This weekend we experienced the wonders of a small provincial Russian town. These “wonders” took approximately one hour to see. There was not much to see in Uglich, we went to the Kremlin there and to a monastery, both were pretty and had interesting histories but that was the extent of it. Apparently Ivan the Terribles son died in the Kremlin: at University we were taught that he was murdered by someone who wanted to be next in line for the throne. This is wrong according to the tour guide. he actually died while playing with a knife: he had an epileptic fit and stabbed himself. She also told us about the colours of the domes and what they symbolise- tour guides in Russia are not allowed to tell tourists that the red domes symbolise blood. It is actually forbidden! Russia is strange. We also had a bus tour around the town; such highlights included a hydro-electric power plant and hundreds of Dachas.
Yesterday evening Ali came round to my flat before we went out, and met Tanya! Tanya was very excited to meet her, I have in fact been told off many a time for not having any friends around. Ali was bombarded with food, drink and questions before we were told to go to my room. I think Russian women take their duties as a hostess very seriously, as Ali was offered every type of food under the sun (more accurately, in the fridge) and was told to pour herself more juice every time she had a sip.
Today Tanya asked me what retirement homes are like in England, if music teachers can get jobs in England and if they would have to speak English and if English men marry Russian women. I got the hint that her plan for the future is to marry an English man and move to England where she can teach piano and retire. She was quite disappointed that I do not know any eligible 50 year old bachelors for her! I had to break it to her gently that I simply don’t have friends that age.
Today we also went to the cinema to see “Yaroslavl, 1000 years ago”, which was the story of Yaroslav the Brave who founded Yaroslavl by, it seems, fighting lots of people and killing a bear. The film was, as expected, hilariously patriotic with awful acting and an over the top amount of action. Experiences of Russian cinema have not been successful so far. Although, after the film we saw one of the actors in the cinema lobby. We were star struck!
Since Wednesday it has snowed pretty much every day! It hasn’t settled yet luckily but the temperature is plummeting- soon it will be time for the michellin man coats, snow boots and fur hats! All of which I have yet to buy.