Landmarks of Russian Lit
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Q. I would like to visit literature-themed sites in Russia, such as Tolstoy's estate and Chekhov's homes. Are tours available?
Betsy Sherman, Falls Church
A. It's the sentence Tolstoy forgot to write: "Happy tours of the estates of Russian icons are all alike; every unhappy tour is unhappy in its own way." Contracting with a stateside travel agent is one way to improve your chances at a happy tour, one like Sokol Tours ( http:/
Also open to the public, 50 miles south of Moscow, is Anton Chekhov's Melikhovo ( http:/
Unhappy tours, if you're wondering, usually befall tourists who attempt to wing it. "Public transportation in Moscow is one of the best in the world," said Sokol's Artour Yatchenko, "but as soon as you're out in the countryside, it's babushkas and old buses." Babushkas? "Peasants, I mean." And finding a driver can be a hassle. "You need one who can deal with the police," as drivers are frequently stopped and their documents checked, he said.
Renting your own car is an option, of course, but "Moscow traffic is hell, and a wrong turn could add hours to your trip," Yatchenko said. In short, if you're not careful, visiting the birthplace of an epic could well involve an epic journey of your own.
My wife is a big fan of the movie "Somewhere in Time." Is the Grand Hotel on Michigan's Mackinac Island worth a trip?
Mike Tucker, Mount Airy
It is, and not only because no "Somewhere in Time" fan can die happy without a pilgrimage to the summer hotel where it was filmed in 1979. (In fact, dozens of devotees of the Christopher Reeve-Jane Seymour weeper convene there annually in October.) The Grand ( http:/
But the splurge is worth it, according to readers of Travel Log, the Travel section's blog ( http:/
Send queries by e-mail (email@example.com) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include your name and town.