Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making the Most of January

I happened to read that it was a bitterly cold -31 degrees Fahrenheit in Grayling, Michigan last night (Grayling is my hometown, by the way). In the last month here in Moscow it has barely reached zero degrees Fahrenheit and more often hovers around 20 degrees, so I'm feeling pretty lucky. At least as far as Russian winters go, this isn't so bad.

Nevertheless, the Russian winter has been a bit of a novelty for me after living in the Bay Area for many years. Some of my new favorite activities are ice skating and jogging in parks. While Russians aren't so keen on jogging (and when I'm out they often offer me unsolicited advice, chastise me, or less frequently praise me), many of them do make the most out of winter. A fair number of people cross-country ski and the city is full of ice-skating rinks, which themselves are full of people. I find all of these activities to be a nice, wholesome counterweight to Moscow nightlife.

My first ice skating adventure was on the rink on Red Square.

I fell twice. Please refer to exhibit A: the snow residue on my jeans. (You're lucky I'm posting this picture, because it's pretty awful, but it's the only one of me ice skating so far.)

I fared far better yesterday at a different rink. These were my ice-skating companions:

Perhaps the mulled wine helped. (Refer to exhibit B: mulled wine stand on ice skating rink.) Ice skating doesn't have to be entirely wholesome, I suppose!

I too am hoping to make the most out of this winter. For example, I am bound and determined to go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. (That was the original plan for yesterday, actually, but there were complications... The horses, apparently, got cold and so the rides stopped at 3 instead of 6 and we found this out around 3:30. This sort of thing is extremely typical for Russia...) But at least we got to go ice skating and spend a little time strolling outside of the city in Izmailovsky Park.


Sandra said...

Ahhh, Ice skating. Remember when we tried to shovel lake Margarethe in Grayling so we could skate on it? It was usually around 30 below then too.

Julia M. said...

Do I remember? I think I've told that story about seven times since I've been here! I also remember that as the winter got longer, the snow got more packed and crystallized on Lake Margarethe and made it nearly impossible to shovel off a patch for ice skating. The joys of Northern Michigan!