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18 Interesting Facts About Russia

facts about russia

facts about russia

18 Interesting Facts about Russia! The mysterious Russia has fascinated me for years. On my bucket list are things like riding the Trans-Siberian rail and seeing Lake Baikal, among all the other things there are to experience in this giant country. Here are some interesting facts about Russia!

1. Red Square neither red nor square

2. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the deepest lake in the world. It would take all the rivers of the world – Volga, Don, Dnepr and Yenisei, Ural and Ob, Ganges and Orinoko, Amazon and Thames, Seine and Oder – nearly one year to fill lake Baikal’s basin.

3. The Ural mountains that divide Russia into European and Asian parts are nearly the most ancient mountains in the world.

4. There are more than 800 glaciers covering over 600 sq km in Altay.

5. The legendary Trans-siberian route goes through 8 time zones in Russia, starting from Moscow with a final point in Bejing, China. The route covers over 9,000 km.

6. The nearest point between 2 continents that divide Russia and the United States is only 4 km.

 Interesting Facts About7. Russian people are not used to trusting everything cheap.

8. Russia covers one-seventh of the total land area of the world.

9. There are 2,000 libraries, 100 concert organizations, more than 80 theaters, 62 movie theaters, 45 art galleries, 221 museums, and 80 nightclubs in St. Petersburg alone.

10. it was Russia, not the US, who was the first nation to launch a man into space. (The USA was just the first nation to land a man on the moon.)

11. Ten percent of the income of the Russian government is from the sales of vodka.

12. One-fourth of the world’s fresh water is contained in the lakes of Russia.

 Interesting Facts About

13. Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the world’s highest active volcano at a height of 4,750 meters (15,584 feet), is found in Russia.

14. The country is referred to as the “Lungs of Europe” because it has the biggest forest reserves in the world.

15. The Tsar Kolokol bell, the largest bell in the world with a height of 6.14 meters (20 feet) and a weight of 223 tons, is inside the Kremlin of Moscow.

 Interesting Facts About

16. Women outnumber men in Russia by approximately 10 million.

17. There are 990 stations on the entire network.

18. Estimated cost to build the Trans Siberian rail exceeds the US mission to the moon



17 Interesting Facts About Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

17 Interesting Facts About Vietnam

  1. Vietnam is the largest exporter of cashews in the world, and the second largest exporter of rice.

  3. Instead of bells, traditional gongs are used to call the Vietnamese children to school.

  5. Although Vietnam is a developing country, it has a literacy rate of 94%.

  7. Among all developing countries, Vietnam has one of the lowest unemployment rates.

  9. You can find a B52 American Bomber Wreck in Vietnam’s West Lake.

  11. An estimated ten million motor bikes travel on the roads of Vietnam every day.
    Interesting Facts About Vietnam

  12. Ruou ran (snake wine), a Vietnamese specialty of rice wine with a pickled snake inside, allegedly can cure any sickness.

  14. The most common surname in Vietnam is Nguyen.

  16. The Vietnamese keep potbelly pigs as pets.

  18. The Vietnamese language has six different tones. A change in tone changes the meaning of the word. This makes their language somewhat difficult to learn.

  20. Vietnam is about 8 times the size of Switzerland.

  22. Iced tea is free in most restaurants. Some have hot tea; others have both.
    Interesting Facts About Vietnam

  24. When Vietnamese drink tea or water (or anything), they always leave 5 to 10% in the cup after drinking. They don’t empty their cups.

  26. 14. Vietnamese don’t take a shower in the morning. They take a shower/ bath in the evening generally.

  28. The Vietnamese wear helmet not to be SAFE on the roads but in order not to be FINED by the police/traffic officers.

  30. The locals ask your age, nationality and marital status on the first meeting.
    Interesting Facts About Vietnam

  31. Vietnamese is the only  language in East Asia that uses the Latin alphabet.

Inspiring Travelers: Mark


Inspiring Travelers: Mark from the US knows how to inspire.

Inspiring Traveler interview
Ellora, India


For this round of Inspiring Traveler interviews, I knew I needed to look up my old friend Mark. I met him on a trip to Southern Africa that we went on with our University, and he even helped me start my first blog. He’s been to some pretty cool places, and turned up some amazing adventures. Here’s what he had to say.

First off, tell us about yourself.


My name is Mark Shoberg and I run a travel blog called TheDumbTourist. I have traveled to 23 countries and in the last five years, I’ve spent 1.5 of them traveling.  I’m currently in the midst of my master’s program at the University of Hawaii, which means I will not be traveling for the next year. However, I always have a trip planned in the back of my mind.


So it’s safe to say that one of your passions is traveling? The main reason for this website is to motivate people to travel and also to let them know that you don’t have to be rich to do so. How do you manage to go so many places? Are you rich?



