Both girls extremely worn out after yesterday so they had a bit of a sleep in and slow start to the day. Just as well as it was a balmy -1C outside and much nicer tucked up in bed. Once we ventured outside we felt the full brunt of the cold despite having on thick tights or skins, woollen socks under our thick jeans and heavy boots. Top layer consisted of thermals, t-shirt, polar fleece then goose down jacket. Top half snug but bottom still chilled. Big problem is that it is bitter outside but everywhere inside is heated to the max and stifling.
Had planned to be on a train and out to Ismailovsky Craft Market for its opening at 10.30am but that didn't quite happen and it was nearer to midday by the time we arrived after having to change trains to another line. Market was only a short walk from the Metro and adjacent to what looked like a Russian version of Disneyland!
Entered the market and found ourselves in awe of the Matryoska dolls available. Obviously a huge seller for the tourist market although not many English speaking tourists seemed to be here.
Took us several hours just walking around the several rows of stalls before we could decided upon what we wanted to purchase in the way of dolls but found other bits and pieces on our way around. It was quite chilly, felt much colder than -1 degrees even though the sun was quite bright.
Had to stop and refuel after a couple of hours and found ourselves at a Russian kebab outdoor grill within the market. Quite a good array of pork, lamb cutlet, mixed vegetable or potato skewers available for little money. Lamb was by far the most expensive. Came served with round freshly baked loaves of bread and a spicy chili tomato sauce. Didn't take us very long at all to demolish our lunch as it was so chilly we had to pull out some of our extra layers of clothing to place over our knees
Suitably refreshed, we had to head over to a nearby hotel to top up on funds and partake in the most heavenly hot chocolate I have ever experienced. It was quite literally melted chocolate with just a little milk in it. Pity about the block of chocolate we devoured between us while waiting for the incredibly slow service.
Back on with all the layers and outside for a quick walk back to the market to finally decide which Matryoska dolls we wanted to buy. Came across a couple of stalls run by a lady who handpaints all her own designed dolls. They were definitely beautiful and several sets purchased of the traditional old style of dolls. She told us it takes her a full day to paint one set of dolls as each one, even the tiniest has hands and feet painted on.
Vanessa continued looking at scarves for her cousins and I finally found a Faberge style egg that I loved and bought. That is the end of my personal souvenir purchases. Except for some more books most likely.
Time was fast passing and time to head back to our apartment for some R & R before going to Red Square in the evening. Made a quick stop at a Metro station dedicated to electric power before making our way back to the apartment for a much needed rest of our feet and a cup of tea.
After a suitable rest, it was on with the boots, layers of clothes and hats for a walk to a vegetarian restaurant called Fresh. Beautiful food for Vanessa but left us carnivores a little unsatisfied. No texture to chew on!!!! From there another short walk to Red Square to see how the buildings illuminated at night.