Vadim's Travel Scrapbook
This page is under construction
Here is the
map of most places I've been in the Old World. UTexas has a
collection of maps for CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).
When I lived in Soviet Union they wouldn't let me travel outside the country.
But the country itself was huge Universe. From Western countries of Baltics to
old Muslim world of Uzbekistan. From ancient Gregorian Orthodox churches in
Armenia to the greatest Russian Orthodox church Pokrova-na-Nerli. It all was
reachable, and I saw it all.
- 1961-1976 Every Summer I spent at my grandparents' in wonderful
town of Rechitsa(52.22N 30.25E). It was known from
IX century as a big trading center on Dniepr river for few hundreds
years. I proudly found it on early medieval maps in Florence, which
didn't mention Moscow, and definitely didn't show Americas. Later it
became a shtetl. Last years it was devastated by
Chernobyl nuclear accident. Usually my travels to Rechitsa
included Bobrujsk (53.09N 29.15E)and
two towns quite prominent in East European Jewish folklore.
- 1964 My parents took me to Odessa(46.28N 30.44E),
the beautiful (supposedly) city on the Black Sea. I don't
have any recollections of this trip whatsoever.
- 1973 My first visit to Moscow
(55.45N 37.35E). I've
been to Moscow dozens times after that. I have strange love/hate
relationship with this city. I love some of its old and new
architecture, I love Moscow theater scene, some of my relatives
and friends are Moscovites; but I hate dirt, and noise, and weather,
and rush, and thousands of other things about this city.
- 1974-1980 Almost every Summer I went to Lake Naroch
(54.50N 26.45E), beautiful lake among beautiful Belarusian forests.
- 1975 My first visit to Leningrad
I've been there few times after that, and I can say that I love this
city. For some unknown reason I still feel it's spirit. I guess, it's
just my imagination.
- 1976 My first trip to
(Odessa belongs to Ukraine, but it
would be a big stretch to say that it's Ukrainian city). Nice town
of Kanev (49.42N 31.29E), and a trip up the Dniepr river to
- 1977 Riga (56.57N 24.06E) - capital of
Brest (52.06N 23.42E) - the city on the border
with Poland, Vitebsk (55.12N 30.11E), and Mogilev (53.56N 30.18E)
(N E) - thus finishing my acquaintance with all
administrative centers of
- 1978 Kaliningrad (54.43N 20.30E) former center of East
Prussia, known for centuries as Konigsberg.
- 1979 Vilnius (54.41N 25.19E) and
Kaunas(54.54N 23.54E) of
; once again
Riga (56.57N 24.06E); and Tallinn(59.25N 24.45E) - capital of
My first visit to Transcaucasia was to Baku -
- 1980 Cruise on Volga river. It was
unforgetable experience. Russian Orthodox churches, always on the high bank of
the river, always appearing unexpectedly on the river turns. Old and
new towns and cities like
Yaroslavl (57.37N 39.52E),
Astrahan(46.21N 48.03E). These are essence of
You can't claim seeing Russia if you only saw Moscow and Leningrad.
- 1981 Mt. Dombai (43.14N 41.46E) in the Northern
- 1982-1987 I repeatedly traveled in Transcaucasia
, especially I loved to visit
I have personal friends there, and its history and architecture were
very interesting to me.
I've been to Yerevan (N E) - the
capital laying at footstep of Mt. Ararat. I visited
Gregorian churches built in V century, and new towns (before they were
destroyed by 1988 earthquake). I've been to Nagorno-Karabah
when it was called showcase of friendship between Armenian and Azeri peoples.
I lived in the house of my friend in Echmiadzin -
the spiritual center of all Armenians. The house wasn't too big for
some 20 people-strong extended family of my friend. Two years later this house
became shelter for some 20 more people fleeing earthquake and war.
I read nameplates in apartment buildings in Baku
and was amazed by mix of Azeri, Armenian, Jewish, and Russian names. It
In Tbilisi it felt like the city never saw any weapon
but decorative old daggers. I can't believe images of the city destroyed
by civil war.
I am not going to visit again Transcaucasia in my lifetime. I want to keep it
beautiful in my memory.
- 1985 Crimea Mountains backpacking from
Simpheropol (N E) to Yalta (N E) to
Sebastopol (N E) on Crimea Peninsula.
- 1986 Caucasus Mountain mountain tour. It was
my highest ever mountain climbing - 11000 feet at Geze Vtsek summit.
From Nalchik (N E), to Gori (N E) - birthplace of Josef
Stalin, and only place which has his sculpture (all towns, and
villages, and public schools, and factories, and hospitals, and so on
used to have at least one sculpture of the teacher of all peoples
for all times before 1960's). And then down to
Poti (N E) on the Black Sea - the final destination of
Oddysseus voyage; and to Batumi (N E) -
the only sub-tropical region in
and all Former Soviet Union.
- 1986 I traveled to Siberia. I flew to Irkutsk, spent
some time on Angara river, and three great days in the
wilderness on the shore of Lake Bajkal - the deepest
lake on the Earth. I took the train back to Europe and visited
Novosibirsk and Sverdlovsk.
- 1987 was my last great adventure in the Soviet Union. I went to
and visited the capital city of Tashkent and great
old Muslim cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.
I saw great mosques and palaces built by Gengiz Khan.
Some places I've been to in last 6 years. (Look here for more later.)
Last updated: 12-03-94