There’s been one thing very noticeable on the streets of Moscow, and that’s us.
Moscow is full of Russian Christmas tourists and it’s a busy city even without that influx. And all those Russians, with very few exceptions, wear black. Black puffy jackets are the season’s fashion, but there are also black leather jackets, black furs and black overcoats. The occasional rebel will wear dark brown or blue and once in a very great while you’ll see someone sporting a dark red. That makes our brightly coloured ski jackets stand out like christmas lights on a dark night.
This morning we rode the Metro, amongst this sea of black, not really to get anywhere, but with the aim of seeing the famous Moscow Metro stations. It has to be said that the stations are fabulously decorated, more like palaces than train stations with frescos, chandeliers, and mosaics. It’s a strange juxtaposition with the subject matter of the decorations being Soviet triumphs.
With the eyes picked out of the train stations we headed for the Museum Park which displays some of the Soviet statues that were removed from around Moscow over the last couple of decades; all against the backdrop of a huge steam-punk statue of Peter the Great. There are some fierce-looking statues of Lenin who really makes all of the later leaders look like pale public servants by comparison.
The Museum Park leads right into Gorky Park, which was somewhere I wanted to visit largely because of the book and movie. But by now it was snowing and there was a vicious wind blowing so we briefly admired the skaters on Europe’s largest rink and then moved on.
Back on the Metro we headed North to the Cosmonautic Museum. The museum is buried under a wonderful, sculpture that stretches up into the sky and is tipped with a rocket, it’s base showing classic Soviet workers doing things – although, unusually, in this case they are not working in factories or fields but on computers and with slide rules. The Museum itself was excellent even though there were only occasional signs in English. Our favourite bit was the Soyuz lander, complete with instructions on how to get it open, and get the cosmonauts out, if you found one by chance while minding the sheep one day.
Back at the hotel we had Birthday cake, provided by the watchful management, and warmed back up. Then we ventured out to take a look at St Basil’s by night. It’s fairy tale architecture may be the single most colourful thing in Moscow once we leave tomorrow.