What do I have in common with Rick Steves? Don’t laugh…I have more in common with Rick than you might imagine. Rick and I are around the same age (ok, I’m a wee bit older). As a teen, Rick discovered he could travel without his parents. I figured that out around the same age as an exchange student in high school. If you would like to read about that life changing event…click on the link.
Rick Steves saved money earned from giving piano lessons to pay for his travel. I used to play the piano (that counts) and I saved every penny to finance a trip to the USSR in February 1974.
Rick found what he loved and built an empire around it. I found what I loved (kind of) and went to work for an empire (which involved travel).
A few days ago I came across an album filled with old photos from my trip. They are so old- 43 years. I remember dropping the film off at the camera shop so it could be developed. I was in agony waiting to pick up the finished product. My camera was inexpensive, aka cheap, but at least I was able to capture some memories. I love the look of faded photos however I wish these weren’t quite as faded.
I thought I’d share some of the photos. Tourism to The Soviet Union (involving Americans anyway) was not a common occurrence in those days. I was young and ballsy at 20. Yep, ballsy. I flew into Helsinki and took the night train into Leningrad. The train was stopped at the Soviet border by men who checked underneath with flashlights. They also boarded the train and came into the compartments. Intimidating to say the least.
Imagine lifting the curtain and coming face to face with a member of the Soviet Border Troop. It got my attention…
The trip was amazing though. I stayed in beautiful hotels (the rooms were bugged) and had the opportunity to visit places I had only dreamed of.
Construction began on the Peter and Paul Fortress in 1706. It was used as a prison and execution ground. Very grim indeed.
The color is a brilliant blue. Close your eyes to picture it or google…
This was the summer palace for the Royal family.
The Palace sustained substantial damage during the war. You can see where they were working on it.
The Winter Palace (houses the Hermitage Museum) is on the right.
This was used as a school for Army engineers. Pretty fancy.
Moving along to Moscow
I flew Aeroflot from Leningrad to Moscow. It was an experience…
I love how many of the photo’s have turned pink/red. This gives me a reason to return for current photos. I know these can be adjusted but I’ll leave them as is.
It was so cold and these lovely men were outside for hours playing chess.
The snow was heavy and these women shoveled as if their lives depended on it. Wait…maybe…
Thank you for walking down memory lane with me. I wonder where Rick Steves was in February 1974?