Sunday, 10 January 2010
Saturday, 9 January 2010
In fact, no snow left un-turned.
Went for a lovely walk yesterday, down by the river. Because it was the day after Christmas here (!) the snow - which fell softly all day - has been less cleared up/messed up then usual, so everything is looking beautiful, clean and bright.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Thanks to Erica for the photo, even though I don't think this is my best side.
And I have not yet joined the gang of enthusiasts who are currently arguing on-line about what time to go skating at the Palace of Sports Krylatskoye.
It is very close to Sokolniki Metro, just not sure in what direction.....
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
So I plumped for something called The New Year Adventure of Tiger Rocky (there is definitely a tiger theme here this year, related to the up-coming Chinese Year of the Tiger) because it was on ice, and included acrobatics and magic. It was a 3.00 pm matinee at the Sokolniki Sports Palace, in Sokolniki Park, and the first problem was that we couldn't find the stadium, despite being given many contradictory directions by people we asked. We arrived very late - which was a kind of blessing -as the audience was pretty sparse and the show a local, mainly amateur, affair. We did get our gifts from Ded Moroz at the end though, a bag of sweets, and the children who were there seemed to have a good time, with much shouting and joining in. And now we do know what yolka is.
With thanks to Peter for the photo which shows Ded Moroz (Father Frost) in his rather fetching blue version - he also comes in red like our own Santa Claus - together with his grand-daughter, Snegurochka (snow girl)... oh, and Tiger Rocky in the background.
This involved both metro and trolley bus ride and took us into the middle of a huge, empty and bleak sports park. What we had trouped out there thinking would a big warm indoor rink with a huge video screen turned out to be basically an iced over car park with no-one else around, and a small - and very blank - open air screen at one side.
Worked out okay in the end, as the adjacent cafe meant we could sit eating chicken and chips whilst we watched the only determined person amongst us, happily skating on his own in a snow blizzard!
When the big 'uns had finished, the little bulldozer remained to 'tidy up', through a repetitive process of scrapping and patting.
I know snow is a fact of winter life here, but it does make the British attitude of 'OhmyGod its snowing, cancel everything' seem pretty pathetic.
Saturday, 2 January 2010
Which turned out, from my google researches, to be the 'proper' way to do it:
“Most Russians celebrate New Year's Eve with their families and close friends. The celebration usually starts one or two hours before midnight and the common tradition is to "say farewell to the old year" by remembering most important events of the last twelve months. At five minutes to twelve most of the people watch the president's speech on TV or watch popular New Year TV shows ("Goluboy Ogonek"). There is a tradition to listen to the Kremlin clock bell ('Kuranty') ringing twelve times on the radio or on TV. During these last 12 seconds of the year people keep silence and make their secret wishes for the next year.”
Which is exactly what we did. Well not the silences and the wishes thing, And to be honest we didn't watch the TV show, we gaped at it. It was all glitter, flashing coloured lights, bling, celebs, loudness, singalong songs, over-acting and gurning for the camera, and endless over-the-top theatrical gestures. I've stolen an image from the brilliant English Russia website, because I was too stunned to photo the TV. And in fact, for a great inside story and more images, go to their blog and read Happy Fake Year.
Friday, 1 January 2010
I think I should mention that the boat - see previous post - does turn into a bit of a discotheque (and that is definitely the correct term) towards the end of the evening. So come prepared with your glitter ball and some 70s dance moves!
We did our Christmas dinner aboard a special ice-breaking tourist river boat, the first one working of the 5 recently bought by Radisson as part of their renovation of the Hotel Ukraine (another of the Stalinist skyscrapers.) Although the ice was mainly in thin floes, there was still enough to give an occasional satisfyingly eerie screech against the hull, and nothing beats seeing a city after dark from the water. The trip included dinner and cost 1,500 roubles a head (including food but not drinks). Brilliant.
Anyway here we are, exchanging snowballs (photo courtesy of Peter) in front of St Basil's, having arrived too late to visit Lenin, and before we worked out that the only way into the cathedral itself was via a door that very firmly said Exit/выход. (And the cathedral is a must-see inside, if only because it is so unexpectedly unexpected.)