Our friend Kate insisted that we based our trip to fall over a weekend in Moscow a) so that we could have a night out with the billionaires and b) so that we could go to Izmailovsky Market. I know which option drew my attention.
It was a great time of year to go – cold, but not painfully so, with sunlight bouncing off the shiny lacquer that is ubiquitous in Russia. It's just a fascinatingly rich place to look at; matryoshka dolls of every ilk (Lenin, Putin, Eminem, you name it), furs, stuffed animals, crazy antiques that you aren't allowed to take out of the country, guns, bullets...and this was the one place where people were genuinely excited to meet foreigners. Probably because we may buy something. Michael even had someone sing Snopp Dogg at him. Yikes.
We also had probably the best food of our whole trip in the market. And it didn't cost $200! Puffy flatbread with grilled pork, cooked perfectly with hot sauce. And thank God we had it just before we got on the plane, as I can't really attest to the strengths of Aeroflot cuisine.