A very nice weekend part two

Well Saturday was such a good day not sure we could top it but it is Sunday and we plan to give it a try.

I am feeling sort of guilty in chiding Judi to get up before she really wants to (normally past noon rather than before) but figure there will be plenty of time to sleep when the snow arrives and the days are dark. Right now it does not actually get dark for long. This is great however it does mean the winter nights are going to be long. We have lived much closer to the equator for a few years where the days are pretty regular. In Costa Rica the dawn and dusk do not really change so all days are the same length.

Anyway Judi is up and wants to go to a park. This is a very Russian thing during the weekends so a sign we are going local. The plan is to go to the Ugly statue of Peter the Great and then Gorky Park. I check the time of the Grand Prix is 4 pm local time so we agree we need to get back for it. I have not managed to see “any” of this year’s races which is unusual.

So off we go remembering to take the rubbish with us. I comment on this because when I arrived and asked “when does the rubbish get picked up” the response was “whenever you want” which I thought was good. What they really meant was “you do it yourself” which technically is the same thing. Rubbish has to be dumped in large bind deposited strategically along the roads. This gives me a choice as to where I throw it but it does rely on actually remembering to actually walk out of the flat with it. You can imagine when we arrived and I had a mountain of cardboard and wrapping from the airfreight it was quite a task. The security guards would give me that “where the hell is he getting all of this” look as I trudged past them again and again with yet another load of cardboard for the bins.

So I know the short cuts through the back streets which means we can be there in 5 minutes. In fact we can see the top of this monstrosity from the flat so it really is not that far at all. We note an English pub about half a mile from home which might be a good place for watching football. Not found an Irish pub yet which is unusual as every city I have ever been in has one or two. I am sure there is one out there.

The statue still looks ugly but it does draw the eye. I am sure people would have said the same thing about the Sydney opera house or the Gherkin in London I suppose if nothing else it is a good landmark. There is some activity on the other side of the road. It looks like a market so we go and see. It is actually local artists and there is about half a mile of them. Fittingly we are in front of one of the Tretyakov art gallery building. Anyway after a while we get picture overload but I do manage to get a couple of web site addresses so I can check back on a couple of really nice water colours (note the English spelling).

At the end of the road we meet the “Garden Ring” (which I still think is names because there are no gardens on it) over the other side is Gorky Park. Quite a famous name as there was a book and a film with the same name. If memory serves me correctly the park played a minor roll but the name still is familiar.  We pay our 80 rubles only one rate here (normally none Russians have to pay more for attractions) and waltz through. The first thing I see is a two humped camel, interesting I don’t think you actually see many camels with two humps. Not sure what the name is but you can google it if you want.

The park is really a funfair with a few fountains and some gardens. It is fairly busy as it is about 1pm and the families are all out lots of kids of different sizes. The funfair rides are slightly dated none of those thunderous things I saw in the US. There is a wooden roller coaster and several rides designed to relieve you of your last meal but nothing too scary. It reminded me of the “fair du midi” which used to come to Brussels every August. Slightly dated but all operating and here they don’t wait until a ride is full they will start it up any time. Looking around the place is full or ordinary people doing ordinary things. Kids squealing, eating ice creams and candy floss. Groups of boys egging each other on, knot’s of young girls holding onto each other so they don’t fall off their high heels. I see whack a mole, air rifles, darts, a small lake etc everything you could wish for at a funfair.  There are a couple of Beer halls so I decide to go local and have a beer out of a bottle (just for the pictures not because I really wanted one you will understand). Judi takes a couple of shots which you can see if you use the link at the bottom. We stumble across a Reindeer as we make our way out. Again not often you see reindeer used as a kids ride but it seems comfortable enough. Furry antlers’ and all.

Out and back across the ring trying to cut through to get back for the race Judi thinks we can short cut the routs if we circumnavigate the “Park of the fallen heroes” I know you cannot but you know babe she has to give it a go. A couple of failed attempts which only lead to blocked gates and fences bring us to the gate. Now this park has a tier system locals pay 10 rubles none locals 100. I think I object to this on principle, I certainly object to paying 10 times more. The book says if we have the visa’s we can claim to be local but nobody seems to have informed the 80 year old babushka on the gate and given our limited vocabulary it is not worth the bother. I could easily ask her for a coffee with milk or a beer but not sure this would help so we pay and wander through. The park is “interesting” and I spent some time here the other week. It has an open air cinema in the middle which doubles as a concert venue. It seats about 100 so it would be cozy to say the least. Note to self do a search to see if there is a schedule of events.  

It is still hot and very bright. It is difficult to think of sun cream and Moscow at the same time but we really need to start as we both have red patches which will probably burn a little late. As we amble back we use a couple of side streets and as usual you turn a corner and there stands a church. There are so many around and they are so stunning it might be a while before I stop commenting. Back at the flat with 30 minutes to spare before the race. We have a choice to watch in German or Russian and it really does not matter. Flip a coin and choose German. An interesting race given Hamilton gets a puncture on lap one and is then out of contention. So this allows us to doze through most of the rest of the excitement. Nice for Webber and the Australian seems somewhat pleased with his first win after more than 100 races. His radio response to winning was a series or ear piercing screams.”Yes,Yes,Yes,Yes”

Dinner out at “Mia Place” an Italian chain, the food was quite good and the pasta fresh which is greatly appreciated. The menu lists the size of portions as well as price. Not just this place but all menus have item, volume and price. A beer and a couple of glasses for Judi to celebrate her birthday last week. She got a couple of bunches of very nice flowers, cards, cake and a couple of tickets to the Bolshoi which given she has not been here long I take as a good sign.