Category Archives: Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 57

Saturday, 27 May 1978

Fine, warm-hot

320 miles to Novorogod [sic]. Flat country

Wooden houses on sides of main road. No signs of guttering or tanks. Saw one village pump. Roads better. Picnic lunch – triple slice sandwich meat and cheese – boiled egg – cucumber and bottle of lemonade.

Novorogod [sic] 6.15. Hotel only about 12 months old. Room with shower and toilet and very hot water.

Very neat room.

Optional dinner (£5) at a restaurant in old monastery. In cellar large table. Fish dish and salad similar to Greek dish and bowl of beef and tasty mixture of soup like vegetables in it.

Russian alcoholic jug and Russian sweet drink. B & butter and very sweet tea with cinnamon and some bottles of Vodka. A noisy group of 30.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 56

Friday, 26 May 1978


Breakfast: Salami, bread, apple juice, butter, egg omelette, tea.

Visited exhibition of Scientific & Agricultural Achievement. Drove around in mini train. Monument to space explorers. Rocket on top of huge tail in shape of path of exhaust flames. 70+ pavilions, very large fountains. Kids after chewing gum jumped in the bus. Man, wife and kids crowded into our compartment. Squeal as we moved down a hill, turned out to be a woman with a small pig in a bag and it was trying to get out.

Moscow exhibition of scientific and agricultural achievement entrance gate

Exhibition grounds

Exhibition grounds








Visited space museum. Full scale models of Sputnik, dog moon buggies, communication satellites, Soyuz Combined American – US docking.

Space exhibit

Space exhibit

Space rocket







Circlorama of Russia. Circular building with screen all around you. We were standing in the middle. Feeling of movement down the road.

Tea 5.30 off to the circus at 6.15.

Circus started at 7pm. A large circular building with ring in the middle. Seats about 2000 or more. Very brightly lit. Acts excellent and well presented. Finished 9.40.

Saw the changing of the guard on Lenin’s tomb at 11pm.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 55

Thursday, 25 May 1978

Walked to the showers in the basement but no H.W. Later found out no H.W. in the hotel until the end of May!

Went for a walk. Tinned fish in windows. Pens 35k reduced to 18, ink 15k reduced to 7k. Ladies shoes 8, 10, 12R – poor quality. Mens shoes 15, 20R. Sugar 2 kg for 1.04R.

Russian children near the Metro

Visited and travelled on the Metro. On and off about 4 stops. Stations ornately decorated in marble and mosaic. Trains very fast and operate every 2 or 3 minutes according to period. Drove around Moscow – past Kremlin, Olympic sites and to the University. Very ornate building. Vista points of Moscow. Ski jump nearby.

Intourist guide explaining the buildings

Moscow Sports Arena

The Kremlin






Queue to the Museum inside the Kremlin

Kremlin Conference Building








Afternoon visit to Lenin’s Museum. Very slow and overlong commentary. Film on Lenin.

Moscow Kremlin – Lenin’s tomb

Walked back through BOM department store. Big crowds queuing to select and pay for goods.

After tea visited the Beriozka shop where foreign currency can be used. 4 bottles of tonic water at 22 kopek and sweets at 21 kopek.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 54

Wednesday, 24 May 1978

Tour around Minsk. Largely rebuilt Square – with administrative buildings, colleges around it. Historical house where Lenin held conference meetings to determine and, later, ordered his policies. Impressive monument to honour the resistance people. Tall obelisk with relief scenes in the four lower sections depicting grief, resistance.

Breakfast, buttermilk and unsweetened rice and tea and apple syrup.

Lunch at Smolensk at 3.30. Salad, soup, chicken and chips and meringue.

Moscow – looking towards the Kremlin

Long drive to Moscow. Impressive drive in as streets were brightly lit.

Hotel Bucarest – old building. Some young couples split up and put in single rooms.

Dinner at 10.15 – spiced mince in shape of sausage and overcooked thin chips.

Room very large, good furniture but poor carpet square. Basin and toilet but no H.W. available.

£1 = 1.24 – 1 ruble and 24 kopeks

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 53

Tuesday, 23 May 1978

Warsaw to Polish border 1 hr 10 mins to get out of Poland.

Across river to Russian border. Stepped off the bus and identified from photo. Took cases into large hall. Eventually, after filling in currency declaration, money checked – bags looked at, particularly for books and newspaper cuttings. Took English newspaper headlines to have checked. Took 2 hours.

Lunch at hotel. Cheese, soup, beef stroganoff, syrup and apple juice.

On the bus – after lunch

Long drive to Minsk. Several detours through small villages. Unpainted houses poorly dressed men, very rough streets. Much construction on main highway. Hotel off highway difficult to find. Heavy trucks.

Hotel at Minsk at 10.30. Comfortable room – shower and bath. Dinner: meat and salad and 2 pieces of steak and chips, 2 bottles of beer on table and apple juice and tea.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 52

Monday, 22 May 1978

Fine, very warm, afternoon showers

Breakfast 9.00 am. On the plate a large helping of ham (6 slices), 3 rolls. On the table packets of cheese, jam, butter and syrup drink.

City sightseeing tour.

The Administrative Building in Warsaw

Memorial to the Fallen, Warsaw






Warsaw bombed 1939, badly damaged, destroyed in 1944 on Hitler’s orders.

