Russian Language Blog

Don’t Go to the Beach (Without Reading This First)! Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 in Russian for beginners, Traditions

What is «лето» [summer] without spending some time «на пляже» [at a beach]? Have you done it yet? If not, then what are you waiting for; the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) is almost over. As the saying goes, «ноги в руки и вперёд!» [get to it!] Because next thing you know, it will be «зима катит в глаза» [winter sweeps in] (if you know where this line is from, leave a comment).

I am happy to report that for once «я последовала своему собственному совету» [I took my own advice] and went to the beach for a few days, hence my «отсутствие» [absence] from the blog last week. So this is going to be another «о личном» [personal] post. But I promise lots of vocabulary.

While the length of Russia’s coastline is nearly twice the length of its land boundaries, much of it lays «за полярным кругом» [above Arctic Circle]. Growing up, «поездка на пляж» [a beach trip] meant a quick ride across Volga on «паром» [a ferry] or «ракета» [Raketa]. «Ракета» wasn’t exactly a real rocket, but a type of a «судно на подводных крыльях» [hydrofoil boat].

«Поездка на море» [A trip to the sea] was a luxury for most since it was difficult to obtain «путевка в санаторий» [a voucher for a stay at a resort]. But once, when I was little, we did go «на Чёрное море» [to the Black Sea] albeit as «дикари» [lit. savages]. The phrase «отдых дикарём» really means a DIY sort of vacation booked without a travel agent.

Ah, «счастливое детство» [happy childhood], when travelling 900 miles nonstop in «Запорожец» [Zaporozhets, a cheap Soviet subcompact car with a 27hp engine] seemed fun and warm Pepsi, bought at a market in «Сухуми» [Sukhumi, nowadays the capital of the Abkhazia region], tasted delicious…

But enough reminiscing. So what do you do when you go on a sea-side vacation? Do you sleep «до полудня» [until noon] or do you get up early to watch «восход солнца» [sunrise]? What do you prefer – «прогулки по пляжу» [walks on the beach] or «лежать и загорать» [laying down and sunning yourself]? Are you a fan of «галечный пляж» [shingle beach] or «песчаный пляж» [sandy beach]?

I guess when you are «отдыхаете на море» [on a seaside vacation], it’s too easy to fall into a routine of «утром – пляж, а вечером – клуб» [beach in the morning, club in the evening], unless you have young kids, in which case it becomes «утром – пляж, днем – ответы на вопрос «когда снова на пляж», вечером – снова пляж» [beach in the morning, answering “when are we going to the beach again” question in the afternoon, beach again in the evening]. But this is «скучно и однообразно» [boring and monotonous].

Fortunately, most beaches, even the river and lake ones, offer some exciting diversions – «поездки на гидроциклах» [jet skiing], «сноркелинг» [snorkeling], «парасейлинг» [parasail], not to mention «рыбалка» [fishing].

Besides, there’s always an option of «осмотр местных достопримечательностей» [touring local places of interest]. On my last trip I did just that since there was «маяк» [a lighthouse] nearby and a beautiful wetlands «заповедник» [nature preserve].

Finally, no trip to a beach (or anywhere else for that matter) is complete without some «сувениры» [souvenirs] or «цацки» [knickknacks also known as tchotchke]. In case you’re wondering, it’s the “tchotchke” that was borrowed from «цацки», not the other way around.

By the way, one of the delightfully interesting Russian words is «цацкаться» [to mollycoddle]. This can be applied to both animate and inanimate objects as in:

«Мужик он никудышный и другая бы его уже давно бросила, а Валя всё цацкается с ним» [He’s pretty worthless and any other woman would’ve dumped him long ago, but Valya is still mollycoddling him]

«Да что ты всё цацкаешься со своим изобретением, тоже мне Томас Эдисон!» [Why are you still fiddling with your invention, some kind of Thomas Edison you are!]

When it comes to «цацки» and «сувениры» I usually get «украшение на ёлку» [an ornament for a Christmas tree], a book of local stories and a few «ракушки» [shells] for my collection. What do you usually get «на память о поездке» [to remember the trip by]?

Tags: , , ,
Keep learning Russian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Brett Naugher:

    I got my first trip back to the beach of the Gulf Coast where I grew up sailing racing catamarans and yachts. I am planning on re-fitting my landing craft, a aluminum 14′ boat to run up and down the surf line, it is unique to have a speed boat in the surf. I found this fun/utility after spending so many years sailing Hobie Cats from the beachs. I have a 1980 Mercury 10 hp motor that has been stored for 30 years and I am so happy to have just tank tested the “New” engine:). I also am re-building a 22′ sailboat and I have a diesel marine generator from a sailing yacht and I am applying it to the small cabin cruiser to make ocean crossings with plenty of electricty. The diesel engine will make the difference in staying for months in the islands non-stop. It is a 10 hp Kuboto (Apollo Generator) that we restored. The lights are all being converted to LED (low voltage) for sailing through the night non-stop for 14 days to cross the Gulf of Mexico.

    I am so happy to announce that I had marked some silver deposits in a reef that I dived on and I am just planning a return trip.

    I have 4 friends from Russia and they all know me,,,,,the New World Order—-Omnijet. I hope that the composites program will help everything and the sailing vessels will be developed,,,and any aircraft:)

  2. Cássio:

    Я нашел зто в интернете:

    Попрыгунья Стрекоза
    Лето красное пропела;
    Оглянуться не успела,
    Как зима катит в глаза.
    Помертвело чисто поле:
    Нет уж дней тех светлых боле,
    Как под каждым ей листком
    Был готов и стол, и дом.
    Все прошло: с зимой холодной
    Нужда, голод настает;
    Стрекоза уж не поет:
    И кому же в ум пойдет
    На желудок петь голодный!
    Злой тоской удручена,
    К муравью ползет она:
    “Не оставь меня, кум милой!
    Дай ты мне собраться с силой
    И до вешних только дней
    Прокорми и обогрей!”-
    Говорит ей Муравей…
    “До того ль, голубчик было?
    В мягких муравах у нас
    Песни, резвость всякий час,
    Так, что голову вскружило”.-
    “А, так ты.”-“Я без души
    Лето целое все пела”.-
    “Ты все пела? Это дело:
    Так поди же попляши!”

    Я уже знал эту басню, но по-португальcки.

  3. Cássio:

    А что “Помертвело” означает? Я пробовал перевести стихи, но давно не занимаюсь русским языком. Не можете ли вы мне (и всем читателям вашого блога) опять помочь?

  4. yelena:

    Cassio, I was thinking of how best to explain this word. It should really be considered as part of the entire phrase “помертвело чисто поле”. Any word-for-word translation would sound very weird here because it’s “образное выражение” [vivid expression]. It paints a picture of a field that was emptied of life – the grain was harvested, the grasses and flowers withered, the animals hid in their burrows, even the birds flew away for the winter. Hope this helps.