Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Played Tourist Today

We decided to be tourists today and went to the Pushkin Museum of Art. Mike had to go to work and Luba could watch the girls so we went off on an adventure. Lisa hadn’t been to that part of the city, so the maps were consulted. It was a long subway ride – don’t think I mentioned the doors start to open before the train comes to a complete stop – no wonder they don’t lean on them! I even got a seat – the seats run straight down each side and the heat is under them - it was nice and cozy. When we got there, we had to cross a major, 4 lane avenue without a light. The traffic doesn’t slow down – so you can’t dawdle.

The museum is small but very nice – a wide variety of well known artists with Russian counterparts. There were several self portraits – it was nice to look into their eyes. You can get real close to everything - didn't notice any security stuff except for lots of middle aged ladies watching you. Of course we headed straight for the Monet’s – surprised that there wasn’t a haystack – but there were 3 different cathedrals hanging next to each other so you could study the subtle differences. There were probably more workers than people there and no school groups. The museum shop was just a counter of some art books in Russian – Lisa and I thought they could use some better marketing. There was a cafe but we headed for another businessmen’s lunch.

Back on the Metro – this time we all had seats! We went to a Beer Garden – a building, no garden - decorated with 1920s stuff. First newly renovated Ladies’ Room – all the others have been small, utilitarian and worn. Think they are catering to the expat crowd - there was a Santa on the reception desk holding a sign “I believe in Santa” – in English. The food was delicious. For appetizers, I had herring with grated beets and apples, Ron and Lisa had mushrooms in cream sauce. For our entrees, I had stroganoff, Lisa had salmon, and sausage and cabbage for Ron, all with scrumptious mash potatoes again. First time I saw Russian tea cups but no samovar yet. We had water and Lisa had a beer - the bill came to less than 1,000 ru – a bargain!

Stopped in a book store - large selection, but no coffee or seats. A wide choice in English – didn’t notice any other languages. Looked briefly at the craft section – saw some crochet and quilting books even a translated silk ribbon embroidery copy of one that’s on my shelf at home. Hope I can get back there when time isn’t short.

Decided to take the bus home. Not one of the standard ones – a small yellow van. The fare was only 20 ru and it stopped right outside the gate. Every seat was taken and I sat right by the door- not a good idea. I didn’t realize I was in charge of passing up the money to the driver, make change and open the door - caused some grumbles but I got better.

The girls were deep into Barbie – seems they decided to move in their My Little Ponies into the first floor of the dream house. I didn’t know some ponies have magnets in their hooves – makes interesting refrigerator art. Mike was home early so we had a dinner of leftovers. The girls continued the fashion show – there are just so many new combinations to try!

A few other things I don’t think I mentioned:
You check your coat everywhere without tipping.
Stairs in public places are carpeted just down the center. Since most are marble, those of us who need the banister are on slippery footing. They use the metal stair rods my mother couldn’t wait to get rid of once she got wall to wall carpeting.
You have to pass through metal detectors and there are lots of security types in dark suits all over.
We haven’t seen an elevator – just stairs or a few escalators.
Don’t see any fire escapes – so with the lack of hydrants, I’m starting to wonder what they do in the case of fire.
Walking on the right isn't always the norm - I don't see signs so you have to watch where everyone else is headed - yes, I've had to turn around and get it right.

Just realized I didn’t take any pictures! Drat! At least the camera is small and doesn’t weigh much.

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