Large house blocks, wide streets, clear of pedestrians in certain parts. Very fast trams race down past hotel. Complex of pedestrian subways at the intersection.

On river Vistula. Many monuments. Old town reconstructed after the war. Shops, museums, cobbled streets. Market place.

Film shown on the destruction and ordered evacuation of Warsaw. Shows reconstruction of buildings, cathedral rebuilt from pictures. Other buildings restored from pictures. Restored buildings have shop or museum on ground floor – people live in 3 floors above.

Lunch – tongue and salad, soup, pork steak and potato, ice cream with nut and currant.

Wilanaw castle closed, but afternoon tour consisted of a drive out and walked around large gardens.

Chopin monument [Royal Castle, Warsaw] blown up and a replacement copy in large rose garden. Chopin concerts given there.

Monument to Chopin

Rebuilding the Royal Castle

People allowed to travel about within Eastern block countries and Cuba and Mongolia. Av wage 1977 about 3,500 Zloty a month – rents 600-1600 a month according to size and locality.

People may set up a private business and employ up to 25. Cannot have 2 businesses. May buy a flat but cannot rent it to others. Peoples Workers Party rules the country.


Tea: chicken, chips and vegetables and sweet jam roll slice.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 50

Saturday, 20 May 1978

Fine, cloud and showers and fog

Breakfast at 7.00. Boiled egg and bread, two meats to choose from and cheese for breakfast. No coach arrived until about 12. Had a walk around nearby shops only as we expected the coach to come.

Left about 1. Travelled autobahn motorway to save time.

Through borders DDR East German border terminal very large. Given bus no. and sent to lanes. All passports stamped. Official came on bus to check that the person matched the photograph. Took about 10-15 mins.

Checkpoint Charlie

Many barbed wire fences and guard towers. Along autobahn to West Berlin – through E.G. Border again but no check.

Berlin about 9.30. Well lit and brightly coloured shops.

Berlin shopping mall

Dinner at 10. Soup and a variety of German meats and salad.

Had a short walk down to the main street. (Bus 1pm to 9.30pm)

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 49

Friday, 19 May 1978

Fine (a.E.M.C.)

Taxi at 9 o’clock to Victoria Station. Waited for 3050 [group] to gather. Moved off at 9.55 to Platform 1. Two Australian girls opposite – one from Strathfield, one from Bondi. They left Perth last October. Train left at 10.35.

Dover at 12.05. Luggage left in group to be put in the hold. On boat about 12.20. Went down to self service for lunch at 12.35. Service very slow 2 fish @ £2, black tea @ 15p, small lemonade 35p = £4.50. Boat left at about 1.10. Crossing to lake about 4 hours. Fairly smooth crossing but a fair sea is running. Due to arrive at 5.55 continental time.

Mixed bunch on the coach. One dominant American voice. One over enthusiastic Australian(?) girl currying favour with chocolate and excess of well-manners.

After just crossing Dutch border the bus broke down. Had had a constant whine on the diff on the drive and seemed like a square wheel on the back. We were at a coffee break station. After a road mechanic came he announced it to be “kaput” and the courier arranged for another bus to come . Eventually a meal was served to us at the self service. Soup, fish, fruit. Left at 10.20 arrived 12.20 at Arnhem. The American and the Irishman talked all the way in very loud voices.


Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 48

Thursday, 18 May 1978

Fine (after E.M.C.) [Early Morning Cloud?]

Elsie had a hair perm appointment at 9.30 (took till 12.00).

I went up to London (9.00) with Geoff. He dropped me off at 10.00 at Vauxhall Bridge and I walked (15 mins) up to Cosmos to pick up the papers for the Russian trip.

I thought I did not have the air ticket for Copenhagen-Oslo so rang Scandinavian Airlines who said it should be with my air tickets and I should get in touch with Qantas. I decided I had better have another good look at the tickets and headed home.

Train to Embankment walked to Charing Cross and caught 11.08 train to Sidcup (3 mins to spare). 20 mins walk home.

Met Elsie on way home and then went and rang Newcastle to let them know that I would not be picking the car up until after 2.00 pm on June 11th. Told her it was a Sunday.

Sorted out our bags and left a lot of papers and clothes at Geoff’s place. Took two bags that are fairly light.

Mrs Lawson came down from Banbury and Geoff picked her up.

Early tea and Geoff left at 4.30 and dropped us at Moorgate – had a long wait for a circle Train.

Carried the bags from South Kensington to the hotel. Room 6 once again – we are now old stagers.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 47

Wednesday, 17 May 1978


Rob back to work – the kids back to school. E & G [Elsie & Gillian] did the housework and we drove down to new shopping centre at Chatham. A large regional shopping complex – shops air/cond but walkways and plazas, although covered, were not fully air/cond. Bought some t.paper, Redoxin, lozenges and film but Elsie could not find the heavier type slacks she was after.

Back to Gravesend shops. Many very large shops all well stocked with a very good selection. Bought a crew neck acrylic at Tescos $4.99 and Elsie bought blouses at Marks & Spencers. Had a haircut at Fishers. Had a trim by a buxom bra-less girl who had been standing out in the alley way and whom I wasn’t sure might have been soliciting.

After a big tea Elsie and Gill went to the local cub meeting. E said that the kids were good and soon learned the Highland Goat and asked questions about the Australian flag.

Darryl off to Cubs

Rob took us back to Jennifer’s about 9 o’clock.

Big greeting by Sally (dog).