You might be expecting that living in Moscow you get bored with the snow, the snow machines, the cold, the snow machines, the ice rinks, the snow machines, the snowmen and the snow.
And if you ask my Jaded Big Brother, you might be right. He is a bit over layering up to go out. At least until he and Mama have a snowball fight or we go sledging. Again. Plus, he’s just realised he gets to do skiing as part of his PE classes at school soon. Coooooooooool.
I, on the other hand, really like winter in Russia. Apart from the possibility of seeing snow machines there are outings like the time we went to see the Moscow Ice Festival out in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill.
Icy Moscow is a collection of ice sculptures specially carved from large blocks of ice brought in from some of the lakes around Russia.
Baikal is particularly famous for the quality of its ice, for example.
You can even sit on some of them!
But not just sculptures! When we arrived, we found there were also ice slides to go whooshing down, with large padded crash zones at the bottom in case you got really wizzy. Which we didn’t, initially, as we were motoring by the seat of our overtrousers alone. But then Mama gave in and bought us another plastic toboggan tray for extra slipperyness. Totally worth it, and highly recommended.
There’s an even more impressive sliding experience somewhere off to the back but, say it with me, we had to pay extra, so we didn’t. We did, however, find a sculpture carved in the shape of a barrel that you could get inside and slide around in, in defiance of any kind of health and safety caution.
If you get hungry or a bit chilly there are plenty of little stalls about selling warming hot drinks and food.
And at night they light it all up!
So when is it? Well, even in Moscow, the sort of weather you can maintain large ice sculptures in is not the something you can guarantee will last and last, so they time the Moscow Ice Festival to coincide with the New Year holidays. Which means December 29th to January 9th.
And of course, 2018 being the year of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, this year the Ice Festival will see ice sculptures representing the different countries attending, and not just reproducing the capital of Russia and various animals in transparent cold melty glass.
Are you ready to see the Eiffel Tower (if not the leaning Tower of Pisa) carved entirely out of ice? Doubtless we will be going, so watch this space.
The website of the Moscow Ice Festival, aka Ледовая Москва (in Russian).
This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about some cold, hard facts about ice.
Address: Poklonnaya Hill, Victory Park, Moscow
Admission: 300 roubles, or thereabouts. More if you forget your sledge. Even more if you want to go on the big hill.
Getting there: The nearest metro station, which is really right next door, is Park Pobedy on the dark blue line.
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