Saturday, 12 April 2008

From Russia with love...

After surviving the gigantic human void that is T5 (there is even a Gordon Ramsay restaurant called 'Plane Food' eeek), we arrived in Moscow with baggage intact. Phew!
Moscow is home to the Fisher family; Kathy's old BBC colleague Daniel, his amazing wife Emily, and their fantastic kids Jude, Amy and Angus. It was sod's law that Daniel was on a course in London during our visit but Emily and Jude picked us up at the airport.
Russians are crazee drivers. There is everything on the roads from Lada jallopies to spanking new 4x4 tankmobiles. The outskirts of Moscow is all birch forests and dachas - the wooden huts where Russians escape to in the summer. Moscow is MASSIVE, high rise flats and new building works reach to the furthest point on the horizon. Emily tells us a new shopping centre is opened every day. The one round the corner form their flat even has an M&S and a C&As (remember them?)in it. Moscovites love their cars and their was a 10 / 12 storey car showroom across the way from Emily's flat. The cost of living has doubled in 2 years.
Emily and the children have adapted brilliantly to Russian life. They have their own nanny, a salt-of-the-earth lady called Marina (she makes a mean Borsht - beetroot soup) , and Jude and Amy attend the local nursery. Most Russian families only have 1 child. The babushka (granny) rules the roost, and the children must wrap up in woolly hats and scarves to keep away colds - even when it is as warm as when we arrived. Jude has produced some stunning artwork at his nursery, and both he and Amy are fluent in Russian.
Russian ladies are something else. They love dressing up in lots of Italian clothes, gold bling and the highest heels imaginable.
Posing for photos Russians style (no smiling)
We have been blessed with great weather so far; upwards of 20C each day. Red Square and the Kremlin is as stunning as you'd imagine - if missing a few tanks and marching soldiers. These days they have a Lenin and Stalin lookalike posing for photos. We got chased away by one seller for trying on big furry hats and taking photos. We tried in vain to see Lenin, as the tomb wasn't open either day. On the edge of Red Square is Gum, an expensive Harrods style shopping centre full of designer brands and prices. We could only afford some peroshki - little bread dunplings filled with apple, cabbage and mince.
My favourite spots were visiting Victory Park and the Moscow Metro. Victory Park is dedicated to the memory of the Great Patiotic War (what Russians call WW2). It has all the things I love - big monuments, tanks, planes and trenches to run around in. Loved it. Even had a Baltika beer for breakfast, as is the Russian way. Beer was officially made an alcoholic drink only recently. We had our picture taken in our specially designed KWT t-shirts (exclusively designed by 'Sam & Jess' that funky new London label :-) ). Much to the amusement of 2 old soldiers. They wanted to know where my kilt was!
The Metro system is vast and many of the stations in the centre are decorated with soviet era mosaic, statues and marble. The trains like the car drivers don't hang about and I got my foot caught in the door of one just as it was about to leave...
The best times of all were hanging out with Emily and the kids. Much fun was had visiting the park, rolling down hills, playing pirates, opening suprise parcels of emergency supplies of Cheerios, eating strawberries, making biscuits and eating cake. Russians love cake, they can't get enough of it. Kathy was in second heaven. Bye Emily and Co. We had an amazing time. Take care.


Mum said...

Hi Athole and Kathy
enjoyed sharing your trip of Moscow,it looks a really wonderful place.Had Beatrice and Iain in for Dinner tonight along with Sheila Cooper good food and good chat.Mary McLullich is very ill and is in Turriff Hospital so dad and I are going up there tomorrow.
Take Care
Love Mum and Dad XXX

Mr M said...

Thanks mum and dad! It took us ages to figure out how to use the keyboard in English!!! Never thought about that before we left. It is really very easy too. Sorry to hear about Mary.
Love Athole and Kathy x

Biff Senior said...

Shame about the Dons getting hammered by a bunch of Dumfries Queens

In case you have forgotten the BBC does a really good sports web site with excellent reports on Scottish Cup semi least it means you wont miss the Dons in a final!!

Atoli said...

Ya cheeky bam!
Needed to wear my Dons woolly hat for the first time today. Yekaterinburg is fr fr FREEZING!

Biff Senior said...

well at least it comes in handy for something....hey Jock n Roll!!!