I've been back two weeks from a short but epic trip to Europe. In seven days, I visited Moscow to meet with the publishers of T+L's newest international edition—Travel + Leisure Russia (there's also Travel + Leisure en Español and a Korean edition)—and to deliver a grant for the restoration of a Russian Orthodox church; spent some time with my daughter, Caroline, who was in Prague for a semester of her junior year abroad; and gave a speech at a European travel conference in a townsouth of Venice. It's a rush of images now, among them following Caroline into a food shop by the Charles Bridge and hearing her converse at the cash register in Czech.
Some of the most moving moments of this miniature grand tour took place in Rostov the Great, three hours by car outside Moscow, in an area called the Golden Ring. Though the day was long, there was a lot to celebrate—andRussians do believe in ceremony. With my American Express colleagues from Moscow (T+L is owned by Amex and managed by Time Inc.), I presented a check for the restoration of the Church of Our Savior adjacent to Rostov's 17th-century kremlin. The project is overseen by the World Monuments Fund, that inestimable organization dedicated to preserving architectural heritage around the globe. The kremlin also holds a little jewel of a museum of enamel work dating from the late 17th century through the 20th; Rostov, I was told, once rivaled Limoges. As for the weather, there was as much mud as snow, and the backdrop fell somewhere short of my fantasies of Dr. Zhivago.
I was also able to fit in a visit to the recently restored Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, damaged in the flood of 2002; we feature it this month in our Preservation column. One of the deepest pleasures of travel actually comes after the fact—and I've been busily sorting through that rush of images ever since.