Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Walk in Gorky Park, the Garage and Tretyakov Museums and Detained by TSA Security

Friday, August 16th Gorky Park, the Garage Museum and the New Tretyakov Gallery

Wonerful French pastries in the Arbat district of Moscow
We’ve settled into a morning routine of having breakfast at a stylish French bakery cafe near the metro station. I have a croque Madame and Art orders a set breakfast plate of eggs, croissant and juice. Fully caffeinated after a cappuccino and espresso, we descend into the metro in the direction of Gorky Park.

Gorky Park entrance sign
Tube slide in the children's play area

The weather is perfect and we stroll through the immense park detouring to a children’s play area where they splash and play in shallow pools with innovative water wheels and corkscrew squirting gadgets.

Interactive water wheel in the children's play area

Corkscrew water gadgets in the children's play area
Beyond the children’s area, fountains dance in reflecting pools edged with flower beds.
Beautiful Gorky Park in August
Reflecting pools and fountains in Gorky Park
We expect to see innovative art and design at the Garage Museum but are sorely disappointed with the blasé exhibits. I agree with the message but find the delivery boring. 

Are you are the pigeon or the statue?
There is no planet B exhibit

There is no planet B exhibit
Lunch however is delightful at their courtyard cafe until Art exits the clear glass sliding door only to be smacked in the forehead by a second glass panel a few feet beyond. A museum attendant is seriously concerned but Art shakes it off muttering an irritation to me about squirting train toilet gadgets and unusually positioned exit doors.

Wonderful lunch at the Garage Museum
Delighted to have vegetables again

Still hopeful of seeing some inspiring art today, we head to the New Tretyakov Gallery and stand in an unmoving line for 20 minutes before realizing that this particular line is for a virtual reality exhibit that we are not interested in. We pass around this line and easily enter the main galleries of the museum. We spend several delicious hours enjoying the 20th and 21st century collection of modern, avant-garde and social realism art.

Art and Kandinski
Mark Chagall - Lillies of the Valley
Tretyakov Museum
Builders of Bratsk - 1960 Viktor Popkov
Lyubov Popova - 1916
Composition - 1920 Ivan Klyun

Gallery at the Tretyakov Museum

Gallery in the Tretyakov Museum
Get Heavy Industry Moving Yuri Pimenov
Anti Imperilist Meeting - Yuri Pimenov

Future Pilots - 1938 Alexander Deineka
1933 - Vladimir Lebedev
The Kukryniks Artists - 1957 Pavel Korin

The Cosmic Brothers - 1982 Yuri Korolev
Tretyakov Museum
Chronicle of Russian Art 1920 -1950

Returning to the Arbat district we search hopelessly for a decent restaurant for our final dinner in Moscow. We have a simple dinner at one of the outdoor cafes along the street lined with tourist shops and street artists displaying their mediocre paintings seeming around the clock. After dinner we pop into a co-op crafts gallery that is just closing for the day. I find some unusual fabricated jewelry and buy a pair of earrings from the jeweler’s wife.
I buy a pair of fabricated earrings

Saturday, August 17th - Our last day in Moscow.

Art mapping out our day
Cappuccino and espresso

Often our final travel day is one of stress but our flight tonight between Moscow and London doesn’t depart until 6:11 P.M. and we have the luxury of not setting our alarm. We wake shortly before 8:00 A.M to the sound of light rain upon tin roofs. I take the two steps required to reach our tiny bathroom. The Lonely Planet Guide Book recommended Hotel Bukalow in the Arbat district of Moscow. Admittedly it is a bargain at $65 a night and the high ceilings and location to a Metro station make it desirable but there is no elevator and three flights of stairs leaves me breathless. The hotels black cat always seems to be waiting for our return with glowing eyes. After showering and doing a preliminary pack, Art and I head out for a repeat breakfast at the French Bakery two blocks away. A double cappuccino and espresso later we dip into the Metro and Art navigates us flawlessly to the Modern Art Museum.

The sound of water - Jaume Plensa
William Blake - Jaume Plensa

Jaume Plensa

Although the temporary exhibit is painfully amateurish there is an engaging show of Jaume Plensa, a Barcelona artist. His meditative installations of wood, water, steel and sound are lovely.

Exterior door at the Arbat station metro
Long escalators down to the platforms

We have a few metro stops to tick off our list and with an hour to spare, Art navigates us along the circle line and we pop on and off to admire more Soviet era Metro Art.
Beautiful stained glass at the Novoslobodskaya station
Novoslobodskaya station
Komsomolskay - ceiling mosiac

Komsomolskay station
Komsomolskay station

Pink Floyd anyone?

We take a taxi to the Moscow airport which with traffic takes considerably longer than the $17 meter price. An hour later, Art gives our driver $20 and we check in and breeze through security with ease. With just a few Rubles remaining we have diluted drinks at an airport bar and board the 4 hour flight to Heathrow. We arrive in Heathrow, London after 10:00 P.M. and shuttle to our nearby airport hotel to wait for our flight to San Francisco in the morning.

Art and I do a movie marathon between our London to Phoenix flight, sleeping just a little. We pick up our bags, go through U.S. immigration and dawdle some before checking through security in Phoenix. We have re-entered the U.S.A. and all seems good. Art breezes through security with his carryon’s and my computer but I am pulled aside.  As a frequent traveler, I am used to an occasional snafu but this security check is intense. The expression on the face of the TSA agent who scans my passport changes dramatically and he looks at me intently and calls for a supervisor. They pull me aside and it is several minutes before a woman agent arrives and interrogates me. She asks where I have been traveling and inquires if I wish a private room for a body search that will be done by a female TSA agent. I am now nervous about missing our Phoenix to SFO flight and Art is standing on the far side of security watching me anxiously. Although the search will be intimate, I will not need to undress so I tell them that I don’t need a private room and stand awkwardly, legs apart as the woman pats me down and runs her hands under the waist band of my leggings over my breasts and most everywhere else. In the meantime, the supervisor has disappeared with my phone, drivers license and passport. When they first pulled me aside, they asked for all my electronics and I was grateful that Art had carried my computer through ahead of me. I don’t know what she did with my phone but I imagine that my sim card was examined. She returns 15 minutes later with my identification and phone but there is sill the explosive wand test to do on all my carry on baggage. I am curious why I have been flagged and with the exception of missing our connecting flight, I am not at all anxious. I chat to the supervisor as they wand my belongings. I surmise that it is the Russia leg of our trip that has caused the flagging and she tells me that the Russians are not our friends and asks me why we choose to travel to Russia? I tell her about the many world class Art museums and how beautiful Moscow and St Petersburg were and that the people we encountered were friendly and that traveling in Russia felt no different than traveling elsewhere in Europe. By the time they release me, we are all smiling and chatting about family and international travel destinations. 

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