Monday, March 1, 2010

The Last days of Winter

Ice is thinning by the day, leaving a vulnerable, frosty crystallic lustre on the peaceful lake.

The "Manhattan" of Kaliningrad, a slightly up-market residential property by the lake, near the Amber Museum.

A belated visit to Square of Marshall Vasilevsky where celerabtion of the Defenders of the Fatherland's Day on the 23rd of February took place.

On this day, Russia honors those who are presently serving in the Armed Forces and those who have served in the past. During the era of the Soviet Union, it was called the Red Army Day or the Day of the Soviet Army and Navy.

A walk in the woods is always delightful all year round, trees are bare now, but all ready to bloom again soon.

A week before the end of winter, Russia celebrated its Defender of Fatherland's Day, we had two days of public holidays. A large banner was hung in the most conspicuous postion in the university hall, bearing the occasion's Russian name in dramatic font: C Днём Защитника Oтечества. Traditionally, the day traces its historical origin back to 1918, when the first mass draft into the Red Army occured in Petrograd and Mosocw. Formerly known as the Red Army Day and Soviet Army Day, it was renamed with its present name after the fall of the Soviet Union. I was told that the significance of the day also extended from merely honouring veterans and those who serves in the army, to manhood in general. It is a day, when you should wish the special man in your life, if you do have one, good health and good luck and shower them with gifts. If you do know the way Russians celebrate International Women's Day on the 8th of March, when women will be showered with gifts from their loved ones, this "Men's Day" has evolved to be more or less the same.

Due to the rainy weather, I missed the modest celebrations on the square in front of Kaliningrad's Mother Russia statue and Marshall Vasilevsky Square. They sang songs and people gathered with umbrellas and it was later broadcast on the local TV channel. In the evening, I watched television program dedicated to this day, when the President Medvedev gave a speech and followed by singing and dancing performance by famous artistes. And I saw exactly the same banner with the same font on the stage. Being a state-funded university, it is no surprise that down to the banner for important occasions, all shall bear a uniform font, hence a uniform look. I have always like to listen to old Russian songs, and the line-up of performances was to me, a great delight! Thank you, MEN!!

Weekends could be long and painful when your family is not with you, and now I have four free days in a row, quite a challenge. I took a long long walk with my friend along the lake and its surrounding and caught the last glimpse of Kaliningrad's winter. It was the first time she visited the Amber Museum and marvelled how beautiful the ambers were. It was my second visit, and I finally made use of my student pass which I ignorantly failed to do so during my last visit. It made great difference! Don't leave home without it, especialy in Russia! It conveniently proves your purpose of stay during checks and most important of all, get great discounts for many tourist attractions.


  1. Last day of winter? I just saw the heavy snowfall pictures of St.Petersburg.

  2. winter months are dec till feb, but not much diff, today in Kgrad is stii minus zero.