Thunder crashes, lighting flashes and dark clouds roll over the sky at super-speeds, changing the view outside from grey to pitch black. The rain varies between drizzle and torrential and outside students are screaming as they dash from the ‘smoker’s area’ to the dorm.
I’ve been in Moscow for two weeks and they have gone through the same cycle- relentless heat, not a cloud in the sky, then an evening thunderstorm that rages for hours, and then two days of cool, cloudy days. When it’s raining, the lush green of the leaves and the freshly planted flowers makes me think of a botanical garden, when its sunny the crowds come out and Moscow is more alive than I have ever seen it. Even on grey days people lie on the newly constructed benches, sunbathe on the artificial beach in Gorky Park and stroll through town eating ice cream.
The clothes have changed from their dark and gloomy colours to light, bright airy styles, flip flops clack along pavements. Tourists flock on the Red Square and push through Alexander Gardens, group leaders waving their flags frantically. Kids run through the fountains, screeching with joy.
This is Moscow as I have not seen it before- a Moscow that is celebrating the end of the cold winter and the wet, grey spring and opening up its gates to the world.