spent over four months in Russia in 2001, researching the
second edition (the previous edition dates from 1993) of the
Traveler's Russia Companion.
travelled from the European North and St. Petersburg down
to the south and the Caucasus, from Pskov in the west to Vladivostok
and Kamchatka in the east.
acerbic Marquis de Custine remarked (it's among the nicer
things he had to say on his travels in the mid-nineteenth
century), "Russia is a country where everyone is part
of a conspiracy to mystify the foreigner." I agree wholeheartedly.
But then, everyone loves a good conspiracy theory...