Friday 31 July 2015


The Samara Art Museum would have the Antique Roadshow crowd wetting their pants at the figurines alone. Samara was a closed city for years under the Soviets, probably because they didn't want to share it with the rest of the world. It's a delightful riverside town with a great boardwalk and beach. Of course it helps ones impression to be here for a perfect summer weekend when everyone is out enjoying themselves. We could live here, in a riverside apartment mind.

Samara also has various museums. There is one for Sergei Tolstoy with a room for Gorky. Tolstoy was from the bourgeoisie near here and left Russia for a period but returned and became a favoured son, like Gorky, publishing articles and books on the workers struggles.

We were led around the Tolstoy Museum by the attendants and engaged with them so much so that we were all taken to the kids section and put through the writing encouragement displays and creative activities. I think Sergei's physique might have been a contributing factor here with the last attendant on a lazy sunny Sunday morning.

We also went to the Fine Arts Museum and got similar treatment after it took half a hour to get tickets, one for each section of the museum and, as we had a Russian in the group, he had to have a different ticket. Rich foreigners pay more (they do in Georgia and the Stans as well). Then you have to find the correct ticket to give to the correct attendant. No worries it’s all part of the Ти́ше е́дешь - да́льше бу́дешь (Tíshe yédesh' - dál'she búdesh') mode of travel. Those that travel slowly go a long way.

All the attendants were most engaging, none of the fierce museum attendant stuff here. Hello, welcome, this way, then this, then go up here, all very helpful and even tried to answer our Russian 101 questions. They had good stuff in the place, spanning 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, especially some of the older Russian pre-revolution landscape and character painters. (Eat your heart out Marina)

Cheers Ian

On the Road

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