Some people will tell you that anyone can travel anywhere in the world, but I do not necessarily believe that. If you want to travel, you can do it cheaply, but it has to be a top priority. If you do not have a lot of money, but you have a nice car, apartment, stereo, laptop, etc., you will find it difficult to travel. You have to be free to travel. You have to be able to leave behind your world of car payments, rent, things… whatever. Backpacking around the world is not for materialistic or consumer driven people. Such people can travel and do travel, but they cannot do it cheaply and it is rarely

Inspiring Traveler interview
flipping our raft on the Zambezi in Zambia.

backpacking. They are tourists. All backpackers are tourists as well, but not all tourists are backpackers. If you are strapped with debt it is very difficult to pick up and travel the world. It is all about priorities. Since traveling was a top priority for me, I drove a used car I owned outright; I lived in a tiny apartment I could afford while I was gone for months on end; and I pretty much owned everything in my possession. The only debt I had was from school and it was deferred until after school. Even if you are our of school, you can call and defer them for a while.


Do you have an example of a time when you went on a trip with little money? If so, did it turn out ok? Are you glad you did it?



I traveled through Turkey for over a month on little money and it was one of the best trips ever. My wife and I got to Istanbul at 2 a.m. It was snowing, we were cold, and no one spoke any English. Annie asked a couple if they knew English and when they nodded yes, she asked if they could tell the taxi driver to take us to a cheap hostel. They responded, “Why don’t you just stay with us?” I asked if they wanted to know our names first. We all piled into a cab and we are still fast friends to this day. We bounced from place to place and only paid for lodging on four different nights over that 4.5 week time period. And we paid only because we wanted to stay in a hotel on our own. To me, traveling is learning to respond to the world with faith. You believe things will work out and in many cases, they do work out beyond your wildest expectations. We hitchhiked, walked, and took buses everywhere. If you want to get by cheap, you cannot be afraid of walking. Eventually someone picks you up or you get there…. just slower than normal.

So, everyone is probably wondering by now, where all have you been? You probably can’t name all the countries, but do you know how many there are?


I got my international backpacking feet wet in Singapore. Annie and I then made our way north to Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. A year later we spent 6 weeks in India. We then backpacked British Columbia and Alberta for the summer. In between there, we traveled Mexico in the height of the drug war that continues to this day. Then we did 5 months in Africa and the Middle East. We started out in S. Africa and went overland north to Kenya. We skipped over Ethiopia for visa reasons and Sudan b/c it was in civil war. We then arrived in Egypt as the revolution was simmering down. There were no tourists there at all. It was great. We had the pyramids to ourselves.

Inspiring Traveler interview
Paragliding in Fethiye, Turkey



So lets go back in time a little. your passion to travel had to have started somewhere. Where was the first place you went to? Were you scared?


I have rarely ever been scared while traveling, but it does happen when you travel with someone you love. I watched Annie head to the bathroom in Tanzania and a few minutes later a Masai warrior in full regalia headed in the same direction. I did not want to act paranoid, so a waited a moment. I suddenly feared she was about to get raped, so I figured I was going to have to pull out my switchblade and take a look. Then she emerged. It was all nothing. I just freaked myself out. Traveling will do that to you sometimes. You have to be cautious, but not so paranoid that you destroy serendipity and the acts of kindness the world is filled with. A beginner traveler can take a perfectly normal situation and crap all over it with fear, which escalates other people’s fear. I’ve seen bad things happen when they shouldn’t have because of those types of situations.

I started traveling in Mexico. I always heard stories and watched movies about the evils of Mexico, so I was a little leery to begin with. However, it did not take long to see that people who get in trouble down there are usually doing the wrong thing in the wrong place. It’s not wise to get drunk in New York City and then act stupid in some dark alley, let alone anywhere else in the world. If you act like a victim the locals will treat you like one. If you look like an easy target, someone will take advantage of that fact… in the USA or anywhere else in the world.

Inspiring Traveler interview
Devil’s Pool, Vic Falls, Zambia


Would you say that it is safe to travel alone? What’s the advantages and disadvantages? People tell me all the time that they want to travel, but don’t have anyone to go with. Is this a good reason to stay home?


I think it is definitely safe to travel alone, but it is lonely. Happiness is life shared with others. My friend was in Vietnam and he was alone. He said something like: The beauty of my surroundings seem to amplify my loneliness. Loneliness should never be a reason for staying home, however. No matter where you go in the world, if you wear a smile you will attract others to yourself. You will meet others, but you have to be willing to do the work of being friendly and offering a patient ear. I have met plenty of travelers that spent too much time in their head. They get imbalanced. Everyone has met these people. You have to work on your social skills or you will end up alone at home and alone in the world. Acts of kindness are the universal language we all speak. It is easy to forget to be kind while traveling. Life kind of becomes so self centered while traveling that it is easy to forget that people make the scenario as majestic as any mountain. When I think back, my fondest memories usually involve other people… other kind people. You may pass through any city in the world and it is just a new city to displace the senses, but when you pass through someone’s home, you take a piece of them with you. They change you. No city can do that.

