Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring in Moscow is different than any notion of Spring I have had over the years. For a start, it's pretty cold. And when I am mean cold, it's freezing with occasional snowstorms breaking in. On the positive side, any ray of sun and especially any temperature rise above 10 °C is so much more appreciated. Over the weekend we made a family trip to Kolomenskoye park, a former royal estate, where the father of Ivan the Terrible built a church hoping for a male heir. We were not the only sun&history admirers there whatsoever. Flocks of families occupied the premises and barricaded the few sunny benches, armed with various types of offspring-carriers, picnic provisions, cameras, sunglasses and even sunscreen. Mind you it was still around 5 °C.

Being beginner level Muscovites, we went completely unprepared, especially from food supplies perspective. Communist-nostalgia type of queues were formed in front of the few establishment, and after a brief deliberation I was promptly installed at the back of the shortest one, in front of the crepe stall. Good fifteen min later, I savored a honey crepe in which honey surprisingly represented at least 70% of the equation. Since I got bad service several times when speaking Russian, I now order only in English with adding an extra word in Russian word here and there to make myself understood. I guess that resulted the surplus of honey in my pancake, and the jam stains that hubby was cleaning from his shoes grunting that next time when he says "naturel"* he really means it.  (*in Dutch means simple, basic) How would I have known? 
After that we headed back to the car, tired from that wild park experience and just to prove that she understands how we all feel, Estelle started her usual boredom cry. 
It was actually pretty nice to be outside for couple of hours, though being reminded of how unlikely it is to find yourself alone in the park on a sunny Spring day. 
The other element, that I have slightly forgotten during the winter, is the air pollution. I am picking up running again and since I don't want to step in the car every time, I have to run on the few of the bridges above Moscow river, each one dominated by heavy traffic. You just smell fumes and nothing else. I can only hope that the health benefits of running are better than the negative effects my lungs will suffer this summer. I am seriously considering running half a marathon. I now run around 10K without significant effort, so I should be able to increase the distances gradually by Sept 11 when is the Moscow marathon. Maybe a full marathon next, who knows :) 
Ok, that's about Spring. I have had it. Can now the Summer please come? 

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