Red square, Boyars and Bulgakov

St Basil

On foot, in Moscow, in winter…

We woke, late, and headed out into the Moscow morning, it’s a cool day but not unusually so at about -10 C with snow falling in big fat flakes. Our staring point for the day is, you guessed it, Red Square. But after that our trail gets a little more eclectic. 

Red square was actually quite full of people walking around, G was a little disappointed that we couldn’t get in to see Lenin, as the tomb was closed off under a giant bubble, and I was a little disappointed that the cosmonaut’s tombs were blocked off as well. But hey regardless, this is Red Square! And that’s the Kremlin!!

After taking the obligatory tourist photo’s we headed to the GUM department store for some traditional Soviet era style ice cream, ice cream in winter makes perfect sense (really it does).  Then across to the Central Exhibition Hall to explore Soviet Design 1950-1980. I kind of like the idea of a vacumn cleaner that can be reversed and used as a spray painter, and the aesthetic of washing machine that looks more like the lower stage of a lunar rocket. G told me that the record player we saw was actually produced in a factory next to her home in far off Chelyabinsk.

After having our fill of soviet era design we got our bearings from St Basil and took the stairs on the right hand side of Varvarka street down to the path that runs along beside the oldest quarter of buildings in Moscow.  First stop the English Courtyard, the base of operations for the English trade delegation to the court of the Tsar’s in the 16th century, and having a look inside the building you do get that Tudor english feel. Past the Cathedral of the Sign (with the one gold and four green domes) is the Palace of the Romanov Boyar’s. Damn, turned out we didn’t quite have enough money for the museum, so instead we made a snow man in the courtyard of the palace. After retrieving scarf and hat from the snow man we headed up onto Varvarka street proper and the Church of St George, the only church still open on Varvarka street, where G paid her respects.

Then we headed down the hill and across the intersection via the underpass, keep a lookout for the 6th century Varvarka gate tower’s foundations in it’s walls. Which brought us out in front of the Cyril and Methodius Monument in Slavic square. After admiring the old slavic inscription, and it’s mistakes, we headed up through Novaya square past the poly-technical museum in yellow, past the Solovetsky stone and on to Lubyanka square. And there it is in all it’s neo-baroque excess, the former headquarters of the All-Russia Insurance Company (and other tenants). After that we walked down the hill past the Bolshoi and after a half hour arrived at the Patriach Ponds. That’s also where, literary side note, Bulgakov’s ‘Master and Margarita’ opens with the appearance of the devil. Pay attention, we run into Bulgakov again later. The cold is deepening now so we cut across the frozen ice to the Pavilion for dinner.

After dinner (I had the rabbit as you asked, it was excellent) we started to walk up to Mayakovskaya metro station along Bolshaya Sadovaya street, when G noticed a small sign to the Bulgakov house museum. The museum itself is tucked down a side street, with a visit just for an old chap in a tsarist uniform playing the guitar in the cafe while the black museum cat wanders the halls.

A long day filled with interesting twists and turns.

Either that's Lenin's tomb or they're trying to inflate a dirigible

Either that’s Lenin’s tomb or they’re trying to inflate a dirigible

Galina with the Marshal of Red Square

Galina with the Marshal of Red Square (a lot of red going on)

A closer view of a building as unique in it's own style as Sagrada Familia.

A closer view of a building as unique as Sagrada Familia

A little bit more of St Basil, designed, reputedly, to reach up like the flames from a bonfire

A little bit more of St Basil. Designed, according to Wikipedia, to reach up like the flames from a bonfire, uh huh…

The walls and watchtowers of the Kremlin

The walls and watchtowers of the Kremlin

The GUM department store , even I have heard about it

The GUM department store, background for innumerable cold war pot boilers, I half expected to see George Smiley checking a dead letter drop

Ice cream in the middle of winter, why not? A little bit of soviet era nostalgia for G.

Soviet style ice cream in the middle of winter. A little bit of nostalgia for G

Perspective down the main hall of GUM (reminds me of the QVB in Sydney)

Perspective down the main hall of GUM (and reminding me of the QVB in Sydney)

One wonders what the Soviet equivalent of playing army was

One wonders what the Soviet era equivalent of playing army was

Washing machine or lour stage of a launch vehicle, you be the judge...

Washing machine or first stage of a satellite launch vehicle, you be the judge…

Soviet era (1960s) vacumn cleaner…

Soviet era (1960s) vacumn cleaners

Cathedral of the sign (Znamensky Sobor) built on the 17 century Romanov estate

Cathedral of the Sign (Znamensky Sobor) built on the 17 century Romanov estate (and not all reminding me of the QVB in Sydney)

IMG_8141

A snowman in the Palace of the Romanov Boyas, how… unusual

A rather oriental looking snowman in the Palace of the Romanov Boyas, how… unusual

Palace of the Romanov Boyars with snowman

Palace of the Romanov Boyars with snowman but less scarf and hat

Cyril and Methodius Monument (they invented an alphabet, cyrillic. Put that on your resume!)

Cyril and Methodius: the inventors of the cyrillic alphabet, now put that on your resume 🙂

Bolshoi (passing by)

Bolshoi (passing by)

There's only one, but it's frozen solid, so...

There’s only been one pond for about 200 years, and it’s frozen solid. A quick walk across the ice and dinner is in order

The pavilion for dinner, why not indeed

The pavilion for dinner…

The pavilion  inside

… and the Pavilion inside

Statues that greet you outside the Bulgakov museum

Koroviev and Azazelo greets you outside the Bulgakov museum

Poor Berlioz, Bulgakov House, museum and theatre (Bolshaya Savodaya ulitsa number 10)

Poor Berlioz, the oil really had been spilled already…

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