Travel Like a Local: Visit a Dacha in the Russian Countryside
MIR’s John Seckel is a Wisconsin expat who’s lived in Moscow for years. His insights into Russian culture offer delightful glimpses into daily life – like heading to a dacha.
Back in 1991, when first told that I would be visiting the dacha of my Russian host family, I had visions of some sort of mansion on a hill in the countryside. I grew up in a house in the country in a very small town in Wisconsin located right on Green Bay, and having a second house somewhere else in the countryside, for me, was something that could only be a luxury.
Was I in for a surprise!
In recent years, many of these small structures have become 3- or 4- story brick houses with underground parking, and vegetable gardens are now flower gardens with designed landscapes or swimming pools. The dacha I visited back in 1991 was a combination – a small brick house with a beautiful flower garden and a vegetable garden that many would admire. No swimming pool, but a lake nearby.
(click on photo to see larger version)
That is not to say that people have stopped growing vegetables anymore at the dacha. It is common to hear the words “ecologically clean or pure” now. Growing your own vegetables has become something of a fad so that they are “clean” of any fertilizers or chemicals that may have been used on the produce that are sold in supermarkets or at the open-air markets. “Organic,” in other words.
What’s more common now is to go by car. On Fridays you’ll see many cars packed to the max with supplies needed at the dacha. On Sundays, you’ll see the same cars with flowers in the back window returning from the dachas.
Learn first-hand how some Russians spend their leisure time; you could even take part in “dacha activities” – whether that be pulling weeds in the “ecologically clean” cucumber patch or watering flowers or enjoying some beer and vodka with some freshly prepared shashliki, barbecue. Your dacha adventure will be something to remember for a lifetime.
Travel into the countryside around Moscow on a tour of the Golden Ring on Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages which features stops in rural communities and visits with locals.
You can also book a custom private journey or add a custom pre- or post-tour to your itinerary to include a dacha visit and an exploration of the Russian countryside, whether it’s the Golden Ring or the Siberian taiga.
MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your next trip.
(Top photo: A home in the country or a weekend getaway, dachas are ubiquitous in Russia – this one in Kubinka. Photo credit: John Seckel)
PUBLISHED: February 19, 2015