|One of our neighbours...|
After making it through our first night, it was time to work out where the hell we were and get our bearings. Without access to the internet, an English map, or an English speaking guide we decided that we would take a softly softly approach to discovering our neighbourhood, not venturing beyond sight of our building on day one. In this limited area we managed to find another supermarket and shopping centre, which was both bigger and fresher than the one we found the day before which was a great relief, nothing worse than the smell of dodgy meat in a supermarket. So we were able to enjoy a more nutritious meal on night two, although still the meat here is nothing to write home about. We still hadn't managed to find a homewares store, so were still drying ourselves with handtowels and sharing the 1 knife in the apartment.
|Statue at our local mall.|
The next day we decided to venture slightly further afield, knowing that there was a large park in our area that housed a swimming pool which was used in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Just so you can understand what the city of Moscow is like, it has more area of park per capita of population than any other city in the world, I think it is 2.5 times above the average at about 18m2 of park per inhabitant, compared to the average of 7. Your address doesn't give you any real indication of exactly where your building will be just an idea of roughly where you will find it. Rather than every building sitting side by side along a street they have a number of little avenues and streets coming off the main street (which is the one listed in your address) with apartment complexes dotted around these. Between these apartment complexes are great swathes of parks, walkways and playgrounds, so you can walk to wherever you want to go, or if you are game enough you can jump in your car and venture out onto the roads... In fact within a 5 minute walk of our apartment there is probably more greenspace than in the whole of Blenheim, and that is only the space we have discovered so far, I know there is more. These spaces are used by all manner of people, getting to where they want to go, walking the dog, kids playing in the playground spaces, or people kicking a ball around one of the designated sports cages. Adjacent to every apartment complex it seems there are both public and private playgrounds, fitness stations and sports cages where everyone can play.
|Walking in the park|
Anyway back to our park, 50 Years of October Park is huge, covered in groves of trees, silver birch, oaks and chestnuts to name a few, at present they are extremely beautiful with their autumnal cloak and covered in freshly fallen leaves of all shades of yellow and orange. This park is dotted with a number of little playgrounds for the kids, probably more than 10, as well as the ocassional art installation. Kids made the most of the outdoor space and checked out as many of the playground areas as they could. We have since made use of the park as our access way to the local Metro Station, as it is a nice way to walk home rather than down the side of a busy congested street. It is funny taking the kids through there though as they tend to look rather underdressed compared to the local kids who are already rugging up in their winter jackets, hats and scarves, while our kids prefer to still get out in T-shirts and shorts, Jimmy even wondering through barefoot and in his t-shirt the other day which drew some interesting looks from the locals. So we are looking forward to seeing Jimmy's promised nude roll in the snow once the snow comes.
|Moscow State University from 50 Years of October Park|
The walk home from the park uncovered a third, larger supermarket close to home, so we now have plenty of options within 5 minutes walk to get our groceries.
|These are all shoe stores...|
During the rest of week One we ventured right down to our nearest Metro Station (Prospect Vernadskogo) and had a look around the shopping centre there, finding a mall where one whole floor was dedicated to shoe stores, there would have been at least 40 shoe shops in this mall on the first floor, selling a massive range of shoes, so were able to pick up a couple of bargain pairs of boots for Molly and Angela for the coming winter.
Now that we could find our way to the nearest Metro and back, we were ready to adventure out into the rest of Moscow, but more about that in a later post.