Because nothing says winter in Moscow quite like a Ferris wheel ride above a snow covered VDNKh park.
Take the metro to the VDNkh station, walk outside and across the street and this is what you see, the Monument to the Conquerors of Space erected in 1964. While getting to the moon was one hell of an achievement for the United States, my affection is still for the Russian space program and what they achieved with determination, ingenuity and bravery. Had things gone just a little differently, well maybe there’d by a Tsiolkovsky lunar encampment in the sea of Tranquility today…
In the base of the monument is a space museum which is where we headed after admiring the monument in the somewhat frigid temperature. FYI it’s not made very obvious but you need to buy an extra ticket to take photo’s, and there are photo police wandering the exhibition (which annoyed the crap out of G). Despite that this is a great little museum brimming over with history, but still suffering from the hangover of soviet circumspection about it’s failures. To my mind it could be so much better by talking honestly about the near misses, disasters and tragedies of the program as well as showing more of the story of all those involved in the program e.g. the engineers and technicians, as well as the husbands, wives and children* of the cosmonauts. Definitely worth the visit, and worth being pestered by the photo police. Oh and the idea of making the monument out of titanium, literally priceless.
*For example Elena Yurievna Gagarina the eldest daughter of Yuri Gagarin is the director of the Kremlin State museum (The Armoury) which we’d visited yesterday.
Day two and an earlier start thanks to setting the alarm and figuring out where the coffee filters were. Also found out that if you really want to cool the kitchen down quickly just open the window a crack in the early morning of a Russian winter, works a treat, although G is convinced I’ll catch my death from the draft. After breakfast we headed out and took the metro to Red Square, arriving at around 10am where we queued at the ticket office in Alexandrovsky Gardens. My first queue in the snow, which I believe is traditional in these parts. Then with Armoury tickets in hand it was a quick walk through the Borovitskaya Tower entrance, along the wall of the Armoury to join another amiable queue for half an hour, still snowing. Finally we got inside dropped our jackets in the cloak room, donned the white plastic overshoes, and ascended the stairs to the Armoury. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
And a New Year in Russia (2013)
The day after new years day I’m sitting in Hong Kong airport transit lounge at four in the morning waiting for the connecting Aeroflot flight to Moscow, big M4 parka in tow. I have my visa, all other paperwork is in order and G is meeting me at the airport. Purpose of visit? Why to visit my parents in-law and for G to show me her home. First time to Russia, it’s a little exciting, besides which there’s the prospect of the central naval museum in St Petersburg. Continue reading