This is the standard way to eat in summer – the shaslik. Whether by the river, at the lake, in the forest or at the dacha, these kebabs are marinaded for days and it’s quite a science. Not just anyone can prepare the perfect shaslik. Men do the cooking, as with our BBQs.
May 1st is the Communist Party holiday – “nash prazdnik” – and this is when garden implements are dug out of storage, the weather gets finer, the last of the muddy slush is firming up into hard-caked clay and grass even begins to come out.
May 9th is the holiday weekend, when those with dachas head out to them to open them up, start digging and planting and this goes on for a few weekends until the summer proper arrives. Not everyone does that though, especially these days with travel freed up for Russians. I don’t know what proportion still go to the dachas but in the case of my ex-gf, she’s long ceased staying there and attending to the garden.
That’s what Russians used to do but with the westernization and throwing open of the borders, you’ll find them all over the world. This is my friend’s holiday away:
… and this is another friend’s holiday away:
The tourist route
All very nice but you run into hordes of foreigners.
The Volga cruise
If you have the money, you book early and join one of these boats basically looking at the river, eating, drinking or … ahem. Too crowded for mine.
The river itself
Associated with the river and forest and situated between the two, are the camps. They range from high end to the ones the average family can afford for a few weeks. This is one I stayed in:
… and this was the beach on the side of the river in the evening:
The lake and forest
This particular lake is called Blue Lake, noteworthy for being 4 degrees Celsius all year round, which makes it inviting in winter for mad swimmers. Just a quick note – half the pics today are not mine but I’ve chosen, as far as possible, shots which are typical of the situation. Most of my shots have my ex-gf plonked in the middle, so they’re unusable in a post.
There can be dachas nearby but often people drive out for the day. There are three things to do – eat, drink, swim and … four, there are four things to do … usually in the back seat.
This one’s not in summer of course but this sort of thing happens all the time – picnics in the forest These are some people I knew:
If you don’t like women and girls, you’re going to be in some trouble in Russia, as they’re everywhere – about 57% of the population. This is especially noticeable in the town as summer descends and the thighs and midriffs get their first taste of the sun. It’s also so at the dachas.
Another shot from October below but the principle is the same – the forest is an all year round affair. These are some people I knew. The lady on our right features in my book: