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WELCOME STRANGER

Russia

A New Love of Stalin

Over the past decade, public approval of Russia’s famous dictator has grown

In an interview he gave to American filmmaker Oliver Stone, broadcast last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin lamented what he termed the “excessive demonization” of Joseph Stalin, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Any criticism of the dictator, he said, was being used to attack Russia. (Putin’s grandfather, incidentally, served as Stalin’s cook and Putin himself had previously praised Stalin as an “effective manager.”) But Putin wasn’t alone in essentially calling for a review of how Russians view the man who ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist from 1924 to 1953 and...

India

A Rummy Way to Make Whiskey

Inside the Indian whiskey industry

As I sit by strewn Christmas lights and baubles, swiveling my Glenfarclas nosing glass with the...

Did You Know?

Photo credit: Xxlstier

Switzerland

Giger’s Otherworldly Bar

H.R. Giger, who died four years ago, was a Swiss painter known for his otherworldly, airbrushed images fusing humans and machines. Giger was a key part of the visual effects team that won an Oscar for Alien. The picturesque Alpine town of Chur, Switzerland, is the unlikely home to a bar-cum-museum in Giger’s honor, which one writer described as a “cavernous, skeletal structure covered by double arches of vertebrae that crisscross the vaulted ceiling of an ancient castle.”

Encounters that take you there.

Before there were guidebooks, 18th- and 19th-century authors wrote “stranger’s guides” to cities and countries, pamphlets and books that combined helpful tips with particular and offbeat advice and context: the best boarding houses alongside bits of history, preferred brothels as well as ways to avoid pickpockets. These guides were far removed from a modern, sanitized Fodor’s—rather they were personal, eccentric and intimate portrayals of place.

Stranger’s Guide is a modern version of that idea—a nonprofit publication designed to reveal the intricacies of places across the globe, through both local and foreign eyes.