Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Over the past two weeks it has snowed constantly in this part of Russia, and everything is covered in a thick blanket of soft white snow. It may be that I'm off my rocker, or I'm a closet masochist, or simply because I'm Canadian, but I love this weather!

This is the Russia I always had images of in my mind; not the bleak grey Soviet Russia of popular culture but the snowy and cozy Russia of times past. The kind of Russia where men with big white beards rode their horse-drawn troika's through snowy birch forests while pretty peasant maidens with hankerchiefs over their hair cooked stew and dumplings over a fire in a wooden log cabin. The Russia where big deep laughter was brought on by shots of vodka. The Russia where the term "bear hug" came from.

So, because the winter here in the Moscow Oblast has conjured up romanticist images in my mind, I thought I would share some of the scenery with you!

Below my kitchen window is a snow-covered Stalin-era building.

From the elektrishka window: the village of Bolsheva, between Mytischi and Shyolkova.

Shyolkova war memorial in the snow.

The streets of Shyolkova. Strangely enough, Russians are NOT good winter drivers. Of course, they're not good summer drivers, either.

Near the Shyolkova train station.

On Thursday Quagmire and I, determined to do at least one touristy thing during our time off, went to Red Square. We paid 150 roubles each and went into St. Basil's cathedral which was surprisingly quite small inside. It was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible during the 1500s so there's a lot of stone passageways and things....

Red Square was beautiful in the winter but the wide-open spaces and the tall buildings on either side of the square created a wind-tunnel effect and the wind chill was at least -20 celsius, so we went into GUM. The world's 3rd most expensive shopping mall was overflowing with holiday decor and, because it was really cold outside and we decided against doing any more touristy stuff, we went to the Coffee House cafe on the second floor and ordered two pints of beer and an ashtray.

A few hours and a few beers later we changed scenery and took the metro to Novoslobodskaya and had chinese food and beer, and then we went to a bar and drank more beer. It was dark when we returned to Mytischi and figured "What the hell. Let's go the nightclub". All told we spent a good 10 hours drinking beer all over Moscow. It was touristy enough for us.

A tree outside the Kremlin.

Stalin, Napolean and Tzar Alexander II with Lenin hiding behind Stalin.

Grandfather Frost and his niece, Snow Maiden, the traditional Slavic Santa Claus-like figures who ride a sleigh and bring gifts to children in person.

16th Century guards at the Moscow Historical Museum on Red Square.

Right in the center of Red Square is a huge festive skating rink with warm cafe-bars set up on either end.

St. Basil's in the snow.

A snowy Red Square.

Ivan the Terrible had this built for public beheadings on Red Square. It looks benign in the winter.

The chopping block where thousands lost their heads over the centuries.

Inside GUM.

Around Ploschad Revolutsii, Moscow.

A festive Marshall Zhukov.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos!Russia are a beautyfull country!I love Moscow!Best wishes!