Journal Feb. 13 Moscow and beyond · February 13, 2007
From discovering McCafe to Maslenitsa festivals - Everythings an adventure. February 13, 2007

Tuesday February 13, 2007


We woke up this morning and it was slightly warmer in Moscow but we are back to the misty gloomy grey sky. We walked a few blocks to find a McDonalds because the breakfast at the Marriott was very expensive. McDonald has a McCafe that is not like in the . It is more like a Starbucks inside a McDonalds. We had a couple of cappuccinos and a very tasty apple strudel pastry. They even serve on real plates and silverware.


We stopped by the Harley Davidson shop in Moscow . They had really cool shirts that had a picture of St.Basil’s cathedral and I would have gotten one for my brother. However, the price was $60 so no, no shirt for Jim. I did think of you though.


Traffic in Moscow is a nightmare. Under communism there were not that many cars and now there are a lot but the roads have not all grown to accommodate. We left our hotel at 9:30 to go to our medical exam. Of course before that we had to go to the adoption agency office and pick up some papers. The exam is a long story best not explained here right now. Be sure to ask us about it when you see us/talk to us.


By the time we finally got out of Moscow it was snowing and the traffic was heavy. We arrived in the region too late to go to the orphanage as they close at 5pm. Instead we met with our Russian representative and she went over with us what to expect in court tomorrow morning and who all would be there, what the judge and/or prosecutor might ask etc. So after a little coaching we were ready to get out of the hotel.


I had read in the Moscow Times (English language paper) that this week is a pagan-Christian holiday called Maslenisa. See  for all the details and recipes for blini. If you click on history and look at 2005 there are photos. I am sure there are for all the years.   Basically it was a big deal in Moscow and Yaroslavl has a big festival also. For a week they celebrate before the start of Lent. It is traditional to eat Blini which is like a French crepe. They come with many toppings and stuffings. Honey topped sounded good. We had them tonight and ours were stuffed with some sort of meat filling that was pretty tasty. The Festival was held tonight in Yaroslavl along the Volga River in a park. Never mind how cold it is out. These people know how to get out and have fun. There was a reenactment. Each day has a theme. Today was a day of merriment. So they had people dressed up and they played games such as sack races, jump rope, tug of war etc. Very audience participated. We watched all this and took some good photos. The blini were washed down with a beverage called Mead. It was a bit like beer but sweet like honey and more like apple cider. Very tasty also. They had fireworks, and will each night this week. Tomorrow’s theme is Sweet Tooth Day. The paper says – On this day the wife’s mother should invite all her sons in law for blini and at street fairs  entertainers play out the kindly mothers in law cooking for their sons in law. It seems funny that there are several days devoted to the Mother in law.
Anyhow on the first day you were supposed to construct a straw effigy of winter and on the last day you burn it and put the ashes on your garden for good crops in the next year. Regardless,lots of vodka, mead and blini.


After we got good and cold we went with our adoption representative here to a little café for some traditional Russian dinner. Very good. Scott had fried salmon and I had a veal chop with a sauce of mushrooms and some cream. Very hardy food. Reminds me of German. We haven’t had Borscht yet though.


Susanna and Laine will be happy that we included here some photos of horses that were at the festival. Kids were also sledding on a hill and parents don’t use strollers in the winter. They have little things that look like baby carriages on skies. Well off to bed to get some rest before court tomorrow.