WHEN I FIRST TOLD my friends I was going to Moscow, the most common question I got was a blunt, “But why?” My honest answer at the time was that I really didn’t know. Moscow (and Russia in general) had always been shrouded in mystery to me, peering at me from behind the remnants of an Iron Curtain, and to me this was part of its appeal.
What I found was a city and culture much more nuanced than our spy movies let on. The unmistakable sense of Russian reverence for the country’s rich history and culture is everywhere, but it exists alongside Moscow’s globalized, cosmopolitan sensibilities. The Muscovites I met were just as curious about me as I was about them and I found that if I opened up enough to let Moscow surprise me, it would, in the most delightful and unexpected ways.