Weekend in the Russian countryside: ‘дача’ time, finally!

Yura and Nika kindly invited me to join them at their countryhouse (дача) for the weekend. Nika’s mum and eldest child are staying there for the summer and they frequently go over to catch up with kids, relax and resupply the grandmother with groceries. To say i had been waitig for a дача visit would be a vast understatement. I love it and have good memories from earlier stints at Victor’s. Simple life. 

We drove there early Saturday afternoon – after all of us had digested friday night and the shopping was sorted. We got some super tasty vegetables off a trader near старая деревня station. He sells products from the neighboring (clearly warmer!) countries such as Uzbekistan and the other ‘stan’ countries. Similar to London, the supermarket veggies are not great in Russia i am told. The guy was such a good sales man that on top of tomatoes and cucumbers we also walked away with a melon, apricots and cheeries. Then quickly to the supermarket for meat, drinks etc and the groceries for babushka Lena … and off we went. 

The drive to the place wasnt too long. Some 100km away and, after some traffic when leaving St Pete, done in 90mins or thereabout. In fact, the place is only 100km away from the farm in Issad where I will work from end of August. On the way back Nika explained that the word дача originates from the russian verb to give (давать), as the tsar used to give such places to loyal servants. Well, this one was actually masterminded and build by Nika’s parents (chiefly the mum). Respect!

The afternoon turned out pretty busy, as the kids challenged us old men to a footie match. With wisely timed breaks we survived and thanks to somewhat more experience than 8/9 year olds we were victorious. In the afternoon the girls made a fantastic chicken noodle soup (i kind of had to eat two full plates … which i gladly did) before we got the fire going to grill veg & meat. Yuri was firmly in charge on the grill. We were never short of entertainment … even piano & singing ;o)

The evening went on for some time as we increasingly spoke russian with babushka lena. It turns out that there were some large battles in the area, an army hospital etc. The helmet of a russian soldier, which lena found in the garden is pictures below. Interesting to listen to her. I liked how, despite all the bloodshed, differentiated the issues germany and russia had as coutries vs individual stories like the ones of actually kind german soldiers. 

Sunday was really relaxed. We got up just in time for the first game of zenit st petersburg with new coach manchini. It was some timezones away and was streamed 11am st pete time. 2:0 for zenit. Yuri happy. Next weekend we will see the real thing at their first home game against rubin kazan. 

Given the house has no running water supply, we went to a fountain nearby to replenish water resereves and also did some shopping (replenishing alcohol reserves that somehow got rather depleted the night before ;o). 

Super weeekend. Now back to school.

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