So, we flew back from St Petersburg last Sunday, via Amsterdam (always a mistake), at the end of an utterly memorable visit to the Russian Federation. Still not convinced that Putin is, on the whole, a good idea but a wee bit less anti than I was before I went. People wonderful, language interesting, sites and sights epic. We will go back.
First five days spent in Moscow, a short walk from the Kremlin. Even shorter walk on the first night to the Bolshoi Theatre where we had tickets for a chamber orchestra performance which was seriously stonking. Mrs M is still slightly besotted by the cello soloist in the third piece. To be fair, I was not totally unaffected by the third lady from the right in the Second Violins. She seemed to me to be a very nice girl.
The next morning we set off to visit my personal pick Moscow-wise. I know you all recall Bravo22 from the heady days of MyT and of the Chariot in its prime. His photos all seem to have vanished from the Chariot but I still remember being blown away by the ones of his visit to the ‘Quietly Flows the Don’ monument. I had to go.
It’s on the Boulevard Ring Walk just up the road from the Russian National Cathedral. When we arrived, Russian commuters were walking past it like it wasn’t there. It was a bit like what I do when I stroll down the Royal Mile or look up at Embra Castle from Princes Street.
OK, it ended up that I now have far more memorable memories of other parts of Moscow than said monument. Doesn’t alter the fact that I still miss so many former MyT/Charioteers who entertained us all in the Good Old Days.
And, I will always be grateful to Bravo for this particular heads-up.
9 thoughts on “Still Standing”
There is much good in Russia — and there are those things that aren’t so good. Russian politics are never pleasant, the less said about it the better. Good to hear that you’ve returned safely.
Some epic cites too. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Your account gives a new meaning to ‘heads up’, innit?
Pleased you enjoyed your trip, Mr Mackie, and I well remember that photograph from Bravo. I wonder how he’s getting on, but then I too miss the old crowd.
Best regards to you and your family, and Dougal dog.
Never saw the original. But that is a fantastic sculpture.
True, CO. Mind, the photo would have been better had I not impinged a finger top left due to unfamiliarity with my new phone. Still to download Mrs. M’s efforts and hope they will be an improvement.
Well played, Sipu, What a fabulous language we share, Three totally different words, all with the same pronunciation.
On to Tolstoy, The Russians that I met were keen to establish which of their countrymen we had heard of. We reeled off our litanies to find that Dostoevsky was not rated, Pushkin was right up there, Chekhov OK, Tchaikovsky stellar. And so on. But, Tolstoy was not a hot pick for most for some reason.
Our guide to the Golden Ring really bonded when I mentioned Yuri Gagarin and he got seriously over-excited when I said that one of my boyhood treasures was a Russian stamp depicting YG, Valentina Tereshkova and Alexei Leonov.
Mind, it all went a wee bit downhill when I said that one of the most famous Russians in the UK was the blind linesman who inexplicably assured the referee that the ball had crossed the line in the 1966 World Cup Final. Apparently he was not Russian at all but a Georgian bastard like Stalin.
The boy was always impressed with Russia, he had to travel via Moscow to get to the ‘stans’ and stopped over. He had actually learnt Russian as it was the only lingua franca of the stans although they didn’t like using it after the Russians had left. He seemed to get on with them famously, the russians , that is.
He admitted on one trip he woke up (having passed out from vodka) in a whore house in central Moscow and the girls got him vertical and got him a taxi at some impossibly early hour to get to the airport, one actually went with him to make sure he got the flight to Dagestan. Very civilized!!!
I never quite knew how he did it, anyone else would have been tossed out on the street!
CO: Russians can be remarkably compassionate and caring, especially if they like you. They’re also used to such antics.