If you wanted to inspire someone to travel, what would you tell them? In other words, what advise or tips would you give someone who really wants to travel, but who doesn’t think its possible? 


If someone wants to travel, they need to get rid of the things that tie them to their particular patch of earth. GET OUT OF DEBT. Most backpackers live simply. Then work. Work two or three part time jobs if you have to. Put all your money aside for six months or a year. When you think of quitting that heinous job, think about how there are very few place in the world that will pay you $9 an hour for flipping burgers. The biggest cost is getting the airline ticket. The moment you have saved enough for that ticket, buy it. Purchase it for six months out and then work your tail off until the day you leave. If you run out of money on the road, do not worry. You can work at bars, hostels, tourist traps, teaching English… whatever. Other travelers will show you the tricks to traveling cheaply. Find an Israeli and they will show you how to get by on pennies a day.

Do you have any travel plans in the immediate future? I know you are in uni now, so I you don’t have immediate plans, what’s the number one place you want to go?

Inspiring Traveler interview
Mark, Annie, and friend Jessie in Jaspar, Alberta.



I have a few places on the top of my list. I want to spend a month in Iceland. But my goal is to backpack S. America. I don’t know when, yet, but I will get there in the next few years.




35 Interesting Facts About Canada


OH Canadaaaa. Everywhere I go, people jokingly (only half jokingly) say that Canadians and Americans are all the same. Well they aren’t… Just watch the South Park movie – ”Blame Canada! They’re not even a real country anyway.” HA! OK I joke, but just to clear the air, here is-


35 Interesting Facts About Canada

1. At 3,855,103 square miles, Canada is the second largest country in the world, behind Russia.

2. Its population density is 8.6 people per square mile, making Canada the ninth-most sparsely populated nation in the world.

3. Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world at 151,600 miles.

4. A black bear cub from Canada named Winnipeg (or “Winnie,” for short) was one of the most popular attractions at the London Zoo after it was donated to the zoo in 1915. Winnie became a favorite of Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the stories written by his father, A.A. Milne, about Winnie-the-Pooh.

5. The Moosehead Brewery in Saint John, New Brunswick, turns out 1,642 bottles of beer per minute.

6. If you visit Dawson City, Yukon, you can join the “Sourtoe Cocktail Club” — all you have to do is finish a drink (of anything!) with a real human toe in the bottom. The club’s motto says, “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow — but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”

7. Cryptozoologists claim that Canada is the home of several cryptids, including Sasquatch, a giant sloth-like creature known as the beaver-eater, a cannibalistic wildman named Windigo, and a number of lake monsters, such as Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.

8. The natives of eastern Canada tell several stories of a mythical giant named Glooscap, who carved out many of the region’s natural features to help him overcome his evil twin brothers. It is believed that these Glooscap stories might be the origin of many of the Paul Bunyan legends.

9. The Narcisse Snake Dens in Manitoba have more snakes in a concentrated area than anywhere else in the world. Tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes gather there every year. On the other hand, there are no snakes on the island of Newfoundland.

10. Manitou Lake on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron is the world’s largest lake within a lake (41.1 square miles).

11. Great Bear lake is the largest lake in Canada with an area of 31 326 km2

12. Between 1984 and 2008, it was illegal to sell pop in cans in PEI. All carbonated drinks had to be purchased in refillable glass bottles. PEI was the only place in North America to have a “can ban.”

13. Canada’s groundhog (Wiarton Willie) is an albino groundhog from Wiarton, Ontario.

14. The West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, was once the world’s largest shopping mall. It now ranks fifth, but it still contains the world’s largest indoor amusement park.

15. The border between Canada and the United States is officially known as the International Boundary. At 5,525 miles, including 1,538 miles between Canada and Alaska, it is the world’s longest border between two nations.

16. Kanata is the St. Lawrence-Iroquoian word for “village” or “settlement.”

17. The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea.”

18. Its population density is 8.6 people per square mile, making Canada the ninth-most sparsely populated nation in the world. Housing is affordable in most cities, even in the capital, Ottawa. There are realty companies that have online searches so if you’re interested in moving to the capital and looking for Ottawa real estate you should easily be able to research prices.

19. The largest non-polar ice field in the world can be found in the St. Elias Mountains, Yukon Territory. It covers an area of 40 570 square kilometers of which 16,900 square kilometers are located in Canada, the remainder being in Alaska.

