Winter is generally associated with cold and snow- here, it is also associated with ice skating. After a week that was far more eventful than the last, and on the last evening of a wonderful visit by my friends Maddi and Stephen, we all ended up in the transformed Gorky Park, for a session of ice skating, swerving, and picking ourselves up off the ground. Mostly when other people bumped into us…
When I say Gorky Park has been transformed, I am not exaggerating. The ice-rink, and extensive network of paths, creates a park-within-a-park, lights have been set up to create a festive atmosphere, and the speakers blast out music while the more elegant skaters dance. And there were a lot of elegant skaters. Although by the time we got there the ice was starting to get carved up by the many people speeding along, twirling and generally being impressive on ice, they continued to move with their graceful movements, as if it was a lovely, smooth surface.
Cold or hungry? The planners have left spaces between the ice pathways which house small areas to sit, warm bars and restaurants, and cozy corners for couples. These usually also boast a great view of all your fellow skaters skating past. The skating is open from now until March, according to the website (although it also says that it opens in October) and is open Tuesday to Sunday. There is a hockey rink for the more sport inclined, and most of the rink is surrounded by a raised walkway that allows non-skaters to enjoy the sights and sounds.
This video shows you the dimensions of the place- it is really large. The decorations and layout are somewhat different from this- this year they have much more seating areas and a far more colourful display of lights (yay!). Also, we found that it was much fuller than this video shows- and we didn’t encounter the awesome looking pantomimes- but I assume that this is partially because we went on their opening weekend.
We paid 500 Roubles for the entry which was valid from 5pm till 11pm (it was a Weekend evening and therefore more expensive, off peak is 200 RUB), and put in a 1000 RUB deposit for the skates, there seems to be no actual rental fee for them. Really worthwhile, as it was a fantastic way to spend a Saturday evening and highly entertaining!!