It sometimes surprises non-Australians when they learn that we have extensive winter snow-fields downunder. It is possible to ski for days with a back-pack in remote wilderness, staying overnight either in a tent or a rustic stockman's hut.
I had hoped to cross-country ski around Moscow. After all, there is plenty of snow. It is surprising, though, how difficult it is to find information about local skiing opportunities, either in guidebooks or on the internet.
So for other cross-country skiers who may be wondering ahead of a trip to Moscow - don't worry. There are plenty of large parks in which to ski just a few metro stations from the city centre.
Today I took the metro to Ismaylovsky Park, just six stations from the centre of Moscow. Just before arriving at Ismaylovskaya Station, the train emerges from its tunnel and the birch forests of the park appear on the right.
This park is, I understand, about 15 square kilometres in size. It was inaugurated in the 1930s, when it was known as Stalin Park. In the 1950s it was renamed after the 14th century boyar (aristocratic) family who owned the nearby village.
The better known (to tourists) Ismaylova Markets are on the edge of the park (one gets off a station earlier - at Partisanskaya - to access the markets). I actually don't like the markets much - I think they are a bit tacky.
Anyway, that's enough text. Here are today's photographs, hot off the SD card:
|Getting away from it all just a few kilometres from Red Square|
|Lebedyensky Lake looking back towards high rise at Ismalovskaya|
|Perhaps a little chilly for using the swings today|
|I can't say I've ever encountered prams while skiing in the Australian Snowy Mountains.|
|Off the Metro and on to the snow. Couldn't be better.|