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Getting Lost and Gorki Leninskie

June 4, 2009 at 2:21 pm
By Travis Raines

I unfortunately forgot to set my alarm to wake up and go to Tula, so I had to choose an alternate destination. Flipping through a guidebook, I decided that Gorki Leninskie would be a good choice: it wasn't far and the directions seemed simple enough.

Gorki Leninskie served as Lenin's dacha, and was where he died following a series of strokes. The estate has since been preserved, and around it added a Lenin museum, Lenin's quarters in the Kremlin, and, for some reason, something that appeared to be a billiards museum.

Getting to and from Gorki Leninskie turned out to be more difficult than I expected: while the guidebook indicated which bus went to the estate, this bus was not indicated on any signs in the metro station or above ground--this fortunately turned out to be only a minor problem, as I somehow found it anyway, despite the area being crowded with airport shuttles and other buses.

On the trip there I was surprised at how quickly the high rises of Moscow quickly dissolved into a fairly blank countryside: there weren't really any suburbs to be found. This coincided, unfortunately, with a lack of obvious indicators about where one was, and I missed my stop by a considerable amount. I instead got off in a cluster of dachas, but was fortunate enough to get some directions from the driver, which I essentially understood as "go through the school and across the bridge, and then a while longer." 'A while longer' turned out to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 minutes' walk, during which I really had no idea where I was going--but the weather and scenery were nice, so this was okay.

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Shortly after crossing the aforementioned bridge, I encountered a Lenin statue, which was sadly only part of the aforementioned school, not the estate. Continuing on, I found several other things mentioning Lenin, so assumed I was on the right track. Luck was with me, and I did eventually reach the estate. There I went on a tour of the grounds, notably including a number of documents written by Lenin, the telephone connections to the Kremlin for which Lenin chose the estate, and the room in which he died.

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The best attraction, however, was Lenin's custom Rolls-Royce, a sort of car-tank-sledge hybrid designed to get Lenin back and forth through the snowbound Moscow outskirts in the winter--and look extremely awesome while doing so.

Lenin's snomobile

Photo  © Danner Glide

Getting back after the tour proved just as fun as getting to it--I had no idea where the actual bus stop was, so I just wandered along a highway with a sign reading 'Moscow' for an hour until I finally found my way onto some major road with more obvious bus stops. It was probably a rather stupid thing to do, but getting even mildly lost was a nice change from the certainty of the city, with its plainly laid out subway system and buses that always end up at some station or another.