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Janaline's World Journey “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Shishken, learning to ice-skate in the Russian countryside

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Wednesday, 3 October 2012 | Views [1993]

My friends Alexander and Anastasia's weekend house in Shishken

My friends Alexander and Anastasia's weekend house in Shishken

When my Russian friends Alexander and Anastasia heard that I have never actually ice-skated they decided it was time to teach me. They picked me up early Saturday morning and we headed out to their weekend house about 1h drive just outside of Moscow close to a small town named Shishken.


They have a small pond in their yard and this had frozen over, seeing as it was -25 the whole previous week!


We had a lovely barbeque for lunch accompanied by vodka. Russians do drink a lot of Vodka. Alexander took a bottle of vodka out of the fridge and declared that this is the lunch vodka!! After every couple of bites of food we had a shot of vodka, and much to my amazement we finished the whole bottle of vodka by the time lunch was over. By now I was warmed up more than enough so that I wouldn’t feel the cold while walking outside.

We went for a stroll through the snow covered forest; I even got to stand on a frozen river!!

The forest looked like something out of a fairy tale. I couldn’t believe I was actually walking through the snow in -20 degrees Celsius and not freezing to death!

It amazed me that they even took their baby boy with them on this walk; he got dressed up in a mini snow suit and looked quite happy being outside.


That afternoon I got my first ice-skating lesson. Dressed warmly, looking like the oros man in my thermal coat, adorning some extra skates that Anastasia had, I was scared and not ready for this.

I was sure that I would only end up falling down and hurting myself not to mention making a big idiot out of myself. Getting myself to go out onto the ice took some self motivation but I did it.

It turns out that I am a very, very bad ice-skater. I have no balance and can’t do anything other than move in a very tiny circle. I kept falling over as well, Alexander’s answer to this was to get me to hold the snow shovel out in front of me as I moved, and this actually worked!!!

I did look like an idiot clinging onto the snow shovel and basically walking around on the ice. What made me feel even more like an idiot though was when their 4 year old girl came zooming past me and then tried to show me how it is supposed to be done!!

The best part about ice-skating was that we got homemade glint wine (mulled wine) when we finished.

I sat on the bench in my skates really appreciating this sweet hot drink!!


My first ice-skating experience left me shivering and bruised.

Tags: ice-skate, janaline smalman, russia, snow, travel



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