By Anna Jackson-Stevens
Judging by the traffic this summer, one might be forgiven for thinking that Muscovites didnât venture far for their holidays. Social media posts however, suggest otherwise and Iâve been enjoying feedback from Santorini to St. Tropez, Mykonos to Montenegro and Puglia to Phuket.
It could be the road works are misleading: on some days walking in the city has been akin to an assault course and when pedestrians arenât tiptoeing through dusty rubble, theyâre ducking jets sprayed with some force from convoys of vehicles apparently cooling the tarmac and preventing it from cracking. I wonder why I havenât seen a similar solution in other hot climates? Drivers will have faced even greater challenges as pavements widen, leaving narrower roads, and authorities try to keep up with the demand for parking spaces, which at the rising cost will be keeping many cars away.
Early signs are that Moscow will be more aesthetically pleasing for the changes so once the veils of tarpaulin are lifted and metal barriers removed, there should be every reason to celebrate coming home to a new look capital, which allows inhabitants to ease more gently into school / work.
When I travel I like to bring back food, wine and aromas in order to prolong the vacation sensation, and keep me energised, motivated and calm. Thereâs a limit to how long one can ration perishables but candles and room sprays linger, keeping memories of salty sea air, orange blossom and vanilla ice cream alive.
And then there are things to do, places to go, experiences to be had in Moscow, which by association take us on an imaginary journey. Here are a few of my tips for fantasy travel:
If yours was a tropical break, look no further than Lanna Kamilina for spa treatments to whisk you away to sandy shores. Lannaâs own sunny disposition penetrates through her team and radiates for her guests. The salon interior c/o her designer-decorator husband Victor, enhances the dreamy mood. Iâd have myself smothered all over in oils and creams by St Barth and later in the season, I might top up my tan with an application of Soleil Noir.
Weâre spoilt for choice for variety of food in Moscow restaurants and even more so since sanctions have kept chefs on their creative toes. Two of my trusty favourites for a taste of the French & Italian Riviera come from legendary personalities in the community whose eponymous eateries reflect the best of the their countryâs home cooking. Keep an eye out for mussels on the seasonal menu at Le Bistrot Le Provos, ideally washed down with something pink and ProvenÃ§ale. Battered sardines and cheeky olives are the perfect accompaniment to an aperitivo at Bontempi, where with the river view adds to la dolce vita.
I have a special affinity with Greece and Thessaloniki in particular where urban and maritime lives combine to create the best of both worlds. So youâll imagine my delight on discovering that Alfa Estate wines have been launched with a local supplier in Russia. From now on my luggage will be considerably lighter minus hefty supplies of Malagouzia.