Yesterday afternoon I took the girls to a wonderful children's park located behind the White House (Russian Parliament). It's smack in the center of
On the other side of the park, facing the White House, is one of the "Seven Sisters" Stalin skyscrapers--the residential building at Krasnopresenskaya. Through the trees in this second picture you can make out the brick of the American Embassy apartments. (Isn't that cool, Dina? Want me to take more pics of your future home?).
In any case, how I wish I had known about this park earlier!!! How pretty it will be once all the flowers are in bloom. Next time we're there, we'll bring our scooters and roller skates. I took so many pictures of the park, its surroundings, the route we walked to get to it, and, of course... the girls. These windows caught my eye as we approached the park.
The marked contrast between centuries-old architecture and brand-new expensive structures was particularly interesting in this neighborhood; the shot with the reflection of a cathedral in the black granite business center's windows is a favorite.
I also had fun using my telescopic lens for the first time; I'm particularly fond of the close-up of the ladybug and "Golden Fish" fairy tale sculptures.
Within the park, there were winding paved paths, a small chapel, various sculpture gardens based on fairy tales, a life-sized chess board with sculptures, and playgrounds. Look how thrilled Katya was to become part of a chess game! She very deliberately chose her role and how to move. How giddy she was when she won against her imaginary foe.
I used my telescopic lens to take my first real "people" shots today. It was thrilling--but unsettling. I can only imagine what this couple is going through; the possibilities are endless. An affair? A death in the family? News of a terminal illness? They were there for at least two hours; I couldn't tell if they had a child playing nearby or not. The woman was clearly in shock; as I watched them earlier they were much more distraught. I felt so very bad for them.
Now here are the girls in their "Yes, yes, it's really spring!" glory. (Yes, Mom, Katya insisted on picking out her own clothes, and Natalia refuses to wear her headbands any other way. I'm picking my battles).
I must say, the mixture of classical fairy tale themes and the squirrel from "Ice Age" was a bit odd. The girls, however, didn't mind a bit!
For the first time that I can remember, both girls got to just play in dirt. I bet they weren't supposed to... but no one scolded us so I let them just have fun. This wheelbarrow will probably be covered in flowers in May.
This swan will be in bloom, too; there were many other animals set to burst into color, as well.
They made up elaborate stories at each separate play area; what a splendid time. My "Hannah Montana"-loving, trying-to-grow-up-so-fast little girls were just that for a few hours: little girls.
Here are the rest of my pictures from the day.
On our way back to the car, we passed this driveway sign: "Do Not Park In Front Of The Gates! Children Will Go Without Milk And Bread!" I think that there might be an orphanage at this spot associated with the church I describe next. If so, what a cheerful location.
The singing coming from the yellow church was spellbinding.
We couldn't go inside, however, because I had no head scarf and the girls were covered in dirt. I held up my movie camera and hoped that I could capture some of the sound; listen closely! The wind became quite loud; I was only able to record clearly for ten seconds.