There's a secret to getting packed and out the door without last-minute frenzy. According to Rick Steves, the Seattle-based guru of travel writers, the secret is to be ready three days prior to departure date. And then you'll be ready on time. So that's my secret. Except that I have yet to accomplish that.
This week, however, I have a chance to try again. Wednesday mid-day, I'm scheduled to depart Rostov. That means today, Sunday mid-day, I needed to be ready to go. Hilarious. One bag is ready to go, the souvenir bag, and that's an achievement right there. Perhaps you'd like a look inside. Who knows, one of these souvenirs might be intended for you!
Matroshka (pronounced muh-TROSH-ka) dolls are the most popular Russian souvenir. These are the wooden nesting dolls. The biggest one here is a set of seven dolls and the smallest are sets of three dolls. The container of golden coins are actually chocolate rubles, a great little gift for school groups. Boy will they be surprised when they find out how much they're really (not) worth!
Matroshka magnets are a great for refrigerators and take up lots less packing space than the real thing. I've got 45 of them, including 3 samovar magnets.
Postcards are a perfect souvenir and on the left are seven sets of postcards, 12 to 15 per set. They make great bookmarks and what's that they say about a picture being worth 1000 -- make that worth 100 words in a foreign tongue? Remember kvas, the Russian homebrew? Well, there are starter kits of kvas, the cola of communism back there. And we can't forget some Russian lacquer-ware, called khokhloma, the red and black designed spoons and such. And dear Charity, especially for you, two boxes of Russian tea! =D
These little salt dishes have become a classic gift. I usually pack ten of them and chances are that nine will survive the trip, little chicks intact. This pottery, called Semekarakorskaya Pottery is made in the Rostov area and my dishes are all from this company. Without the hens, however.
I should be packing shouldn't I. And then there are dishes to wash and bird cages to clean. But most of all, I a have responsibility to you, my dear blog readers. That's a priority. Because when I go to exit Russia, the first question they'll ask me at the border is this: Is your blog up-to-date? And then, about the bird cages. So, first things first. ;)