Why they dig Americans: Because Donald Trump and Putin are BFFs, of course. Just kidding! (Sorta.) As relations between the US and Russia have thawed, frozen up, and repeated again, ad nauseam, Americans themselves have become something of a fascination over yonder. While opinions of our nation are infamously low among the Slavs, there's a certain level of respect reserved for a Yank spotted taking a selfie in Red Square after an onerous and bureaucratic visa process. Oh yeah, plus, they love our money.
Why you should go: It's a gorgeously bleak and mysterious land. Plus, it's a big ol' party. Vodka is, duh, the name of the game, sipped at room temp at lunchtime and swirled into cocktails during late, late-night clubbing. When I made the voyage to Moscow and St. Pete, the Russians who had a command of English -- a fairly rare feat, Cyrillic being a different alphabet -- were fascinated by what I could tell them of Mother USA and, boy, is it fun to barter with them (for cab rides, Russian dolls, ballet tickets, and pretty much everything under the clouds). The trip is also great for adrenaline junkies. I saw two dead bodies while I was there: some guy in a staircase, and Lenin. Note: I'm a straight, white male. People of color may be treated less favorably and members of the LGBTQ community should be careful about their PDA. That does suck. But you really gotta see the vodka aisle in the grocery store. -- Colin St. John, Thrillist contributor