A Writer's Day in Moscow

Moscow is a city of wonder especially in the winter. The hardest adjustment here is learning to grocery shop in bursts. While we have one-stop shopping available, it’s not as convenient to either get to (you have to have your car to haul the groceries back) and unless you get there when they open or very early in the a.m., stores such as Metro (Cash&Carry) and Auchan are so busy that you have to add hours to your shopping trip. And of course, there is the sticker shock.  I paid the equivalent of $9.00 for a pint of raspberries yesterday. I needed/wanted them for a dessert I’m making for a dinner. A luxury, yes, but sometimes in the cold and often gray days of winter the simple burst of red from a raspberry can be paradise.

I prefer to support my local vendors when I can, which means a trip out to the kiosks that are sprinkled all around the metro stations. So many of you ask me what a typical day in Moscow is like–there is no “typical” day. But here’s a glimpse…

I began the day with my usual morning routine–coffee, prayer, coffee, writing. Did I say coffee? Actually I don’t drink that much, and keep my caffeine intake low. But I do enjoy that hot drink to coax me awake. Then I prepared to go shopping for fresh fruits&veggies, some flowers, and maybe even take-out lunch from the local kebab/shashlik place. As it was a Russian holiday I was lucky enough to get my husband to go with me, to carry the treasures. I didn’t tell him about my plan to take pics all along the way, so in one picture you’ll see his “okay, how many photos of an alley are you going to take?” expression. Yup, I married a saint and I know it.

A Glimpse of Where I want to go Later!
A Glimpse of Where I want to go later!!

When we walked out of the embassy gate I looked to my left as we crossed the street and spied where I knew I’d be later. Can you see the skaters in between the fence posts? It’s part of the biggest ice rink I’ve ever been on–they flood and freeze a soccer field. And it’s only a 5 minute walk from my door!

My Down Coat Is a Lifesaver!
My Down Coat is a Lifesaver!

Back to the grocery shopping. Check out the snow–we’re in the midst of a record-breaking year for snowfall and temperatures. We stomped and climbed through snow to get to the alley that we cut through to get to the major kiosk area near us–at the Barrikadnaya Metro Station.  Notice the statue that is our protector as we walk through the alley. It’s only one of several magnificent statues on this particular Seven Sister building–there are 7 of these gothic-inspired, “wedding cake” buildings that were commissioned and built in the 1950’s.

There are kiosks for flowers, beer, bread, kebabs, fruit and veggies, rottisserie chicken..pretty much whatever you need when you’re going to or from the Metro on your way home or to some romantic rendezvous (I put this in here to keep your attention). Because of the heavy snow and flat rooftops of the kiosks, the owners have to shovel off the snow, which can be a danger to those of us walking below!

And more alley--yes, I'm taking this photo, too!
And more alley–yes, I’m taking this photo, too!
Our Shortcut Through the Alley
Our Shortcut Through the Alley
Alley Sentry
Alley Sentry
Barrikadnaya Metro Station--Kiosk Heaven
Barrikadnaya Metro Station–Kiosk Heaven

I found most of the fruits and veggies I sought, minus any fresh herbs like parsley and mint, and green onions. It’s interesting to me what can be available depending on the day and time of year.

While I bought flowers, Steve went over to the shaslik place and got us our yummy lunch–tortilla wraps stuffed with  roasted meat, veggies and a great sauce, then put in a panini press. Our teenaged kids were grateful for the snack.
Fruit and Veggie Stand
Fruit and Veggie Stand
Shoveling snow off the Prodykty (Produce) Kiosk
Shoveling snow off the Prodykty (Produce) Kiosk
My-My's, Can we go there for lunch?
My-My’s, Can we go there for lunch?

I was distracted for a moment when I saw the new My My (moo-moo) restaurant that’s opened near the zoo, also near the Barrikadnaya Metro. My-My’s has a tasty, affordable selection of Russian faire to include borscht, beet salads, roasted meats and pemeni, the Russian verson of tortellini/ravioli.

On the ice in front of one of the Seven Sisters
On the ice in front of one of the Seven Sisters

I was lucky to be able to finish out the day as I’d hoped–on the ice. My kids took these pics, and while I’ve come a long way from skating during the Blizzard of ’77 in Buffalo, New York, it’s a great thing to be able to get on the ice again, all these, um, many years later.

I hope you get to go out and make the most of your day, wherever you are, whatever your abilities, limitations, blessings, or crosses.

It’s how you feel, dahlink, not the date on the birth certificate!

Yes, I'm really on skates!
Yes, I’m really on skates!

3 Comments on “A Writer's Day in Moscow

  1. Hi Geri,

    I didn’t know you had a website! How exciting. You look fantastic. I love the video with President Obama. Isn’t it great to see him in person. I’ve been lucky enough to see him 3 times. Shaking his hand once and talking to him once too (different times though).

    I’m trying to become a fan but I don’t know where to click! Ugh! I will look again.

    I just wanted to let you know how HAPPY I am for you! Enjoy living in Russia! That is one place I wanted to see before moving to the states and I never got a chance to.

    Diana Raia

    1. Thanks, Diana. It is a blessing to be able to live in such a fascinating place. You will come back overseas again–after our time in Italy together, it’s in your blood!

  2. Hey you! I’ve wanted to get back to you so often and it seems like now is the time! How are you and your family? The snow seems to go on forever. We got 41 inches in Feb. and it lasted for a little over a month!! Skating would be great fun for you and your family! I was in MA from 2/24 – 3/10 .. Stacey (my 36 yr old daugher) had a baby girl on March 2!!! A boy, Benjamin is 2 on 3/18 and takes good care of her. She is so cute and cuddly…does nothing but sleep and eat! Looking forward to hearing back from you. I’m hopeful that by now you are doing well and looking forward to Spring! LOL Talk w/you soon! Jeanne

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