Where do I begin?????
Springtime in Russia is LILAC TIME. The smell of lilacs is everywhere--city and village. For me lilacs are happiness and renewal. A magnificient gift from nature and an added plus for my Russian journey.
Russian hospitality is more than BREAD and SALT, so I found out rather quickly. I was one stuffed "little piggy" on this trip. As my Italian landlord continually says to me (and I ignore)--Elena, MANGIA, MANGIA. That I did for 10 days. The most delicious apple pie I ever tasted was at Nina Suloeva's home with Marina Denisenko. Not only are these women accomplished artists, but GREAT COOKS. The native Russian honey was exceptional. I do know this because I've tasted honey from many places. It beats Bhutanese, Peruvian, and Burmese.
For ten days I was a little girl in a candy store! Everywhere beautiful boxes. It was a feast for my eyes.
The accomodations were just fine. If you want to visit the villages, then you'll have to leave your American expectations home. If you can't accept this---C'est la vie.
The ARTISTS were most accomodating and pleasant. The time each one of them took to describe their work and talk with us was most appreciated. Some were shy, others quite gregarious, each very accomplished in their art. Visiting them was an awe-inspiring experience for me. I only wish I could speak Russian.
Visiting the villages for me has been a wish for 25 years. I always wondered what they looked like and how the folks lived. I love the Russian home. Cozy and warm. JUST RIGHT as Goldilocks once said. Those nouveau riche homes being built by some just don't seem to fit. I wish we could have spent more time meandering around the villages.
The Sunbird Staff was EXCEPTIONAL. You were all FUN, KNOWLEDGEABLE, ACCOMODATING, and VERY PLEASANT "DOWN TO EARTH FOLKS". I felt very comfortable. Meeting all of you was MY PLEASURE. I want to go back again with you folks.