This morning we got up late after our night out on the town last night. Today is also when we planned to visit Mashaâ€™s motherâ€™s home and Dacha (summer shack) where you spend time in the garden having fresh vegetables from the garden and barbecue pork over the fire. To get there, we had to take a train which left at around 1pm.
We got to the station on time and played some games with Grisha, laughed and chatted, all the while, the train had sneaked up at a different platform without us knowing. Finally when it was past the time of us to see the train prepping, we asked, and they said it had changed platforms. (Thanks for the notice!) So we ran to the other train and found that almost every seat had already filled up. Luckily we found some semi-together which at least provided us with a comfortable ride to the country.
As the train left the station, we stopped at the next and the train became more and more crowded. I was thankful that we got seats because a lot of the people were on the train for quite a while and had to stand the entire way. I felt a little guilty as we were relaxing and listening to ipods, playing Angry Birds on the iphone, and overall laughing and chatting while others had to painfully stand during the long journey.
We then made it to Dorohoga and left the station to look shop for drinks/food. It had rained so things were muddy, and we made our way to the market. While going through the muddy streets, there were slats of wood laid down to create a bridge between puddles that we were all lined up to use. The fruits and vegetables all looked really fresh and rural and we then went inside a shop to buy more drinks.
With foodstuffs in hand, we went to find a car to drive us to Mashaâ€™s aunt and uncleâ€™s house where the Dacha is. We arrived and we went straight to the garden and began munching on some pizza cooked by mashaâ€™s mom. We then took a little break and I helped Zhenya cut some wood for the barbecue (by axe!) and then retired to the daybed with Katya to relax while everything was being prepared (King Ben!) :D
Katya and I had funny conversations and then Grisha came to show me around the garden. He took me to each fruit in the garden that you could eat from the vine/bush and taught me the Russian word, and I taught the English word. Grisha has been great. Despite not being able to directly communicate with me, heâ€™s been interested in teaching, laughs at my pronunciations, actively repeats when I teach him English, and actively listens asking what Iâ€™m talking about. Itâ€™s been really fun to see how heâ€™s grown.
We then had our first round of amazing pork barbecued, with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes with dill, and of course chocolates and other sweets. The family then presented Grisha with a couple of presents, including an air pellet type gun. After round one of dinner, we went and shot the gun at bottles/cans as a game. I came in 2nd place to my amazement.
After this, everyone sat down to eat againâ€”I was already about to burst that I felt I couldnâ€™t eat anymore. I laid down for a little bit and gained my strength to at least a little bit more. It was delicious so hard to resist.
After more relaxing, while it was still light, it was about 9:30pm and we needed to get back to the station to start our way back to Moscow. Katya and I did a little walk around the town and then we were ready to leave. We got to the station and started our journey home.
I had wanted to do some night photography but the weather hadnâ€™t been agreeable so on our way home from the train station, Katya mentioned that we were near Red Square and that it was a nice night for pictures. I was so tired from the mounds of food weâ€™d eaten all day that I said no, but in the end when the station actually arrived, just before the doors closed Katya and I jumped out to go walk around the Kremlin and Red Square for some pictures.
Of course as we approached, we noticed the gates were closed, and there was a special event going on that prohibited people from walking on Red Square while they deconstruct the stands and stuff that had been erected for the event. I could make a couple of pictures from the front, but I was a little disappointed that we werenâ€™t able to walk around the square freely. We decided to go around the back of the square to see if we could get in, but again it was blocked off and we continued down towards the river which still offered a spectacular view of St. Basilâ€™s cathedral at night. We continued on walking toward Tretyakovskaya and took pictures along the way. We then made it home exhausted and well fed from the day.