Archives for 


A star of this list soon to move to Russia!

Looks like this super fellow, first a client and now a good friend of mine, is moving to Russia in the very foreseeable future.  An Australian of Singapore descent. An artist by calling and education, an electrician by trade, and a fan of antique cars. This time my mission is to set him up with a job immediately as he lands.

photo        firebird
That’s John and his 1969? Ford Firebird more →

Camping trips

Gold Ring tours, Winter is the Soul of Russia (c) and Russian Misery Travel (c) adventures and misadventures, and as a support vehicle for horse back riding trips in the Upper Volga area, near Staritsa, Tver region. Explore the country, and at night a comfortable camp and a meal will be waiting for you.
more →

Dima from Staritsa. Fast, smooth, positive.

Young, cheerful, and just oozing with positivity. His BMW is clean inside and out, polished, vacuumed, and even perfumed. Fast yest smooth driving style. Based in Staritsa, easy access to Tver and Rzhev. Regularly travels to Moscow.

But no, I will not place you into Safe category. Sorry, Dima. It’s either safe OR fast. Can’t have both. I’m adding you to the VIP section however.  No English is no problem because a VIP client expect his driver to keep his mouth shut.

If you do insist on speed, Dima is as safe of a pick as you can make. His English is limited but given my special relationship with Dima (he took over my Horse Riding and the Dacha Experience project thus freeing me from what at some point threatened to turn into an eternal exile) I’m more than willing to act as an interpreter over the phone. more →

Alexandra N.

alexandra_n­_smAn artist, an architect, and an interior designer. Willing to act as a guide/driver in exchange for English conversation practice.  Her services used to be entirely free till recently but things here are starting to go down with people’s preference for hard cash rather than generosity and informal barter deals as one of the consequences.  Now compensation in the form of a tank of gas will be gratefully accepted. Alexandra’s everyday English is passable. It is no longer a form of torture to talk to her and especially her son who used to talk in long convoluted sentences sort of the way I do. I took the brunt of it and now his style is short simple and to the point.

This offer is for talkative people only!


More about Alexandra from one of the older pages

First, don’t confuse her with another Alexandra listed here. That other Alexandra works at the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve, travel around the north a lot, and in the process of dragging me to beyond the arctic circle. 

Back to Alexandra-the-artist. As an artist she specialized in the restoration of medieval paintings and especially Orthodox icons. Alexandra’s interests include old towns. A good person to travel around Gold Ring or to go to Staritsa, where she has a dacha. A fast confident driver. “Respectable” car although at the time I don’t know what it is and don’t have a photo. Something nondescript and modern.


Here this professor’s daughter and an artist put on the image of a tough truck driver. To me, after 10 years of rural exile, this is more of a shift supervisor at a dairy kolkhoz.

Since 2010 she was on my list of those seeking free English conversation practice in exchange for being a guide and a driver. Our relationship started with my teaching English her and her son. I always insist on conversation practice with a variety of people to compliment lessons. They complied and now speak quite well if you stick to everyday topics. Now, in these tougher times, when oil prices are about to drop and Russia, with its resource-dependent economy,  is beginning its descent to hell, she can no longer afford to take a day off work with no financial compensation. You’ll need to at least fill her car up. Think of her as a driver with a huge discount, about 50% off going rates. Since the idea for taking $$ for driving is below Alexandra, who till recently was doing very well, I will not release her e-mail but will personally administer requests for her services and monitor that you cover direct costs.

So write to and I’ll immediately relay your message to Alexandra but will also monitor the situation.