Written in English, followed by Afrikaans and Sicilian.

Me in Red Square

I have just returned from a fabulous trip to Russia. I spent a few days in Moscow followed by a few more days in St Petersburg. I was in Moscow during the Orthodox Easter weekend which made it a bit more special. I bought some Kulich cake (traditional Russian Easter cake) and all around Red Square there were lots of lovely pink trees with painted Easter eggs hanging from them.

In Moscow, I visited several churches including St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, in which I was lucky enough to hear a choir rehearsing the Russian National Anthem (I love that song) and you can hear them in the background of my video. I visited the churches in the Kremlin as well as the Armory Museum which was really interesting.

Moscow by night

My final evening in Moscow was very special because I met up with Bella Devyatkina, the little Russian polyglot who speaks 8 languages. I remained in touch with her family after meeting them at LangFest. With Bella, I went on a boat trip to see Moscow by night and I got some fantastic photographs of the famous Moscow sights and shimmering skylines!

I caught the fast Sapsan train to St Petersburg and visited St Isaac’s Cathedral, the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and the Hermitage. I went to Pushkin for one day to visit two palaces belong to the Tsars and got spectacular photos both inside and outside the palaces.

Easter Trees near Red Square

I also got to try some of the local food. My favourite was the dish “vareniki” which was like dumplings with either cheese or meat, but I much preferred the sweet version with cherries served with a small jug of sour cream with a hint of sugar!

So, seen as Russian is not one of the languages I can speak, I decided to learn enough of the language to cope with my trip. When I am maintaining my existing languages, it means it’s difficult to find the time to learn new ones in-depth. However, I had a few skype lessons on  Italki starting about 5 weeks before my trip and I covered all the essential language I would need for example in a restaurant, buying gifts, asking about internet access, ordering room service and I had to use all of it!

Vareniki filled with cherries

I also practised listening to audio files outside of my lessons. I noted down all my vocabulary onto a google sheet so I could access it on my phone when I was there. Considering I don’t really speak Russian in my opinion, I did actually get to speak it every single day of my trip and knowing some Russian really enhanced my experience and I am pleased to say that everybody understood me, despite having only had a few lessons before I went. I found the Russian people to be very friendly and helpful and I hope to go back one day.


To learn Russian (or any other language) , you can find a skype tutor on Italki . You can register with Italki on this link here and after paying for your first Skype lesson, you will receive $10 of credits to use towards another lesson.

For self-study I like the Teach Yourself Complete Series.

I booked my flights independently using Skyscanner

I normally look for hotels or apartments using Booking.com as many of them do not require a prepayment and are flexible with regards to amendments and cancellations up until a few days before travel. By using my link you will receive a 10% refund of your accommodation costs.

Boat trip with Bella, the Russian Polyglot.

Another site I regularly use for hotels is Hotels.com. They also have many hotels offering flexible options. I once had to cancel a hotel at a non-refundable rate but they helped me obtain a refund as I needed urgent surgery and the hotel still had a week to rebook another customer. I have therefore been happy with their service.

For insurance, I have been using Flexicover to buy annual policies for over 10 years. In that time, I have had to claim twice for last minute illnesses resulting in cancellations and the service has been efficient. You can also arrange to pay extra and cover pre-existing conditions.



Verlede week, het ek na Rusland vir die eerste keer gegaan.  Ek het in Moskou vir die eerste drie dae angekom. My hotel was mooi en ek het sommige Russiese kos probeer, soos “vareniki”, gevul met kaas of vleis.  Verlede week was Paasfees in Rusland. Op die Rooi Plein, was daar baie Paasfees Bome. Die bome was pienk en daar was paaseiers in die bome.

Ek het die kerke in die Kremlin besoek en ek het regtig van St Basil Katedraal gehou.  In ‘n ander kerk, het ek ‘n klein paaskoek gekoop.  Die kerke was baie kleurvoll.

Die laaste aand in Moskou was baie interessant want ek het op ‘n boot met my vriende en my gunsteling polyglot, Bella, gegaan. Ons het Moskou met die sonsondergang gesien, en daar was baie pragtige ligte in die stad. Bella is 5 jaar oud en sy praat 8 tale.

