Playtime in Gorky Park, Moscow

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here’s the thing about our time in russia…when we aren’t out being tourists- we are in playing poker, drinking russian vodka and being way too loud. i am soaking up every moment i can with these people because we are about to gone for a loooong time for our upcoming tour. i, however, am about $8 dollars in the hole so hopefully i kick some poker booty tonight.

P1040404one of my favorite days we have spent in moscow was at Gorky Park! it’s a 300 acre park in the heart of the city and it was truly an amazing afternoon adventure. we have been here during “moscow day” on september 9, so the city has been decorated uniquely to celebrate the city. this included the bright green structure reading “moscow” in russian. i hope you like my stork leg and ravery’s jazz hands.

relationship blog gorky park mockba signafter communicating via Instagram with someone who lives here and saw my pictures-i discovered that in addition to “moscow day” being celebrated, we happened to go to the park when it was “HSE day” or Higher School of Education-National Research University so it was extra amazing in the park and had things like knife fighting and sailboats.

IMG_9338i spent some at a concert where the singer on stage was essentially doing jazzercise and the crowd joined it-it was basically like a lady gaga workout and pretty neat. also note the massive bean bags that people could sit around on-these were spread all throughout the park and quite comfy (and shockingly not gross).

IMG_9373i highly doubt they always have these massive bubble balls going on in the park but my husband and my SIL insisted on battling on the field. we probably waited about 50 minutes in line so i could take pictures and watch them get cut in line by about 8 russians. it was awkward but they say it was worth the wait! it was quite hilarious to watch and thankfully neither of them were seriously injured. of course, no liability waivers or anything had to be signed. no WAY would this fly in the U.S.!

relationship blog gorky park russia ball fightmy husband and i split off from the group and made our way around the park hand in hand. it was excellent to have some alone time and reflect on our experiences here and how you can never know where you will end up. we walked past ping pong tables, bocce ball tournaments, a skate park, BMX park, intense sand volleyball tournaments and then stumbled upon more plastic balls.

relationship blog gorky park my husband, being the person that he is, insisted on trying to scale the big red balls. i stood off to the side laughing uncontrollably. as he was trying to shimmy up the massive circular object with gravity winning, a friendly guy, maybe a few years younger than us noticed he needed help. he attempted to grab ravery’s hand multiple times, stuck out his foot for him to grab on to and eventually he made it! it was amazing to watch this complete stranger literally lend a hand to help ravery up.

he spoke some broken english and was highly impressed i wasn’t just ravery’s girlfriend-but WIFE! his girlfriend took pictures of them too so i wasn’t the only weird one.

relationship blog gorky park russia red ballsafter an impeccable dismount, we continued our stroll through the breathtaking and highly interactive park. i have no idea what this says but i liked it and we are tempted to go back and rent paddle boats. if you are ever in moscow-i highly recommend spending a least 3/4 of a day here because there is so much to see and do.

relationship blog gorky park sign in waterOH and there are also tons of cute cafes and restaurant scattered throughout the park and they were jam packed. we both decided this was the best park we’ve ever been to. it went under heavy renovation in 2011 to become the spectacle it is today.

IMG_9412what i loved about this park was that it was FULL of young people and they were engaging in physical activities-not just sitting on their phones. i maybe saw a total of 20 people on their phone in a sea of thousands, where in the US i feel like that’s flipped. it made me much more aware of how i need to disentangle myself from the suffocating effect technology can have on me when roaming and international charges aren’t in effect. people and human interactions are powerful.

relationship blog ryan avery gorky park

the new wifestyle: you sure do see a lot more when your nose is in the air and not buried in a phone/social media.

1) best park you’ve been to?
2) would you have wanted to bounce around and battle people in those clear big balls?
3) when was the last time you had a powerful human interaction?


  1. Dave

    September 13, 2013 at 8:26 am

    1) best park you’ve been to?
    From what I’ve explored of it, Central Park, NYC. There are also some surprisingly lovely parks here in Cincinnati. I have to say, though, that Gorky Park would be my choice if I’d ever been there!