20. Canada officially got its own national flag on February 15, 1965 — almost 100 years after it became a country (in 1867).

21. The east coast of Canada was settled by Vikings around the year A.D. 1000. Archaeological evidence of a settlement has been found at L’anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

22. In 1642, a group of religious mystics from France were inspired by a vision to build a missionary city in the Canadian wilderness. Led by Paul deChomedeydeMaisonneuve and an Ursuline nun name Jeanne Mance, they founded Montreal.

23. Canada’s capital, Ottawa, has the coldest average temperature of any capital city in the world.

24.Canada has its own mysterious lake creature, Ogopogo, who reportedly lives in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.

25. The longest highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway which is over 7604 kilometers (4725 miles) in length.

26. Canadians consume more macaroni and cheese than any other country in the world.

27. There haven’t been any mail deliveries on Saturdays in the last 35 years.

28. In 1962, Pincher Creek, Alberta experienced the fastest, biggest temperature change ever recorded in Canada as a result of a Chinook (a warm, dry wind that comes off the Rocky Mountains). The temperature rose from -19C to 22C in just one hour!

29. Hockey and lacrosse are the national sports.

30. The world’s most northerly sand dunes are in Athabasca Provincial Park in northwest Saskatchewan. They are 30 meters high

31. British Columbian pioneers made use of the oolichan, also called candlefish, at nighttime. The small fish is so fatty that it can be dried, strung on a wick and burned like a candle!

32. Canada’s official languages may be French and English, but our geese have their own language: scientists believe that Canada geese have as many as 13 different calls for everything from greetings and warnings to happiness.

33. Leading exports are: automobile vehicles and parts, machinery and equipment, high technology products, oil, natural gas, metals and forest farm products.

34. The highest tides in the world occur in the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.

35. The average life expectancy at birth for a Canadian is 81.16 years, the eighth highest in the world. The United States ranks 46th, at 78.14 years.

So you think you know a lot about the world? Take this World Geography quiz and find out!


Inspiring Travelers: Megan


Inspiring Travelers

Inspiring travelers: Megan from Colorado knows how it’s done.

I catch up with Megan from Colorado and she shares some thoughts about her travels and fun experiences around the globe. We met at the university, where we were both working at the Outdoor program, and where we both got our first tastes in international travel, on trips with the school, led by Professor Chad. She is an easy choice when looking to interview inspiring travelers, especially for woman travelers, traveling solo or other wise.

Hello Megan. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Megan McGrath. I am a 5th year senior at CMU studying to be a Paramedic. I am currently in Colorado (the best state of the 50), but I have been to 8 countries and Ecuador twice. First trip- Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey for 2 months; Second trip- Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile 2 months; Third trip- Ecuador (Cosanga mostly) 4 months

So how do you afford to take these trips? Are your parents rich or something?

No. The last trip was really inexpensive for me because I volunteered with a Grand Junction based program called Sustainable Roots. Room and board was completely paid for when I arrived. The trip before that I worked a lot in order to save, but traveling is a lot cheaper than most people make it out to be.

Were you nervous leaving for your first trip, or any others for that matter?

I guess I was a little nervous on my first trip, but I got the experience to do my very first trip outside of this country with the Outdoor Program at Mesa. Once I learned from the best (Professor Chad Thatcher), I never hesitated to start my own new adventures since then.

So can you tell us how you keep on budget when traveling?

In order to stay on budget I calculate out how much I am “allowed” to spend per day depending on how much I have from the beginning. I can settle for a cheaper hostel to do something really cool one day. Also, shopping at markets for things like bread and cheese is an easy meal that is always very cheap.

Do you have any advice or tips for anyone who wants to travel but doesn’t think they can?

Decide where you want to go, and just do it already.

What have you been surprised about the most while traveling?

I was surprised at the small amount of crime I have found in foreign countries. People seem to think leaving the US is so dangerous, but getting your wallet stolen is just as likely to happen in the states as it is in a foreign country. People from different countries can be very friendly, giving, helpful, and interesting.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done?

The coolest thing I have done was go to Machu Picchu… or maybe the pyramids. It is so awesome to tell people you have been to places that are constantly on a bucket list or a “must-see” travel list.

Do you have a favorite place in the World?

My favorite place in the world is Cosanga, Ecuador. I made so many friends and really made connections with the people there. My favorite country in the world is Egypt.

Thanks Megan. So what’s next for you?

Next on the list is going to have to be once I graduate in December (my mom grounded me to the states until I finish my degree.) But I want it to be the longest trip yet. I will probably start in Australia and move up through Indonesia, southeast Asia, ending in India.. or Nepal… or maybe China. Who knows? I will probably spend about 8-10 months doing this trip. Better start saving!