Explore Russia during your winter holidays

You’ve been to Times Square and you’ve enjoyed the blazing heat of the Caribbean for New Year’s eve and now the question is – have you even been to Moscow, Russia?

Apart from the spectacular fireworks display at midnight at the Red Square there is a list of must-do’s in Russia. And if this isn’t enough, then you must be avid traveler!

1. Ride the Troika

Troika is a sled drawn by three horses harnessed abreast. The troika was a traditional style of cold weather transportation. Passengers would bundle up in furs in the back of the sledge to ward off often dangerously low temperatures. The image of a troika often appears in folk art. You may occasionally see Russian troikas such as the one above still used as novelties

2. Traditional Russian Banya (Russian Sauna)

A tradition in the Russian culture is the Banya . It involves steam and high heat, refreshing splashes of ice cold water and beating with birch leaves and branches. The locations of the original type banyas are not easily found by foreigners, but placing a visit to one on your itinerary is highly recommended. Besides, it works wonders on your appetite, which brings us to our next traditional experience.

3. Have Borscht, Caviar with Blini and Vodka, among all else!

Russians are big on soup and what better else to try than Borscht, seen in all Western World movies as a dish depicting true Russian culture. And with good reason! It is quite a tasty beet soup served hot with a dash of sour cream you are sure to enjoy! Meals are usually served with many appetizers, cold cuts, smoked fish, pickled vegetables, marinated tomatoes and the list goes on. Caviar and blini (pancakes) is also a very popular dish. Spread a little sour cream and caviar over blini for a truly unique and tasteful experience. It is customary to serve vodka and for each of the guest to say at least one toast. Russia is the mother land of Vodka and you can even go on Vodka tasting tours. After the first bottle of Vodka is finished, the main course is served, which usually consist of potatoes mixed with dill and a meat dish such as lamb or beef stroganoff, chicken, duck or ground beef stuffed cabbage rolls.

4. Have a sit by the Samovar

After a dinner party, have a sit by the samovar. A samovar is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in Russia,and the heated water is usually used for making tea. Samovars have an attachment on the tops of their lids to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate. It is particularly well-suited to tea-drinking in a communal setting over a protracted period. The Russian expression “to have a sit by samovar” means to have a leisurely talk while drinking tea from samovar. In modern times, the samovar is mostly associated with Russian exotica and nostalgia.

You are sure to enjoy Russia in winter as much as you would in the Summer. There are many activities and destinations which are equally (if not more more) beautiful under a blanket of snow. Be sure to bring lots of warm clothing and an appetite for traditional exploration. Russia is a great tourist destination and is sure to exceed your expectations.

Your first step to traveling to Russia this winter for the holidays is setting your travel dates and getting a Russian Visa. You may apply for a Russian visa in Canada through Visa Center at 1-866-334-0811 and online at http://Russia.VisaCenter.ca

Purchasing flights and hotel arrangements can be made through your travel agent.

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