Basically, this was the tour visiting Moscow metro stations.
The guide was called Sergei who was fairly young and seemed lacking in worldly wisdom.
We went to the centre of Moscow by bus and entered Belorusskaya Station first.
The Moscow metro stations are famous for their gorgeous interiors like palaces.
It was opened in 1935 during the Stalin era, so although the decorations appear as if they were from Romanov palaces at first glance, but if you look at them closely, the mosaics, pictures and statues are often workers of Soviet Union.
The top architects were chosen for the designs of the stations and they were ordered to design not only to be convenient, but also to show the unique aspects of each location.
For example, at the Belorusskaya Station, there were decorations related to Belarus which used to be a republic of Soviet Union.
As for the materials, the various marbles from Urals, Central Asia and others and semi-precious stones such as agate, onyx and labradorite are used generously.
Sergei described these luxury as “Because the busy workers do not have time to visit museums, so they brought museums to the people”.
It was not the first time for both of us to visit the Moscow metro, so we were not surprised at the gorgeous interiors, but surprised at what Sergei said, which is “At the peak time, the train comes every 45 seconds”.
In London we often have to wait for 5 minutes even at the peak time.
And the fare in Moscow is 50 Rubles (about ￡0.65, €0.70, $0.85) a time wherever you go.
I cannot help myself comparing with London tube, but the fare in central London from one station to the next station, if you pay by cash it costs as mush as ￡4.90 (€5.55, $6.54) and even by card it is ￡2.40.
And in Moscow, metro lines are carrying twice as many people as London.
The drivers were supposed to be punctual, so “You have to get on and off very quickly” said Sergei.
That sounds very similar to the railways in Japan (One time I could not get off the Shinkansen because one passenger was so slow and I had to go all the way to the next station which was miles away and come back).
The people we saw then were surely moving quickly though it was quite late at night and my husband said “They are like in Japan”.
Also we were impressed by the cleanliness of the stations in spite of the huge numbers of users.
We took the metro train to other stations : Novoslobodskaya with lovely stained glasses, Komsomolskaya with a gorgeous yellow ceiling and Kievskaya with pretty mosaic pictures with the theme of Ukraine.
The last one we went was the new Park Pobedy Station opened in 2003.
This station is the deepest in Moscow and one of the deepest in the world, so that they can use it as a nuclear shelter.
There were not decorations like palaces anymore, but marbles are used here too and the design and the cleanliness were as good as any other stations we saw.
We went out to the ground from here and went to the Victory Park nearby.
It started raining and this rain continued all day next day.
I just want to mention some of the things related to metro in Moscow.
In the past when I visited here, I was rather frightened of the length and the speed of the escalators in Moscow metro.
This time, of course the long escalators were still there, but the speed was not so fast as before.
I wonder if they changed it for old people and children.
Another thing is that we noticed on the next day when we had free time and moved around using the metro, that sometimes one station has got a few different names depending on the line, which was a bit confusing.
The metro in Moscow is easy to use with the map, but you have to be aware of that.