Na Moskou, het ons  met die trein na St Petersburg gegaan.  Die trein was baie vinnig en ons het in St Petersburg binne 4 uur angekom.

In St Petersburg, was die hotel ‘n bietjie geïsoleer, maar ek het die hoofkerke en die beroemde paleise van die Tsaars besoek.  Ek het ook die Hermitage besoek, om baie dinge wat aan die Tsaarfamilie behoort het, te sien.

Ek wil graag Rusland weer besoek!

Sicilian (standard):

‘A simana passata, ivi â Russia pâ prima vota.  Arrivavi a Mosca pî primi tri jorna. ‘U mo arbergu era beḍḍu e pruvavi quarchi piattu russu comu ‘i “vareniki”, ca su’ tipu gnocchi chini di furmaggiu o di carni. ‘A simana passata fu Pasqua â Russia. Ntâ Chiazza Russa cc’eranu assai àrbuli di Pasqua. L’àrbuli èranu di culuri rosa e di ncapu cc’eranu l’ova di Pasqua.

Vitti ‘i chesi ntô Crimlinu e mi piacìu assai ‘a cattidrali di Santu Basiliu. Nta n’àutra chesa accattavi na torta di Pasqua nica. ‘I chesi èranu assai culurati.

Vitti macari ‘i stazzioni dâ metrupulitana picchì su’ pittati cu culura diversi e cci su’ assai quatri ntê mura.

L’ùrtima siritina a Mosca fu assai ntirrisanti picchì mi fici un giru ntâ varca cull’amici e ‘a ma poliglotta favurita, Bella, e vìttimu Mosca di notti cu tanti beḍḍi luci ntâ citati. Bella àvi 5 anni e parra 8 lingui.

Doppu Mosca, jemu ntô trenu a Santu Petrubburgu. ‘U trenu fu lestu lestu e arrivamu nta 4 uri.

IMG_E2649A Santu Petrubburgu, ‘u albergu era tanticchia isulatu, ma vitti ‘i chesi principali e ‘i palazzi famusi dâ famigghia dû Zar. Vitti macari ‘u Hermitage pi vidiri assai cosi ca appartinèvanu â famigghia dû Zar.

Pi cunchiujiri, fu un beḍḍu viaggiu e speru ca cci pozzu turnari prestu!

Sicilian (Western Dialect):

‘A simana passata, ii in Russia p’ a prima vota. Stetti a Mosca p’ i primi tri ionna. ‘U miò albergu era beddu e pruvai (tastai) na pocu piatti russi comu “vareniki”, simile ai gnocchi e chini di furmaggiu o carni. ‘A simana passata era ‘a Pasqua in Russia. Nta Piazza Rossa, c’eranu assai arbuli di Pasqua. L’arbuli eranu di culuri rosi e c’eranu ova di Pasqua nti l’arbuli.

Visitai i chiesi nto Kremlino e mi piaciù assai ‘a cattedrali di San Basiglio.  Nta n ‘autra chiesa, accattai ‘na torta nica di Pasqua. I chiesi eranu assai colorati.

Visitai puru i stazioni da metropolitana picchì sunnu pittati cu culuri diversi e ci sunnu assai pitturi supra i muri.

L’ultima sira a Mosca fu assai ‘nterresanti picchì ii c’ a barca cu l’ amici e ‘a me poliglotta preferita, Bella, e viriemmu Mosca di notti cu assai beddi luci nta città. Bella avi 5 anni e parra 8 lingui.

Dopu Mosca, iammu c’u trenu a San Pietroburgo. ‘U trenu fu assai veloci e arrivammu in quattru uri.

A San Pietroburgo, l’ albergu fu n’anticchia isolatu, ma visitai i chiesi principali e i palazzi famosi da famigghia di Zar.  Visitai  puru l’ Hermitage pi taliari assai cosi ca eranu da famigghia di zar.

Pi finiri, u viaggiu mi piaciù e speru ca pozzu ritornari prestu!

Note  – To learn Sicilian, you can also access teachers on Italki and I recommend following Cadèmia Siciliana