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Summertime fun in the city, July-August 2003

July-August 2003

    Again I feel a little bit guilty. My stories here appear somewhat late all the time...
In summer, even dirt roads are not all that dirty :-)
Not only a standard, but even Indian summer is over - but only now I have found the time to compile the story of summer travels and looks of Moscow and around. Well, as I announce at the home page of this project, it's neither a news site nor a traditional journalist's coverage of our life. So - I beg your pardon and continue to post pictures which are not a portrait of Moscow events, but rather a slow slide-show of Russian places, those that I love and prefer to visit.

    So, here is summer-2003 as seen on the weekend short trips of a Muscovite. Enjoy the beauty!

As always in my stories here, you can zoom in on any picture. Just click on an image and a larger and better quality photo will open. Many of the photos are worth looking at in postcard size.

Arkhangelskoe, only a few miles from Moscow city limits Kids relax in the park by the riverside Live music in the park

   The weather of early summer was generous enough: quite some sunshine, not too much parching heat, just perfect for visiting places around Moscow where one can relax by the ponds and under the trees without spending several hours to get to the spot. A former palace and a huge park called Arkhangelskoe is the obvious choice for a Saturday trip. In XIX century, it belong to rich nobility, after the revolution of 1917 became a museum, though part of it territory was (and still is) used for a sanatorium for Army officers. It does not matter, actually, who owns it at the moment - the point is, it's beautiful - just look at the photos above.

New onion domes shining Bells hang in a temporary wooden housing waiting for renovation of bell-tower to be completed Elegant architecture of a women's monastery near Yaroslavl

Old lake, old boats, silhouettes of old churches...
   If you have more time - and are ready to spend a night in a local hotel - it makes sense to visit places located farther away. Rostov Velikiy, Yarolslavl, Pereslavl-Zalessky are well described in any tourist guide for Russia (you may check, for example, http://www.goldenring.ru/common/citylist-e.asp for information about some of the marvelous cities online). However, all these places are really interesting even for a person born and living in Moscow - provided this person goes off the beaten path of organized tourist groups and simply looks around and enjoys the countryside and architecture, not only museum expositions. And the road itself - once you leave traffic jams of Moscow and its suburbs - is a part of a relaxing weekend adventure.

Villages by the road - real wooden houses of Russian North At the north, they often do not paint the house walls, and they became black with age Road to sunset

   Of course, in all these old Russian cities one will find lots of splendid Russian churches. Both exteriors and interiors of them make you click the button of your camera all the time… It's nice to have a digital camera with a large storage card - but if still prefer good old film, you better keep many rolls of it on you.

Only painted walls - frescos at their best - Rostov Kremlin Wooden domes  - you want to caress them as if they were a silky skin of a strange beast A view from the Kremlin wall in Rostov the Great Another view from the Kremlin wall in Rostov

Night twilight makes everything a bit magical
Inside the Kremlin in Rostov the Great
Want to try on a real Russian dress?
   There are also sounds worth listening - bells of churches and monasteries add their unique acoustic flavor to what you see. And if you want to try some to blend more into the surrounding picture - try to change your costume. In some tourist attraction they would allow you to try modern replicas of ancient Russian dresses - looks funny and somehow helps you imagine how the place, all these old monastery and Kremlin yards, did look a few centuries ago.

   But enough churches for now! Of course they are attractive, but a bit too standard - it's always more interesting to look at something less usual. Flowerbeds, for instance.

Kuzminki park in Moscow A park near Moscow River terminal Velvet carpets of flowers

Kids love any flower decorations
If it's an anchor on the lawn, we are approaching a pier
The earth - as green movement can dream it ;-)
   This summer for the first time ever Muscovites could enjoy a huge city festival of flowerbeds. All across the city, in many parks (there are lots of them in Moscow) local decorators were presenting their creations to the public. It was fun to observe colorful carpets and even real Earth globes made of plants we see every day. The fantasy and design make the difference: dull lawns became pieces of art, a short evening walk became almost a visit to a gallery in the open air. Of course the kids and the tourists were among those most interested in the expositions, bright colorful spots in the hot haze of summer.

   In fact, Moscow offers all sorts of spectacular colors on its streets, not only flowers. Every summer weekend there is one or another festival, concert, art exhibit or some other outdoor event. It may be a fashion show, or a demonstration of modern sculptures, or a strange mixture of dance performance and street theater - just look at the pictures below.

Modern dancers perform in the street Dance theater performance Fashion show becoming a real theater

A spirit, an insect, or a dream?
A sculpture, so bright in the sunshine...
   These events attract people of all ages, of all lifestyles - and Moscow, as any huge city, offers a huge diversity of tastes, affections, dress styles and even haircuts. You may find an old-fashioned brass orchestra - or acid flashing disco group - and join the fans that share your preferences. Sit, walk, dance, ride - whatever you prefer doing on a weekend...

Dance, dance, dance... Listeners of ska music A music fan at a street concert

   Or you may leave the overheated city, of course, like millions of its dwellers do. Take a car, a train, a boat, or even a river cruise ship - the options here are as diverse as in the city.

River criuse ship returning back to Moscow from a trip A countryside road Speed boats are getting more and more popular

   Where will your favorite transportation take you? If not to your own dacha, then most probably to the banks of waterways that offer extra fun and fresher breeze.

Enjoy a safe and simple rowing boat... There are wonderful places for fishing not too far from Moscow Flat water cayaking on rivers around Moscow brings you to almost a wilderness

A boat can protect you from the water above, not only below...
Swimming in the pouring shower is a special fun
   Of course, outside of the city you are more exposed to elements and sometimes they may show you their powers, old - but still efficient. Thunderstorms, occasional hails and frequent rains are all parts of the picture - and can add more fun if you know how to enjoy all these natural actions. Have you ever tried swimming under a pouring rain? If no, you should - it's really special and nothing is making the river water unexpectedly and immediately feel so smooth and warm as a heavy rain...

Clovers last long, but even they are dead by October Fountains in the center of the city are alive only in summer and early autumn It's now already too cold in the parks for folk song concerts

   Well, it's already too cold in Moscow, we've seen the first night frosts and all golden leaves are just rotten piles by mid-October when I'm posting this story. And the they turned off city fountains a week ago - until the end of next April. That also marks the end of summertime.

Bikes, flowers, and fountains will have to wait for 6 months...
   OK, time to finish this story, time to store away the bike and change the tires to winter ones on your car. For almost six months it's going to be cold here - until April melts away everything that winter brings us. Still, there will be new stories here in the meantime, of course, maybe even some colorful fall photos that are already on my hard disk - but do not fit in this posting.

   See you soon again at these pages!

Andrey - asebrant@online.ru

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