VDNKh or the All-Russia Exhibition Centre is a place straight out of a Soviet textbook, glorifying communist ideology and promoting national unity. That's where I spent most of my childhood days. My parents used to own a business on its premises, so I roamed the pavilions, frequented exhibitions and went pony-back riding during the afternoons and weekends. That's where I discovered my love of art and need for creative outlets, as I was left in office rooms with papers, pens, crayons, and sometimes... Windows Paint. High tech, old school craftsmanship right thurr! What sets VDNKh apart from other Exhibition Centres around the globe is the dedication that was put into making the venue extremely ornate and extravagant - just like an overdressed Russian woman in six inch heels, dripping in diamonds, fur and foundation. It's fascinating to look at, to say the least.
If you ever make your way to uptown Moscow, make sure to visit this place but don't waste your time and rubles on the actual exhibits. The site in itself is a sight to see. You can walk around for days on end and admire the pavilions dedicated to every former Soviet Republic, and gawk at the gold fountains - namely the "Stone Flower" fountain, which is based on a fairytale and the "People's Friendship" fountain, which is, no doubt, the magnum opus of the exhibition centre. My other favourites are the Ferris Wheel, the Cosmonautics Museum, the Space Pavilion, the space shuttle, and the old Aeroflot plane.
Considering my brain overflowed with thoughts of socialism that day, I opted for dinner at a popular Ukrainian Restaurant, called Korchma Taras Bulba. Despite the current political unrest and national resentment, Ukrainian cuisine will always be appreciated in these parts. It's simple-no-fuss but quite hearty, and sometimes, that's all your stomach needs. I ordered the lean Ukrainian Borsch, salmon with garlic potatoes, and Kvas, which is, traditionally, a Russian soft drink. Everything tasted more than adequate, the service was superb, and the decor - delightfully rustic Ukrainian. I recommend this place to anyone travelling to or living in Moscow, Kiev or New York, and are interested in trying authentic Ukrainian food.
Last but not least, my outfit details will not be left unmentioned. I'm certain I resembled a Samovar in the printed, floral top but if you haven't already noticed, I sometimes display my cultural affiliations via fashion. I added a denim vest to offset the girly look; a pair of the most comfortable black skinnies, and embroidered, suede moccasins.
I'll be back with more from this city, so stay alive!