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Round the World

Moscow

Dad and I are leaving Moscow today, him back to the UK and myself onto St Petersburg. We both found Moscow far more colourful and lively than we expected.

The Kremlin and Red Square are both dramatic and very attractive places. Images from the Cold War had me expecting grey forbidding places but the opposite was true. Unfortunately I am not able to post pictures up at the moment as they will give a far clearer impression. See them soon because when the word gets out the already considerable number of tourist will swell significantly.

We then headed to a couple of shopping malls, the first indistinguishable from its western equivalent and the second in the old GUM department store. GUM is now a very impressive arcade of small shops, boutiques and cafes.

GUM department store, Moscow, Russia

The next day the first stop was the Museum of Cosmonautics. The slight air of decay, the dog spacesuit and the tiny size of the capsules made an impression.

Nearby we explored the All-Russian Exhibition Centre created in the 1950’s and 60’s to show the success of the Soviet economic system. It contains a whole series of wonderful buildings in a lovely set of grounds, however on entering the buildings most of them have been converted into indoor markets selling all sorts of goods from electronics to gardening equipment. It left a strong impression on both of us of how the new capitalist system had taken over the failed communist one.

The afternoon was spent at the Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve where a whole series of historic royal buildings had been preserved and other wooden ones moved here to join them. The weather was superb and the grounds well maintain so it made a pleasant place to potter away the afternoon.

All our transport around Moscow was on the very efficient metro system. Some of the stations are architectural masterpieces and worth a visit in their own right. In addition much of the system was built to act as a bomb shelter so it is very deep and giant blast doors can be spotted in some stations.

This morning was spent at the markets near our hotel. They are gigantic, selling mainly clothes, often in bulk and at a frantic pace. It was all we could do to avoid being knocked down by the porters hauling trolleys piled high with goods. Nearby a huge series of wooden buildings is being finished, done in a very elaborate style. We have no idea what they are to be used for. When the photos go up any suggestions are welcome.

I’ve been impressed by Moscow. Things seem much better here than I had expected and are improving. Many key buildings are being renovated, tourists are here in numbers and the people appear to be doing OK. Its quite a contrast to the scenes of abandoned factories we saw from the train.

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