It’s now close to 40 years since I was on a trip to the Soviet Union with my family. My father had something with eastern countries and had already been in countries like Czechoslovakia and Hungary. I don’t think it was because he had socialist tendencies, but he just had a dislike to going the same places as everyone else. We were only on a charter holiday one time and it was for Sunny Beach long before the wall fell.
The trip went over in an old VW 1200, which had definitely seen better days. Still, this trip was unlike the Lada’s and Moskvitsh’s who were in the side of the road and succumbed to the terrible Russian roads. Already at the entrance to the Soviet Union, my parents made a terrible and, today, incomprehensible mistake by exchanging all the money for rubles, which meant that we could only buy the same goods as the Russians and it was not much and not the great pleasure. We were all pretty hungry most of the trip. We thus came to experience Russia as the Russians and that is probably why I have never voted socialist and probably never will. It was probably very good that we didn’t get so much to eat because neither of us wanted to use the very humble toilets. It was our first encounter with special crouching-toilets that are widely used in the East and then they were all extremely dirty.
One of the memories of that trip is about a trip in Moscow’s metro, which was incredibly crowded with people and the doors closing very quickly.This made my 6-year-old sister not get into the crowd.It all ended very much undramatically when a couple of Norwegians took care of her until we came back, but we often talked about what would have happened if she had been completely gone.This led me to write the story “Trapped behind the Iron Curtain”, where it is both me and my sister who get away and in an attempt to get back, get snatched on board the transibirian railway.
It is probably not the great literary work, but people tell me that it is quite exciting.There is a link to the book on Saxo, on the right.
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Maggie Reilly - Moonlight Shadow (Live in Hillerød)