Fur Coats and Taxi’s, A Day in Moscow
Moscow, the hustle and bustle, car noise and traffic jams the same as most cities but every corner you turn there is something interesting, I guess that is why I travel. I am staying in one of the “seven sisters”, the Hotel Ukraina, also known as the Radisson Royal Hotel after the group took over management in 2009.The hotel along with seven other projects, the eight one was cancelled, were built at the height of Stalinist Russia. Using American skyscraper technology, seven large buildings were constructed between 1947 – 1953. The architectural style was a combination of Russian baroque and gothic, culminating in what was then the worlds tallest building with a very distinctive skyline; although to me it reminds me of the square building blocks I had as a child, you know the each layer is less than the one before. I choose the hotel not only for its history and facilities, which are excellent, but also for its art collection from Russian artists of the early 20th century.
One thing you quickly notice in any of the areas you visit is how smart the ladies are dressed, almost formal, nearly every age group is wearing makeup and heels. The amount of real fur is staggering and a little distressing but as my guide explained very, very necessary in the cold winters as nothing is as warm as real fur. I was lucky the weather has not been below freezing.
I had pre hired a guide, Alexandria, who has proved to be worth her weight in gold, one example, Muscovite’s don’t use taxis, these are left for the tourists but what they do is stand at the side of the road in the direction they are going and wait for an everyday you or me driver to stop. They then discuss route and price, if going your way and price is right you get in…don’t try this without a guide! If the price is not right you have to dramatically slam the door, shame I never got to do that, it looked like fun.
Tomorrow I start my journey on the Trans Siberian Railway (TSR), I had Alexandria take me to the station I leave from so I could orientate myself, but the lovely lady has offered to come with me the morning of my departure. Moscow has nine rail terminals connecting all of Russia to the capital, I am traveling from the Yaroslavsky Terminal, Moscow on Komsomolskaya Square, this is the western terminus of the TSR and where my journey will continue from, can’t wait after all the time spent planning and researching it is actually going to happen.