Their dacha's village.
Dacha sweet dacha!
Cooking mushroom soup!
The best shashlik I've ever eaten.
Their dacha is located outside of Dmitrov, a city near Sergev Posad. Typically like most dachas they had a banya, and land with several fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Most available space is used in some way-- the fences in the backyard were also used for different berry vines.
At the dacha we met Ira's parents, her mother Valentina and her step-father Oleg. Both were incredibly warm and gracious hosts. Valentina was always offering to hold Liam during meals or when he would cry. Oleg was incredibly smart and opinionated, always asking us random questions (like if the Panama Canal is freshwater or seawater). We'd always be wrong. He'd look down and start shaking his head every time. Even softball questions, like "Who's your favorite president." We thought that was a pretty easy question, he'd always inform us that we are incorrect.
Part of the time at the dacha was spent walking-- to villages nearby, to Orthodox churches in the area, and so on. Because Ira spent most of her summers here has a child, she would take us to particular areas that she was fond of as a child-- maybe a lake where they swam, or a silage where they would play in hay. Every place she took us carried so many memories for her, and that made things all the more special.
Ira looking over a nearby swamp.
Friends in a neighboring house were digging a new well.
We took a shortcut through this field to get to a church on the other side.
Cemetery near the church.
Day two-- more hiking.
The Saturday before leaving, Oleg offered to drive us around to different sights that we might be interested in. He took us by a lake as well as other Orthodox churches near their village.
The awesome Andrew and Ira.