Nolan, Margaret and I (Ashley) visited the Kremlin one day while we were in Moscow. You can see the walls of the Kremlin from Red Square. Kremlin means “fortress inside a city.” Inside the fortress there are five palaces and four cathedrals.
Later that night I went with Jane to a ballet inside one of the palaces. The ballet was excellent. The costumes, dancing and scenery were all the best I had ever seen. Although, I have only been to the ballet a few times when I was a kid, so I don’t have much to compare it to. Some of the best ballet companies in the world are located in Russia. Both the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow are in the top 5 ballet companies in the world.
A few other surprising things I have found out about Russia. The people are more hospitable and kind than I anticipated. People are always giving up their seats on the metro for our kids, offering to help carry our luggage or stroller up the long flights of stairs, and sharing their umbrellas when we are standing in lines in the rain, although they may be annoyed at us for not having one with us. Most people are helpful and understanding when I ask them in English to help me find something.
Another thing I have found surprising is their love of American food chains. There is McDonalds, KFC and Burger King on almost every major street. They also love to eat fries with cheese sauce. Although the cheese sauce does not taste like the cheese sauce we eat in America. Instead of ordering a soda with their meals, most Russians order a beer or Kvas with their fast food. Kvas is a non-alcoholic drink made from rye bread.
The third thing that I have found interesting is that people have no problem telling us our kids are not dressed warm enough. When we arrived in Russia, the weather was ideal. We wore shorts and only needed a sweater occasionally, but about a week after we arrived the weather became cold really quickly and now it is 1 degree Celsius or about 33 degrees Fahrenheit. It has rained for a couple of weeks straight and the wind is constantly blowing. Last night we looked out our window and it was snowing. We had anticipated that we would need jackets this year, but we have all had to buy hats and gloves. Even with those we are cold. Margaret has leggings that we brought for her and lots of people have told us that she is too cold and we need to dress her warmer. We have finally bought some fleece lined leggings. She thinks they have bear fur in them. People were also very worried about the kids feet when they wore sandals, even when it was warm.