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Snow. Sun. Family. God.

"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems."

Rainer Maria Rilke

||| Blog post No. 2

Excitement level #SkyHigh

Time spent in #PolenovoAIRprogram - One week. ||| Snow and Sun

When i got here it was all white. The river Oka completely frozen. And the road full of Ice.

Today I woke up to a sunny and warm spring morning. River streams clear, and the road is free of ice. I must say that this is a bit of a shock to a city person from the hot middle east.

In general… i’m experiencing (intensively) the one thing i’ve been avoiding for years, and at all cost: NATURE. And I have to admit, I’m enjoying every minute of it.


This word in this context deserves a whole post/blog/site of its own.

So i'll give the very general idea for now.

This place- Polenovo. It is a Manner, a bubble of culture, created to be exactly that.

Vassily Polenov, a famous russian painter and architect, build the big house here in this land, in order for it to be a museum as well as a house for him and his family. His purpose was to give the poor people of the russian countryside of Tula area a chance to see art and culture from both russia and distant lands.

Since I got here I'm trying to follow the bloodline of Polenov (a lot of Natalya's!).

From my understanding, this is a place that perhaps during the life of the artist Polenov, was dedicated to art and bringing knowledge to those who can't find it elsewhere. Today, I believe it is a museum of the truly magical history and future of this fascinating family and the place for young children to get inspired by these stories.

***BUT, also, very present, is an interesting and contemporary approach by the director of the museum and association, Natalya Polenova, who is putting this place on the map, worldwide.

Be sure that more will follow.


let's be more accurate. Christos.

I have arrived just in time for the Easter time celebrations.

Event no.1: Prepare the eggs!

In the course of an evening, Natalya and Nina sat at the kitchen table, equipped with nylon stockings, scissors, sewing thread, white eggs, fresh parsley and dill.

1.Take the egg, put parsley and dill leaves around it decoratively.

2. wrap it with a peice of nylon stockings, tie it with the thread.

3. Put in the pot along with tons of onion peels (the dry brown part).

4. Fill with water and boil the eggs.

5. Take out of water and of the nylon.

6. Glaze the eggs with cotton pad and oil to look pretty!

Made with natural ingredients
Easter Eggs

Event no. 2: Blessing the eggs!

In the following day we took the eggs and the easter cake in a basket and went to the Church. A russian style Jugendstil Art Nouveau church, designed by the one and only - yes, you guessed it. Vassily Polenov!

There we got the blessing by a sprinkling of holy water by the churches priest.

Strange, sweet and a very unusual sight for me. Even though I'm quite used to and familiar with christian traditions.

Now our eggs and cake are fully blessed!

Event no.3: Easter Mass at night

The ceremony begins:

Everybody comes to the church at night. Waiting for the holy fire. Then get a burning candle and walk together around the church.

After the round, going back into the church placing the candle.

The ceremony continues with singing and praying by the priest and his wife.

The most noticeable theme of the event is-

The priest calls- Christos Voskrese!

The people respond- Voistinu Voskrese!

Translation: Christ is risen! In reality he's risen!

*For me this is a classic humoristic moment. But it was genuinely exciting and powerful.

**ok ok, and a little bit funny.

***hashtag loved it.

Event no.4: The private visit of Natalya at the graveyard.

This moment could've been so awkward and a bit creepy... but again, surprisingly it wasn't.

Natalya has her own little tradition of visiting the graveyard at the easter mass.

Sneaking out of the church and going down the completely dark hill to the local family cemetery, to light a candle on her loved ones graves.

This moment was precious.

Every year in the cold days of January, on my brother's memorial day, I sneak out of the gathering around his grave to visit the tomb of a very old woman. A woman I have never known.

Her tomb was one of the few that were already there when we buried my brother.

She died at a 101. Her name was Fortuna Mazal, actually meaning Luck Luck.

I imagined her making my brother great home cooking up there wherever they are. As a young child, It comforted me. And when I saw Natalya in this moment, I felt just the same for her.

Event no.5: Easter dinner after mass

WOW, that was absolutely beautiful. It was finally time to eat the blessed eggs and cake. Drink wine and enjoy.

That's it for this time.

Stay tuned for the next post from the adventures of Eli in REAL Russia. =)

Christos Voskrese!


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