the russia adventure, day 6.

Today was JB's day off, so he stayed home and read and relaxed and Iris and I did our own version of relaxing. Which basically means that we went out to eat and went shopping.

We started at a restaurant called Shtolle. Iris told me that Russians eat three courses for lunch - soup, salad, and a main course. You order all three at the same time, but you never know in what order they're going to arrive. There's also no guarantee that your food will arrive at the same time as everyone else's.

The main course are pie crusts, filled with meat or vegetables.

(My pie is on the right and was filled with chicken, onion, and
greens (dill and parsley). Iris's pie had mushrooms, onion, and boiled egg).

I also had a vinaigrette salad - beets, potatoes, and mushrooms, covered with vegetable oil. My soup was called solyanka - a tomato, broth-based soup with kielbasa and vegetables.

I also tried Iris's salad, which included eggplant. This means that I have well-surpassed goal number 22 for the year (eat three new fruits and vegetables). Since I've been here, I've had pomegranate, Chinese cabbage, persimmon, beets, eggplant, and tonight I'll have sweet potato fries.

After lunch, we stopped at the souvenir market outside the Church on the Blood, where these vendors set up booths to sell all kinds of things - matroshka dolls (basically nesting dolls - matroshka means little mother or mothering dolls), jewelry made with locally found stones like jade and onyx, birch boxes and other containers, zhel (blue and white pottery), and hahlahma (wooden bowls and other dishes that were painted and lacquered).

We also stopped at a bookstore called Dom Knigi, literally translated house of books, and looked through several Russian toys for kids.

Once we arrived back at JB and Iris's apartment and the boys woke up from their naps, we all bundled up and walked to the train park (called that because there are broken down trains there).

(Carter rode in a special sled that you can either push or pull,
just like a stroller, and
JB pulled Gavin on another sled. I focused
on staying upright myself, since my boots still have no traction.)

(It was hilarious watching Carter try to walk in the
snow, because it was up nearly past his knees. And
that's just the most recent snowfall - there are several
more inches packed below our feet.)

(Gavin (he's the one in blue) loves the ice slide
and is absolutely fearless on it - we've decided he's
destined to be an Olympic medalist on the luge. The
cold weather actually doesn't keep people indoors, at all.)

For dinner, Iris made fajitas (Mexican food in Siberia - don't you just love that!). The only difference is that you can't find traditional tortillas, so we used lavash instead. These are like thinner versions of tortillas.

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