Moscow’s ugliest park?

I did not really run this week. I did go out intending to run in a central park- Ekaterina park near the Dostoevsky Metro station- but the park was not what I expected, and not like any of the many large, spacious parks that are gaining notoriety.

The entire week here has been gloomy, apart from the stunning day on Tuesday when I chose to do a photo walk instead of heading out for a jog. With such a lovely day in my memory, I was a little disappointed on Wednesday when everything had become cloudy and grey again. The only upside was that it was warmer.

I arrived in the park after a complex metro ride and jogged along the main street in the wrong direction- finding a Soviet War Museum, but no entrance to the park. Upon turning back and finding the entrance I realised how small the park was. On the map it looked like it was intersected  a few times by some roads, but that a few of the green spaces made a full park. This was not the case- the space was small, surrounded by large, unattractive buildings, and jammed full of things- monuments to the ‘hero city Moscow’, a gazebo, a playground, statues of animals…

In the snow and with the leaf-less trees, the park looked uninviting, grey, barren, and even dirty. I marched my way to the ‘body builders’ (the outdoor gym) and instead spent my time running on the roller, or doing twists. This, at least, I considered fun and gave me the chance to watch people pushing strollers, walking arm in arm, or bustling through on the way somewhere.

I know now why the park is not listed in any major tourist books, although I think with green trees blocking the buildings around it might be quite a nice small retreat… I may go back to test that theory in May. In any case, I felt like maybe this park was  a representative of the jumbled parks that used to exist in Moscow, before, in the last five years, the government moved to update and clean up everything.

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