Published: June 21st 2011June 22nd 2011
Everyone in the village
On Sunday we went to the деревня [the village – it does have a name, but hardly ever anyone refers to the actual name of where the family’s summer house is situated – it’s just the village]. They have quite a large house, an according to them small garden [to me it seemed huge] and a баня [Sauna] – apart from the size all quite typical. So – what do you do out in nowhere? You start cooking :) Preparing and eating food is definitely an integral part of the Russian culture [after two weeks I’ve already heard countless times “пойдем кушать!’’ – Let’s go eat!]. After ‘lunch’ I sat in the garden and started writing my Moscow blog entry – fell asleep on the “качели’’ – ‘garden swing?’. After waking up I helped with some stuff in the garden before we hit the домашний спа [Home Spa a.k.a. sauna].Afterwards you feel like new-born or at least 10 years younger as Olga calls it.
In the evening the whole crowd arrived – it the end we had Olga, her friend Lena with son Shenya, Olga’s daughter Tania [& soon to be born daughter – probably Palina] with husband Ljosha, Babushka
and Dedushka, Olga’s sister Tania and her daughter Nadia + me :) Loads of food on a relatively small table for 10 people and many shot glasses were distributed. Quickly I was part of the family and question after question was flying at me :) [@ Darja & Marija, I’m happy that you guys have at least [as opposed to being married] boyfriends – I think otherwise I would have invented them!]
On Monday I was ‘’handed over’’ to Tania, Olga’s sister. She lives in Murom, a for Russian standards small city [120'000 = size of Lausanne] for Russian standards not far from Nizhny Novgorod [150km]. It took quite a while to get there – traffic jams all over the place. These are mainly due to accidents [I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many crashed cars within a few days]. Signs, white lines, … are nice suggestions by the government – Russians seem to know better how one should drive especially when in a traffic jam. Why wait in the queues if you can drive in the dirt lane next to the actual street? What if this dirt lane is also blocked with cars? Just use the one
Tania, me & Sweta at the Kreml in Suzdal
on the opposite side of the road! I was happy that Tania’s approach was “тише едешь, дальше будешь!” – Chi va piano, va sano, va lontano!
Safe and sound in Murom, Nadia –Tania’s 17-year old daughter – took me for a walk in town; cute and relatively quiet city with some beautifully decorated wooden houses. The next day Tania, her friend Sweta and I went to Suzdal – once again back to the Golden Ring. I wasn’t unhappy about it though, as I initially wanted to visit that town but somehow didn’t manage to. Apparently it’s not far from Murom, we can just drive there and back – it was about 200km one way – fair enough on a Swiss highway, but on Russian roads that took a while! Sweta kept us entertained though – she bombarded me with questions :) We talked about travel destinations – both of them have already travelled quite a bit, one big trip through Italy, France & Spain plus the usual destinations for Russians: Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Thailand [no need for a visa!]. They both have their own business [as far as I understood a cloths shop] – apparently if you don’t have
your own business it’s very hard to get enough money together to travel. My comment was: “anyway in Russia everything is a business” – they laughed and kinda agreed with me ;) Suzdal is a very nice and neat town – Tania and Sweta seemed to be very surprised by this [yes, they actually have never been there]. I’d say probably the most touristic town of the Golden Ring – loads of restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops; and the monasteries and churches are all turned into museums [= entrance fees to everything, literally everything]. Additionally, we visited an outdoor museum of wooden architecture – basically ‘traditional’ Russian countryside houses [exterior and interior]. Given that we have those as well in Switzerland, the most interesting thing for me was to observe Tania’s and Sweta’s reactions: ‘’oh, at my grandparents’ place we’re using these tools’’ – ‘’oh, we have this as well!’’. In Switzerland these museums show how people used to live – in Russia this museum shows how some people still do live!
The next day I went back to Nizhny Novgorod– I guess Tania wanted me to experience “Russkij Extreme”: 3 hour ride in a Marshrutka[kind of a minibus]
Wooden house in Murom
= very hot, noisy and cramped. All you can do is try [!] to sleep :) Olga picked me up in Nizhny Novgorod, fed me and put me on the train to Kazan…
Большое спасибо Olga and Tania – truly a week of Russian hospitality at its excellence !
There are more photos below