Sunday, February 26, 2012

U.S.S.R. - Moscow - 12.6.1970

From my notes:

Catch the great Underground, go to G.U.M. which is all beautifully decorated inside with water fountains and Chandeliers, very impressive but goods not up to much, have lunch in a Russian Restaurant* Yuck!  so fatty. 

Go to Pushkin Museum which is full of beautiful Impressionists, have beaut meal in Hotel Restaurant with Fountain.

* This restaurant was new and modern and sort of like a Cafeteria... the only trouble was you had to pay first then take your tray along the line for the people serving to give you what you had already paid for.  Trouble is... we didn't know what we wanted, how much it cost and what it actually was!  The staff were delighted to help us so we had special treatment with one person behind the counter trying to explain what was what.  We decided to take his advice, paid and were handed our/his choice.  We then sat with the others in the restaurant watching us eagle eyed to see how much we were enjoying our Russian Meal.  We did the right thing by eating it all and smiling broadly leaving to many waves and smiles.  Wonderful stuff, pity about the fatty food  :-)

Moscow has the longest Escalators I've ever been on and they seemed to go the fastest, we had become used to the long ones in London and we had them in Sydney as well of course but not like these, these were really scary and it took me a little time to pluck up the courage to get on!  The Russians jumped on with not a backward glance of course.  When down in the Stations what a sight to see!   Absolutely jaw dropping beautiful!

The below from  'Moscow Metro' explains....                                            Begun in the 1930's, the Stalin-era underground was the USSR's largest civilian construction project, with stations built as "people's palaces." Employing outstanding architects and artists, it still looks amazing after all those years. The early stations form an eclectic blend of Baroque, Classicism, Soviet Realism, quasi-religious iconography with idealizations of historical characters and their victories, sports, industry, agriculture, very much warfare past and present, the brighter future just ahead, and the heroically laboring working class with inclusion of the various Soviet ethnicities. Oh, and... the Revolution! 

 More Moscow Metro photos that I found on Google below.

G.U.M. Store.
From Wiki:
In 1928, GUM was closed by Stalin, who decided to use the building as the headquarters for officials working on the first Five Year Plan. GUM was reopened in 1953, and became one of the most popular sites for the legendary Soviet queues, which could at times extend all the way across Red Square. After privatization in the early 90s, it rapidly became the address of choice for top-end Western retailers. Journalists and travel writers often comment on the sharp contrast between prices in GUM and poverty in Russia - as if the majority of New Yorkers get their clothes from Saks, or the average Londoner could afford to do their grocery shopping in Harrods. Even if you don't intend to buy anything, a tour of Red Square should always include a quick stroll down the aisles of GUM.

My first set of Babushkas, well loved and a little faded bought in the G.U.M. Store 12.6.1970.

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