20 things I learned about Russia on a cruise
During those 2 weeks cruising from Moscow to St. Petersburg, I had a lot of opportunities to learn about how the Russians live – observing the crew, talking to them and to the locals, and listening to our guide Elena or other local guides who took us around different towns.
20 things I learned about Russia:
1. Not everyone drinks vodka so you should not generalize.
2. The right way to drink vodka – Breathe out first and then drink vodka bottom up. No sipping. And smell bread if it makes you sick.
3. Traditional breakfast consists of sour cream, porridge or eggs.
4. Lunch at 2 pm starts always with soup.
5. Outside of Moscow, the minimum pension is around 200 euros (for example a former teacher gets that.)
6. Kindergarten since 7 am to 7 pm and costs around 100 euros per month.
7. A University costs from 500 to 5,000 euros per semester.
8. Medical care is free of charge.
9. 5 is the best mark at school so the Government came up with a programme of 5,5,5 to get 5 million visitors per year here which is equal to the inhabitants.
10. Russia has good dairy. Cottage cheese tastes different here. If you get a chance, try something sour and jam with cheese.
11. Russians have three names – first name, then family name when the girl takes her husband’s name in 99% of cases. And the third name is a patronymic – the first name of the father + ovich for men (means son) or ovna for women (means daughter.)
12. When you talk to elder people, you call them by first name and patronymic.
13. The Russians don’t smile much as they don’t want to offend others thinking they are laughing at them. If they do smile at you, they REALLY like you 🙂
14. It looks like the Russians have bigger respect to foreigners than to other Russians.
15. When you ask Russians how they are doing, many would complain straight away (same in my home country which makes it one of the things I dislike in Slovakia.)
16. The famous Russian souvenirs, the lacquer boxes are not made of wood so anyone can take them out of the country (in some countries you cannot export/import wooden objects.)
17. Not all the Russian girls are pretty as dolls as people around the world think. To be honest, from my point of view, I’ve seen just a few good-looking girls and if I compare it to walking along the streets in Slovakia, I’ve run into less hot Russian women than in my home country. Maybe it’s the same as with the hotel Latino guys you see in all the telenovelas – they are on TV but you would not meet any of them when visiting Latin America. That’s a mystery to me!
18. The Russians believe that their Santa Claus called Father the Frost (Ded Moroz) lives somewhere in the Vologda region and he is accompanied by his grand daughter Snegurochka.
19. Many Russian meals are very similar to our Slovak cuisine which surprised me in a way; such as: ne of my favorite meals – usually with meat, but also vegetarian Slovak holubky or Russian golubtsy; then some kinds of cheese, salads or cakes.
20. According to the Orthodox tradition women should not wear trousers when entering churches and on the contrary, always wear a scarf covering their head. So many churches have free scarves to use for the tourists to show respect to their Orthodox Gods.