Our final weekends of Moscow parks.
As is my habit on lazy weekend afternoons, particularly when we wake up too late to do much in the way of day tripping, Maki and I spent a good part of both our final weekends enjoying Moscow’s parks. The first of these two weekends, we trekked out the the Botanical Garden, one of the few remaining parks I had yet to visit. The park there is rather green, as it’s connected to a big arboretum.
We made our way through the park and onward into the adjacent All-Russian Exhibition Center, formerly the Exhibition of the Achievements of the People’s Economy, which remains one of the most gloriously Soviet of Moscow parks, particularly since Gorky Park got its facelift in 2011. Seriously, I like to go just to take in the Soviet charm.
When the park opened in 1935, each of the republics had a little exhibition center, most of which are fairly defunct now. Well, except the Armenia one, which sells Armenian cognac. And the Kyrgyzstan one, where there’s an airplane ticket counter and assorted Kyrgyz souvenirs. Also on display are the various achievements in technology.
Maki and I started by buying some super fresh donuts, hot out of the fryer and coated in powdered sugar. They’re amazing. And then, we stopped in one of the many shashlyk joints to have a little snack. We were intrigued by the one claiming Ossetian cuisine.
Mostly, we were intrigued to try their “homemade beer” and their “Ossetian pies.” The former was one of the most vile things I’ve ever tried, a mix of flavors of coffee, porter, and kvas (a fermented bread drink), lacking in carbonation, and a bit thick. The latter, which we ordered with spinach and cheese, turned out, much as expected, to be basically similar to khachapuri, a Georgian cheese bread. I’m sure the real stuff is a hell of a lot better, but was interesting to try, anyway.
The following week, we decided to stay local on Saturday afternoon, heading to our local park for a food festival. Though it turned out to be a terrible deal — with an admission price that guaranteed basically nothing, and with few samples to be had — it was pleasant to while away an afternoon in our local park, which we occasionally go running in.
Also, I had excellent coffee. Mostly, the place was good for the laughs — the crazy queuing behind any place serving samples, and the crazy pensioners, who could enter the festival for free. This dude got really into dancing.
Yep, pretty sure that the cats were better provided for.
Still, even if the samples left something to be desired, given the $15 admission, it was a pleasant day in the neighborhood, well-spent in the little park I’ve always enjoyed. This area of Moscow, which is probably going to be up-and-coming in the coming years (but is really not there yet) has always struck me as very pleasant — by far my favorite place I’ve lived in Moscow.