New Year Tree

New Year Tree

The city is gearing up for the New Year. December 31st is when Russians gather around the "New Year tree" and open presents from Father Frost.  The main square has been slowly transforming into a winter wonderland. Massive blocks of ice are being carved by men with chainsaws, while others get the tree decorated. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Small cottages have been brought in to most likely sell goods and treats of the liquid and chocolate persuasion.

As usual, a slightly snowy Lenin was keeping an eye on things.

Since it was such a lovely day, Tyler and I kept walking, heading down a few unfamiliar streets in the bitter cold, subzero temperatures. 

There wasn't a single cloud in the sky.

I love the use of colors on buildings in Russia. There are lots of blues, yellows, and pinks scattered throughout town.

I find these Soviet era apartment buildings fascinating. They were built by the masses so people could have their own homes and not have to live in communal apartments. I wish I could take an aerial shot of them. If you look to the right of this main building below, you can see the others lined up.

Around the edges of town are small wooden houses. A few have given way to their old age, now plastered with advertisements or just completely gutted, while others still hold strong and despite sometimes being boarded up in the winter, keep its inhabitants warm and cozy.

Our legs eventually began stinging from the cold, so we decided it was time to head home and warm our bones again. We might be seeing record low temperatures this week of -41°F. In fact they closed schools today because of the cold. Long underwear and wool socks it is then!