February. The last full month of winter. The last of your already spent patience with the cold, ice, multiple layers, dry skin, frozen toes. And one of the last places you'd probably think to go during this month is Moscow. And yet...
here we are.
Not realizing that I should have said, "Um, let's wait til July!" when my friend Julie called and asked what I thought about a little trip to Moscow during the last week of February, I instead replied by checking ticket prices and googling Russian visa application procedures. And while the next time she calls with a similar proposal, I will most definitely say, "Let's wait til July!", I am glad I got to see Moscow in its fully frozen, minus 18 degree glory. I should come clean and admit that it was minus 18 on the Celsius scale - which I later learned is only about -1 Fahrenheit. As a Green Bay native, -1 Fahrenheit was a typical, if not practically unseasonably warm day in any given January or February. But while I was in Moscow, I wrote emails to family and friends, with the subject heading: "18 F*CKING DEGREES BELOW ZERO!!!!" And it sounds so much more dramatic, more respectable than "ONE F+CKING BELOW!!!", right? But really, once you get below zero, it's just cold period.
|Me and my two wool sweaters, long underwear, three long sleeve t-shirts, snow boots, wool coat, and fleece hat outside the Bolshoi|
and living rooms
seeking reprieve from the cold. And while we warmed up, we stocked up. On pelmeni, chocolates, massages, Soviet nostalgia, khajapuri, blini, opera, fur and matrioshkas. For all of the heavy comfort food, the steaming hot saunas, and a certain camaraderie that comes from frozen masses huddled together, maybe February was the best time to visit after all.
More on all of these places and the things we stocked up on ... next.