Anyone who has travelled with me in Eastern Europe will be able to tell you how much I adore the babushkas.Babushka literally translates as Russian grandmother but seems to be used to describe pretty much any older Russian woman. I've also just found out I've been pronouncing it wrong. I was emphasising the middle boosh bit, 'Bah-BOOSH-ka', which apparently means scarf in Russian.The correct way is to enunciate the beginning 'bah' bit. Although many 'BAH-boosh-kas' do wear 'bah-BOOSH-kas' - confusing I know, but check out Russian babushka wearing a babushka here:
In my experience, babushkas are strong and self-sufficient and are often incredibly warm and hospitable to all those they meet. Many are alone, losing their husbands to hard work or alcoholism, two things which often came hand-in-hand.
The lady below is my favourite babushka of the trip so far. This lady, let's call her Galina, was selling apples outside the Bolshevikov Station where we got out to watch ice hockey in Saint Petersburg.
We were travelling during rush hour so there was a good deal of activity and excitement with hawkers selling scarfs and t-shirts for the match but also lots locals selling fruit, veggies and flowers to commuters on their way home.
Galina sold us two pretty dirty and worm holed apples for 20 roubles which we threw away in the end. I did get these snaps though and Galina ticked all the boxes for the perfect babushka photo: gold teeth, wrinkles, head scarf and whiskers - perfection!
Some other babushkas on the way: