the russia adventure, day 3.

Note: I added photos to my post about Vienna.

In addition to telling you all about my Sunday (day 3), I thought I'd also respond to some of your comments.

Russia food

I promise, I'm eating Russian food, mixed in with the American stuff. On Saturday, when Subway didn't have any bread, we stopped by a grocery store, then Iris made vareniki (kind of like pierogies, these are dough filled with potatoes) and pelmeini (dough filled with meat, a lot like ravioli). She bought them pre-packaged and frozen, but their babysitter, Lena, is going to teach us how to make them from scratch later this week.

Today, we went to both McDonalds and Subway (I promise - this wasn't my choice), but we also had samsa and shashleek. More about that later.

The weather

Right now is -9° F. JB did the math, and Saturday it was 80 degrees warmer in Portsmouth. Just to give you a comparison. The only part of me that's getting really cold is my hands, though.

(This is Carter - he was so bundled up to be outside that
his legs stuck straight out from his car seat.)

The rest of Sunday

Sunday was another busy day. We started off at an ice city, which is literally a city block where they've constructed an ice city. Its based on China, so there's a great wall surrounding it that you can walk on, a maze, and a bunch of slides for kids to go down. There is also an ice sculpture contest (Virginia Beach does sand sculptures, Ekat does ice sculptures).

(I darkened this photo so you could see it more clearly. This sculpture is
huge - there are actually arches that you can walk underneath).

(Gavin going down the ice slide.)

(These are statues of Father Frost and Snowflake, his lover/niece/granddaughter,
depending on who you talk to. Underneath it says Happy New Year).

(Iris and I in front of one of the winning ice sculptures. We
picked this one because it was not of a naked woman.)

Then, we went to a renok, which is basically a market. Some of it is inside, and some of it is outside (which is insane), and they sell everything you could possibly imagine. I bought some souvenirs, and then we ate samsa and shashleek. Samsa is something new even to JB and Iris - its bread filled with meat (and I think maybe onions, too), and they're stuck to the sides of these big round ovens and cooked.

Shashleek is seasoned and cooked pieces of pork, like kabobs - its kind of like American barbeque. The men that were selling them were Uzbeki (from Uzbekistan) and really friendly, and loved having their picture taken.

After we left the renok, we headed to Ganana Yama, then the Church on the Blood. You can read the full story in detail here, but here's a basic synopsis.

The Romanov family, included the current tsar Nicholas, was killed secretly at the hand of the Red Army in 1918. To keep their murder a secret, the bodies were dismembered and taken to a field outside of Ekaterinburg and dumped. Later, rumors started about the family's death, so the bodies were moved to another location, and sulfur was poured over them. There were two men in the 70s who actually managed to find the bodies, but buried them again due to their fear of the those in power. Finally, in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell, the truth came out. A monastery, called Ganana Yama, was erected at the place where the bodies were found.

The architecture here is really interesting, because all of the buildings are made are logs, but they're also really ornate.

The Romanov's home was then torn down, and a church, called Church On The Blood, was built on the same site.

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