Moscow's winters are long and bleak but Russians make the best of it: They carve ice sculptures. The best pieces are exhibited at the Museum of Ice Sculptures, most likely the coldest museum on earth. At minus 10 degrees centigrade you will for sure need a handkerchief, and red noses are guaranteed. A visit is worthwhile anyway as the sculptures represent the high art of winter. Here, Poseidon hovers on a wave of ice, and over there Father Frost peeps around the corner of his ice house, while ice squirrels are collecting nuts for the winter. The collection is a successful mix of ice, music and colours, often focusing on mythological figures or Russian fairy-tales. If you like to play ice princess you will be disappointed: Right at the entrance visitors are clad in shapeless parkas, a combination of space suit and complete-body condom, protecting you from freezing to death and protecting the sculptures from melting due to your body's heat. The exhibition is open through the summer though. So you can either flee from the heat or warm up in the winter. Just another hot tip: Don't lick the ice, it won't do you any good!
What a time gone by: The women were sewing, the men were working. The Palace of the Romanovs serves as a prime example for medieval gender segregation. The boys were separated from the girls at the age of six, restricted to live on another floor of the building. It was furnished in manly, dark colours, whereas the upper floor was bright, airy and womanly. And while the boys learned how to rule, the girls learned how to knit. The Palace of the Romanovs is characterized by the style of the Tsars but it doesn't deserve the term palace, the small townhouse rather reminding of a farmhouse than of Versailles. However, it is still worth a visit for two reasons: Firstly, the narrow staircases and small rooms make it impossible for many tourists to visit at the same time, so you will be more or less alone with the Romanovs. And secondly, the house has hardly been changed since the 17th century, so you will get fascinating insights into Russian medieval times. You will also see plenty of the Tsar family's housewares - not behind glass but where it belongs: on tables, in trunks, on the walls. In the mood for dinner with the Romanovs? So, head for the museum!