But for many Muscovites there is a solution: They spend their weekends at their dachas - small summer or garden houses. Spending time at your dacha is a tradition that the Czars and Soviet leaders alike fostered and it remains popular today. The only problem? Dachas are often located more than kilometers 62 miles away from the city and, with millions heading out of town at the same time, getting to the beloved dacha often means sitting in traffic.
Car after car, bumper to bumper, the eight lanes of a main traffic artery in Moscow are packed on a Saturday in early July. Occasionally the traffic comes to a standstill. My worst record is four hours.
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Me, for example, I can't relax in Moscow. I need to go to the dacha," she explains. Yelena and Svetlana are glued to the traffic reports on the radio and keep checking the situation on their mobile phones. Their dacha is located 85 kilometers from the city center.
After an hour into the trip, they haven't even gotten out of the center. They probably should have left earlier than 10 a. But then again, sometimes even with the best strategies you can't beat the regular dacha traffic jams. That way even though I will probably also be stuck in traffic, at least I'll be well-rested. The road ahead unexpectedly clears and Yelena and Svetlana switch their focus from the traffic news to their plans for when they arrive at the dacha. They'll make lunch, go for a walk and take a swim in a nearby pond. Their mother, Ludmilla, is spending the whole summer at the dacha with Svetlana's 8-year-old son Nikita, who has three months off from school.
This is a typical arrangement for many Moscow families.
Muscovites suffer hours in traffic for a weekend at the dacha
Most of the people living at their summer cabin are known as dachniki - people who live here only in the summer or on the weekends. Yelena says their dacha, which has electricity but no hot and cold running water, has been in the family for decades.
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Other families have renovated their dachas, but they like to keep it simple. Today, buying land and building a dacha around Moscow is very expensive, but in the past the dacha or at least a piece of land was given to people for free. The word dacha even comes from the word for "to give. He worked for a ministry. But the size and type of little house you were allowed to build was very restricted. These days they're so exhausted by city life, they just come and rest. After another two hours in the car, Yelena turns off onto the bumpy road overgrown with long grass that leads to the village where their dacha is located.
Near the end of the road stands the family's little crimson-colored wooden house. Their mother, Ludmilla, is waiting for the tired travelers with tea and cookies. You can calm down and relax. The rush and chaos of the city are far away.
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Her daughter says she loves her weekends at the family dacha, but that she also likes her city life. She's never spent more than two weeks in a row at the dacha.
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Living here all the time would be quite boring. I am a city dweller after all, used to meeting up with people, going out. Here it would be a bit boring.
But very healthy, that's for sure. Until Sunday evening, though, Yelena will enjoy the quiet of country life. As reported: Views don't come any better than this — and you could get to enjoy it yourself. In announcing the awards, the jury described it as "a generous house designed to take full advantage of an amazing view". Exclusive use of the entire property including Banya - 16 guests 2. Exclusive use of the main house The Dacha - 14 guests 3. Master suite and living areas - 2 guests 4. Guest wing and living areas - 12 guests.
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