Monday, January 2, 2012
In Moscow we stayed at the huge Cosmos Hotel.
I think it was built for Moscow's Olympic Games.
Not in the luxury rooms but my room had great views and was comfortable. I am not too fussy a person but, I had to ask for a change of room because of some stench in the first. It was awful.
Like animals lived in there with a little cigarette smoke thrown. That was no problem with the staff as they agreed that it was weird. Like most of Moscow in those days, the hotel was a little grubby.
It was really beautiful with lots of marble and lots of little sitting areas. The nightclub in the basement was where I first saw Salsa Latin dancing. I could have stayed all night watching this couple who were so smotth but left when the other two girls wanted to go.
I was there in early spring with ice still around so there was slushy mud on the streets and puddles.
Moscow got it's heating and hot water from one main station pumped through to each residence.
I had to travel on this tour with just an overnight bag. I had not long come from Ireland where I had bought a used Bodhran for my youngest son and it was in my larger suitcase. I left that behind at the hotel in London. The drum wouldn't fit in the smaller bag so I couldn't swap bags.
I fitted everything I needed in that bag. It was cold so I had boots, jeans, warm tops, thermal long johns, scarf etc. I still don't know how it all fitted. The clothes I washed at night would be dry by morning after laying them over the room heaters and so warm if I wanted to wear them.
I get the two cities of Moscow and St Petersberg mixed up in the smaller details.
A side trip was to the KIROV BALLET. One of the most magical nights of my life for this ballet lover. The principal female dancer was retiring that season but she was just so magnificent.
I think she was 40 yrs old then! The building was opulent with tiers of balcony seating around the walls. So grateful for that one!
We also went to another place to a show. The room was small with a stage and the players were beautiful with perfect makeup and wonderful costumes. It was a comedy. One girl had a most interesting face and body movements. She made the night in her lovely yellow dress with a full skirt.
Who ever made those costumes, sews beautifully.
The Moscow circus was one of the side trips. The driver, the guide and I were the only ones that didn't go. I stayed away in protest of the animal cruelty and the other two because they had seen it all before. I didn't carry on 'like a pork chop' as we say but still went for the bus ride to see more of the Moscow sites.
There many road side market tables along the way. We stopped at some to try to get genuine souvenirs. One man was selling the Russian fur helmet/hat with the warm ear flaps. As soon as the sales were over, he packed up in no time and I saw him drive away in a BMW!!! Sure enough, there he was at the next lot of stalls... How's that for enterprise?
I first became interested in Russia after learning about Stalin and his genocide. Then I came across the wonderful writings of Aleksandr Solzenhitzyn. The subject matter was not wonderful at all but his writing made me think and research. This was pre-internet! I had read the other well known Russian authors but they did not make the same impression.
I heard the most beautiful, haunting singing ever in a Russian Orthodox church.
I can't remember where. In their churches you stand and come and go as you please. No seating at all. Very ornate with the famous Russian icons on show.
There was a young Rabbi with two women and maybe one other man who were practicing a hymn? in an alcove. No instruments, just a'capella. The singing was so moving that I could have just slid down the pillar I was leaning against and sobbed and sobbed. I have never been so moved.
My friend that I met on this trip came up to me and we just hugged each other. She felt the same! We both had goosebumps. Once again, I could have stayed until the singers left but had to hurry after the rest. We all loved that experience.
This link does not have the same singing but does have great pictures.
I had better go do house work and then sewing and some putting out sugar cane mulch on garden beds.
I went out last night to a lovely friend's dinner. She had set a table up in the middle of their lawn, with a linen cloth with wide crocheted edging that her maternal grandmother had done. Each of the grand daughters were given one. With this was a beautiful crystal twin candle holder that was part of a wedding present from her mother. The other part of the present was a new roof for their home!
The sweet dishes were also her mothers. She told us the story of when they had canned cherries they would put the pips all around the edge of the plate. I loved how everything had a story and these things were precious to her.
It was cool with a lovely perfume wafting on the breeze along with the faint smell of something dead!
On the way home we saw a large black feral pig run in front of the car.
Is that an omen for the future ??