 24-hour journey from Abidjan to Saint Petersburg meant we all slept in a bit (9am in parenting terms is midday) before venturing down to the nearest metro station, Fruzenskaya. Gorkovskaya metro station, which is where we aimed to start the walking tour we had discovered in the hotel guide, was four stops away and our first introduction to the Russian ‘underground.'

 

As the train doors ope...

I have waited months to be able to use the Bond cliché and now that I can, I will have to find the will power to not give every blog post written in Russia the same title. We arrived in Saint Petersburg via Dubai from Abidjan earlier today. It was not the grand entry we had initially planned for the Russia leg of our trip: riding into Moscow from the far eastern city of Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian railway. Yet...

October 13, 2016

It has been a topsy-turvy week in Johannesburg. We pulled in to the Melville house of our Capetonian buddies, Shaheen, Dominique, Dean and Mika on Friday October 7th, delighted to trade the impersonal lodgings of the road for homely comforts and the warmth of friendship.

Our car is still stuck in Nelspruit, awaiting repairs, and Leanne is due to spend four days covering a high-profile court case in Port Elizabeth for...

September 29, 2016

Day 2 in the Kruger National Park is another fun chase for animals not yet seen and, particularly, the remaining three Big Five.

While Guy, binoculars at the ready, takes the game of spotting game very seriously, Max only rouses interest when an animal has already been seen, a sometimes tricky affair in dense, albeit dry, forests of bush and thorn. Since Leanne is driving, we strategically position Guy behind her to k...

September 28, 2016

It is 1 a.m. and rain is pummeling the thatched roof of our rondavel at Rio Vista Lodges in Malalane, on the outskirts of the Kruger National Park. I can’t find sleep. Images of some of the emaciated impalas, withered elephants and scrawny giraffes trying to graze among lifeless trees we saw in the park today still haunt me and it feels good to hear rain coming down.

Like the rest of the country, they too desperately...

September 12, 2016

On a slow, solar-powered internet connection at Bulungula Lodge, on the Wild Coast, I manage to get a message through to a cousin of my late maternal grandfather, who lives between Durban and London. We are headed up to KwaZulu-Natal after and I want to make sure she is around.

She is, but only on Thursday evening. We had arrived in paradise at the Bulungula River mouth a day earlier a couple of weeks ago, so leaving...

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