    2) would you have wanted to bounce around and battle people in those clear big balls?
    I used to want to play with the cool and wonderful “toys” like those that they showed off in the Mountain Dew ads of my invulnerable youth (although, admittedly, they look kind of dangerous to me now!). Check one of them out here:

    3) when was the last time you had a powerful human interaction?
    My buddy and I produce a quarterly storytelling show, each featuring five storytellers and a theme for the evening. We choose and coach the storytellers (among many of the things we do to put each show together). The people that we have met over the last three years have changed our lives. So much inspiration, courage, humility, and outright talent! I feel so lucky to have this to work on, year-round, with my friend. It’s been (and continues to be) an incredible journey. [One specific example, for the sake of your question, was the 71 year old man who told a story for one of our shows, recently. He had to go to court for a bad taillight and felt robbed by the system because now, in addition to the fine, there were court fees. He said “I won’t pay… Give me jail.” And this 71 year old man spent 3 days in maximum security (there was no room elsewhere) where, he said the food wasn’t too bad, the other inmates pretty much left him alone, and he had a t.v. in his cell which he shared with another guy. All in all, he recommends the experience! When he called his daughters to pick him up upon being released, they were in shock at what had happened to him! They had no idea! They were embarrassed, but eventually came to embrace their father’s choice. They still shake their heads when he tells the story, but you can see the love! If you’re interested, you can read about him in the news:

    • chelsea

      September 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      whoa. i had not seen that commercial before and that seems like a pretty epic way to get down a hill, particularly when enjoying mountain dew!

      thank you david for sharing that story about storytellers-how fascinating and neat to get to hear from such interesting people. that is a pretty crazy story about the man spending 3 days in a max prison-whoa!

  2. Leanna

    September 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I loved your tour of Gorky Park. Do you know there is a movie by that name? However, it does not depict the same experience you had. Interesting observation about cell phones. I do fear life is passing so many people by while they text. I look forward to your next travel update.

    • chelsea

      September 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      thanks for reading leanna! i have heard there is a movie named this but haven’t seen it. it was nice for me to have somewhat of a break from my cell phone while abroad-it helped break some of my addiction after i returned.

  3. Brian Paxton

    September 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

    What a trip! So fun reading about your escapades in Russia..

    1) Best park? Central Park is up there, but not my favorite.. Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam is an amazing [botanical] park, but not for physical activity.. You should consider visiting when you are there (albeit you’ll have to be selective with your time there).. But my favorite park is the King’s Garden in Copenhagen. Besides all the great memories from my childhood, it is a park that sound much like Gorky with people having fun, sun bathing, eating, drinking and playing.. I’m sure visiting more great parks are in my future..

    2) Want to battle someone in the clear plastic ball? Would love to – they look so much fun!

    3) Last powerful human interaction? This morning’s meditation with my wife, both chanting “Aham Prema” (I am love).. I’m beginning to enjoy our early am meditations together and they feel powerful indeed.

    Love your articles Chelsea, well written and entertaining..

    • chelsea

      September 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      thank you for reading about our escapades, brian! ohh i want to check out that park in amsterdam AND copenhagen, sounds great! i could also see you really taking some people out in those bubble balls 🙂 love that you and your wife meditate together in the morning-that’s fantastic and so glad to hear they are powerful!

  4. Paula Howley

    September 14, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Best park has got to be Stanley Park in Vancouver. Beaches, waterpark, pool, aquarium, miles and miles of hiking and biking and roller blading trails, mini railroad, kids parks all over and I haven’t even seen HALF of it yet.
    My favourite park though is Willingdon Beach in Powell river, B.C. I just love it because of it’s great location. Meg and I went there one day this summer and literally had the best day of our mother/daughter lives so far. there’s a smal bay in the ocean and the beach goes out forever when the tide is low. There are crabs galore which little kids and big ones, love to catchl. You can dig out clams too! there is also a big grassy area where there are 2 separate playgrounds with different focuses. There’s also a water-park! There’s a confection stand and a fabulous, beautiful amphitheatre-type area where people perform every Friday night. Ther’s also mini-golf right across the street!
    2. Yes to the balls. 🙂
    3. today with my daughter. Just such an amazing time. We went to see Twefth Night at Bard on the Beach in Vancouver, then spent 3 hours on Kits beach until the sun went down. She boggles my mind with the thoughts that tumble around in her brain.

    • chelsea

      September 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      ohhh we had a fun time driving around stanley park when we were there earlier this year but i so want to spend more time there! i didn’t even know they had a pool (although we did do the aquarium)-how fun!

      what an amazing experience to have the best mother/daughter day to date in willingdon beach-powerful stuff! yeah…i’m going to need to go there too. love that you had a wonderful day with your daughter as well 🙂