I am a Moscow winter driver - hear me roar...

>> Monday, 21 January 2013

We've had a lot of snow in Moscow recently.  And by 'a lot of snow', I don't mean a paltry few centimeters.  I mean a LOT of snow.  This weekend alone, there was a record snow fall of 63cm (that's more than 2 feet in old money).  Don't believe me?  Look; even the Beeb are writing about it (so of course, it must be true).

The strange thing is, whilst I've noticed that it's been a bit a painful on the roads, and certainly more slippery than usual to get up the hill out of our little corner of snowy paradise, I would not for a moment have thought it was that much.

Could it be that after 3 years here I have... assimilated?

Yes, this morning on my drive to the nearest metro station, I did think that there was a lot of snow still on the road considering we were in rush-hour on a Monday morning, which is normally the time when the snow ploughs would have ensured that if at all possible, the highways were clear.  And yes, when I reached the station and had to park more or less in a snow drift, I did wonder just what was going on.  And admittedly, when I couldn't find a spot in the school car park when I went to pick the Boys up this afternoon, I did think it was really quite busy, and how inconvenient it was that so many parking spots were unavailable because they were filled with 4 metre high piles of snow that the street cleaners had put there in desperation because the usual snow clearing trucks unaccountably hadn't turned up.

And finally, it did cross my mind once the Boys and I had climbed back into the car that perhaps it might have been simpler to walk as the chances we might get stranded there - if the car got bogged down as I executed a 3 point turn on an un-cleared single lane track - were higher than I was comfortable with.

But I never for a moment really doubted my ability to get the car turned around in piles of 2ft high snow, saying to the Boys as I completed the manouever successfully; "I am a GODDESS!"

Unsurprisingly, my sons did not concur, pointing out that a) goddesses don't drive cars and b) if they did, they could just magic themselves out of tricky snow/car-related situations and c) I wasn't wearing a toga*.

But anyway.  63cm of snow in one weekend.  And I drove through it, successfully.  Yes, I AM patting myself on the back; I think I deserve to after spending the first 25 years of my driving life in a country where the snow usually falls only once or twice a year and may only hang around for a day or so when it does arrive. You're welcome to drive on over and disagree with my awarding myself plaudits if you want, of course.  Pack a thermos flask of tea and a couple of blankets** though - those roads are a bit tricky...

* Although I'm sure I could really rock the toga look, a sheet and snow boots never seemed to me to be the obvious sartorial choice for the school run on a -12degC day.  Or, indeed, on any day.

** Yes of course I had those with me in the car. I am always that prepared. Cough.


Iota 21 January 2013 at 19:52  

In America, I hated driving on ice. Particularly because other drivers seemed so gung-ho. Well done to you!

MsCaroline 22 January 2013 at 01:43  

Hats off to you, PM! We've had plenty of snow and ice here, but not anywhere near that much. I would probably found still sitting in the car days later (sans flask and/or blankets, of course.) I imagine your level of self-satisfaction is similar to what I feel when I successfully back into a miniscule space in a Korean parking garage (with a queue of thousands behind me) in one swift manuever(and without hitting anything.)
This must be what they mean about expat life being 'broadening,' right?

MsCaroline 22 January 2013 at 01:44  

*...that's 'be found' ...

fiftyfinally 29 January 2013 at 17:38  

it's as though Moscow and Calgary are the same when it comes to winter and driving conditons. I feel your pain. I always have to take a deep breath/sigh whenever it's time to put on the winter tires, until it's time to put the allseasons back on.

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