We fly to
Our Muscovite guide revels in their Metro and is keen to point out the both the grandeur and the efficiency. The stations decorations were indeed a revelation. As well as the suitably stoic figures and slogans urging industry and good honest toil there were fabulous friezes studded with diamonds and other precious stones, stunning ceilings with adorned with gold Soviet emblems and art deco lights. It flashed through my mind how long such a diamond studded frieze would retain its diamonds on the London Underground despite it being seemingly inaccessible over the tunnel to the escalators. Hmmm, maybe moments I think!
Another surprise is St Basil's in Red Square, it does somewhat look like it was coloured in by children, it almost doesn't seem real and it does inspire my Moscow fridge magnet. I'm not entirely sure which has the crazier colours!
After a stop in a hotel for pineapple pastries and tea we headed off for the Armoury and the Kremlin. I was in two minds about the Armoury.
I am not deeply fascinated by guns, cannons or tanks and if that’s all there was I am not sure if I really wanted to bother but I couldn’t have been in for more of a surprise. The Armoury Chamber is a treasure house forming part of the
These were not the egg shaped pendants I had been lusting over during my Russian stay but some of the original remaining Imperial Easter eggs extravagantly adorned and containing a surprise (so now I know where Kinder Surprise comes form!) And the surprises? Well how about a miniature solid gold wind up steam train with carriages. I could have pressed my nose against those cabinets for ever but there was so much more to see. Such a lavishness and show of wealth I have ever seen, many of these bejewelled offerings were a sweetener to the Tsar hoping he’d permit trading or a foreign monarch sending a little show of appreciation. A tiny thing like a massive hand carved diamond studded, gold carriage. Which once delivered would never perform the duty it was designed for but just add to store of ‘pretty trinkets’. It was all rather mind blowing!
After positively gorging on all that opulence, we headed off for a taste of local cuisine in a ‘typical Russian’ restaurant. Or we tried to, our day had been occasionally interrupted by coach problems, it seems that Russian coaches aren’t as reliable as their Metro system. And awaiting a new coach in the searing heat makes us very late to arrive at the restaurant.
M and I were seated by our taciturn waiters in a little balcony for two with a magnificent view of the restaurant, the musicians and the diners below. Our starter was some very welcome fluffy blinis and sour cream with a smattering of caviar (not Beluga I hasten to add, but salmon roe). Not a bad start! I break my usual rule of photographing food in restaurants by using a flash. It is so dark and everyone is taking photographs anyway of their surroundings so I can’t imagine I could be accused of disturbing anyone, always a fear nowadays. Next we had a vivid salad of pepper and tomatoes which I decide to pass on, but I have to admit that it looks colourful. Next it is the Russian classic of Beef Stroganoff with some fried morsels of potatoes. It’s not bad at all; we have had a fabulous day but are somewhat fatigued now so some good food is most welcome. We wrap up with some fruit and ice cream which we polish off quite promptly as we have a plane to catch.
We head for the airport hearing more about the history of