Articles Tagged with travel

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Carolyn Woodruff

Today’s Ask Carolyn answers two questions about summer vacation. Our first reader wants to know what the ground rules should be for a multi-generational beach trip. Our second reader is taking the family cat for a sail.

Dear Carolyn,

I just turned in the dates for my summer vacation weeks with my sons (ages 6 and 9) to my ex. In even years I pick first by May 1. I get three total summer weeks split as two weeks and one week. Week isn’t defined, but that is another story for another day and a source of arguments. I picked Saturday to Saturday because of my beach rental for the one-week session. My two boys and I are camping in the Rockies the two-week time. Now for my questions regarding the one-week time, which I would like to do with my parents, the paternal grandparents of my children:

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Carolyn Woodruff

Caviar has never been on my list of loves before now. But, I will still be skeptical of caviar that is not fresh and more than a day old. Choice fresh Russian caviar is beluga sturgeon from Volgograd on the Caspian Sea. Taliat Tarsinov grew up there, and he is quite the expert in caviar.

At the Beluga Restaurant in Moscow with an awesome view of Red Square, caviar is expected and lavishly served. Our table of five ordered two bowls of caviar: one beluga and one a more salted sturgeon. We ate the caviar on toast points with butter and on crepes. Of course, we used the tiny individual spoons for dipping the caviar and spreading it on the toast points or crepes. I don’t have a set of these tiny spoons in my kitchen, by the way.

We had a flight of vodka shots: Putkinya, lemon, courrant, cranberry, and one more like a whiskey. Vodka is great with the caviar, but bear meat jerky also accompanied the vodka shots. Bear meat jerky tastes a lot like deer jerky and is a great compliment to vodka. Of course, we had lots of pickles also. I think the vodka is wheat based, and the Beluga Restaurant has their own brand of vodka. The Putkinya vodka was in honor of President Putin.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Dwight and I have never been known for packing light. We just finished packing and we together are just under the allotted 200 pounds of checked luggage. So what weather did we pack for:

St. Petersburg, Russia 60 degrees F in June, with nights at 52 Degrees and days at 68 degrees. It also rains 16 out of 30 days.

Moscow is slightly warmer and averages 64 degrees F in June, 72 high of the day, and nights at 55 degrees. It rains 12 days out of 30.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Muscovites in their forties are polished European dressers, and most dress codes at nice restaurants and clubs require upscale dressing and “no sports shoes.” There is quite a snobbery of sorts concerning sports shoes, and frequently you will see “no sports shoes” allowed.  This directive seems almost directed at the tendency of American travelers to wear tennis shoes at every available opportunity.  I saw no Russian in sport’s shoes or tennis shoes, but I would assume the Muscovite would wear sports shoes in the gym, although I did not actually visit a gym and I never saw one in our upscale hotel.  I, however, didn’t search for the gym because every day was quite athletic without the gym—walking, dancing….

Polished Muscovites are into name branded shoes and purses.  At the Bolshoi, I noted the lady sitting next to me carried a Channel Bag and wore the traditional Channel flat shoe, the one with the cap toe.  I noticed all around me Valentino and Dior.  It is easy to spot Valentino because of the studded detail and Dior because of the D.  I believed they were authentically dressed, and these did not appear to be “knockoffs.”  I also saw no stores or street vendors selling knock-offs.   I don’t recall seeing Tory Burch or Kors in these groups, but Kors signs were everywhere.

Let’s face it; dressing in name brands is extremely expensive, so I feel these Muscovites were sending the message that they have arrived and are successful financially.  Let’s turn a bit to the fashion of those not so middle aged and not yet established.