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Monday, October 14, 2013

Izmaylovo Park

There is a fabulous collection of 4 books by Phoebe Taplin outlining walks around Moscow.  She is a British Journalist who wrote a weekly column of walks through Moscow for the Moscow times.  These  articles have now been collected into volumes by season.  I love walking and seeing cities but I don't do a good job of wandering.  My goal oriented personality has ruined the ability to wander the streets around my house, so I do very well with something like this that gives me direction, points out all the interesting facts, tells me Metro stops and gives me an itinerary.

With Chad off today we decided to do the October walk "Imperial Izmailovo".  We wanted to get out of the city (or at least pretend we were out of the city) and kick some fallen leaves as we walked along a path.  Our destination was Izmaylovo Park.  One of the largest parks in Europe it is rich with history of Tsars hunting, living and growing up here.

We decided to take our dog which was his first trip in the metro.  I must say that he is acclimating very well to this large city.  He handled going up and down the escalator well, going through the turnstile and on and off the metro.  He got a bit antsy on the subway, but then I did too.

We exited the train directly onto a trail.  We immediately knew it was going to be a good day.  We wound our way through the birch forest past many ponds that Tsar Alexi created by damming up little streams.  The trail was busy with people enjoying the sunny day.  We noticed two main groups, the moms pushing their prams along while smoking a cigarette and elderly women in groups.  People were not out to do hard core exercising, rather they were strolling in the woods.  A few joggers and bikers passed but mainly the atmosphere was one of relaxation.  
Beekeepers house

A side trail to the left took us to a 19th century beekeeper's cottage that was adorned with lovely wood carvings.  The area was closed so we had to peak through the fencing to get a peak.  As we circled past Krazney Pond, we stumbled upon a group of old men working out.  There in the middle of the woods they had created a gym made of old tires.  Different "stations" gave opportunity for different skills.  A  rusted chin-up bar; an old tree trunk with tires dropped over it gave a man a place to practice boxing; old metal bars with tires and various steel pieces created barbells; there was even a barbell made with two old stumps.  Men were busy doing their work-outs moving from station to station, conversing with a friend.  Only in crumbling Russia would this have ever fit in.  We were delighted by this gem of a find.

We continued on, deciding to circle back to our original metro station rather than complete the hike.  We were thrilled with our lazy frolic in the woods with Carbon running free.  We barley skimmed the surface of all there is to discover in this park, but

A street sweeper on a dirt path in the woods - brilliant.

Woods on right, barbed wire metro tracks on left.

hungry from the adventure we found a great stall just beyond the metro where we feasted on chicken and ham filled bread for a scant $3.00.
Pulling our lunch out of the circular oven

- Kris