Monthly Archives: May 2017

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 61

Wednesday, 31 May 1978


Stand up breakfast. Big selection of food. Help yourself.

Helsinki market area

Helsinki church in an old quarry






Morning city tour at 10. City cathedral organ was playing. Bright clean inside. Monument to Sibelius. Market place bright flowers and fruit. 4 apples 2.80 FM, 4 oranges 2.40 FM.

Helsinki monument to Sibelius

Afternoon in city – large shops – arcades, many self service.

Boarded boat at 5.00, Wellamo. Small cabin with H&C and shower and toilet – beautifully clean new boat.

On ferry to Sweden

Smorgasbord tea at 8.25. Huge variety of foods – salads – hot dishes.

Sailed 6pm.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 60

Tuesday, 30 May 1978

Drive through different country near Bay [sic] of Finland [Gulf of Finland]. Camps for children at seaside resort.

Presentation to Irene (our guide) – art books. She left at Vyborg to return to Moscow. 2 hours at Russian border. 1 hour at Finnish border – bus checked for Vodka.

Different look about the countryside. Houses painted, spread out on lots, cars, TV aerials, flowers, well formed roads, bicycles.

Hotel Pobar out of Helsinki. Excellent meal of soup and fish. 1 bottle of beer 5.45 FM = 78p = $1.25. 1 bottle of Fanta 3.00 FM = 42p = 68c. Postcards 1.20 FM – 17p = 27c/Airmail Post 1.10 – 15.5p = 25c Toilet and shower.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 59

Monday, 29 May 1978

Fine, warm

City tour. Much of it around our hotel area.

Leningrad – near old stock exchange

Afternoon to Peter’s Palace. Many fountains. Old summer house, damaged by Nazi’s has been restored. Heavy day.

Peters Palace looking to front

Peters Palace looking across front

Visited Birioska and bought tonic water.

Dropped and broke my glasses.

Evening Russian meal £10. Black caviar, selection of 4 cold meats and fish. Pancakes, red caviar and cream. Steak and onions & chips. Meringue ice cream cake. Carafe of Vodka, 2 bottles of still wine (E. nice/J. vinegary) and 4 bottles of champagne.

Russian orchestra of 8 – very good. 2 singers – tenor and contralto excellent. Russian songs and Italian songs. Very well staged and audience enjoyed the show immensely.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 58

Sunday, 28 May 1978

Fine, warm 19o

City tour of Novorogod [sic]. Large residential industrial area. Water carts in some areas. Visited Kremlin. Teenagers participating in competition for marching, turning.

Our group being conducted around [Novgorod] Kremlin

Eternal flame and unknown soldier guarded by 2 boys and 1 girl – 30 minute shifts – every day of the week. In the Kremlin grounds of the city – museums, tanks to the defence of the city.

Very high and impressive monument to 1000 years of the city. Military leaders through the period and scenes of activities of people.

Monument for 1000 years of the city

Large cathedral of St Sofia – 3 domes, large iconostans [sic] – heavy pillars.

To Leningrad Old Hotel Astoria. H&C water (no. B & toil). Meals at Hotel Europa about 1 mile away. Lunch at 3.00.

Visited the Hermitage at 4 o’clock – old palace of the Tsars. Huge gilded reception rooms, ball rooms, dining rooms. Examples of art and antiquity from many countries. Marble pillars, vases, dishes, fonts, marble wall.

Walked down to the river.

During the day the streets were crowded with people.

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.