Travel Diary to Russia (Soviet Union) March 1985


Occasionally I’ll sprinkle in some words I produced in 1985 as a College student on visit to the Soviet Union. My first time being overseas. I was part a large group of students and professors from two campuses in the University of Wisconsin system. Most of my writing was done at the end of the night in the hotel room. Hope you enjoy this real adventure when the world and threats were so different.

March 23, 1985

Stockholm, Sweden

Everything I did on this trip isn’t included. The main event of the day is the basic statement. I have in some places reflected on what I thought, I know with disgust and biases.

Sunday, March 10, 1985

Hotel Pulkovskaya

Left O’Hare at 5:22pm arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark at 7:40am. The flight was 7 ½ hrs. Experienced some turbulence during flight. During wait at Copenhagen, toured part of the city. Had coffee at a little restaurant where I paid  35 kroner for Dean and I (exchange 12 for $1.00 approximately). Now waiting for Areoflot flight. Will write more extensively later.

Later…

A lot of of shops along narrow brick street walkways. Extremely European and very nice place to walk around in. (this sentence sounds funny now – 2012).

Temperature was 23 degrees. Except for the weather..Wind was cold and I wasn’t prepared for the conditions.

Didn’t see Stockholm, Sweden stayed in plane while we waited for an hour. -3 degrees as we arrived in Leningrad (Russia) after 7:00pm. Got off plane and were all put or crammed into one bus. We waited in bus probably 15 to 30 minutes (I think they-Russians- wanted to intimidate us), part of the Russian system. One nice thing was the whole group got through customs without any problems.

First, we got through the passport inspection. This young Russian, probably my age, looks at you to verify that you are the person on the passport. After this he inspects the visa and if you pass he stamps the visa. He doesn’t stamp the passport, because of a agreement between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. This agreement says U.S. passports won’t be stamped because some other countries won’t accept persons who have been in Soviet Union travel protection.

Secondly we got through the inspection of our luggage. My luggage was not inspected, at least I don’t think. After the customs inspector checked my customs declaration he stamped it.  I then proceeded to pick up my luggage and meet the rest of the group. We then arrived at the hotel, which is an extremely pleasant surprise. The rooms are similar to the ones back home. Dean and I found out that toilet paper is short in supply. But not to worry we have enough stuff to wipe the ‘bottom’ ends.

One last note before tomorrow, since being over here a short while I feel like I am not in another country. It hasn’t hit me yet; the Russians so far have made us feel like we are just on an American vacation. Well Dean and I are tired from the entire plane hopping. Tomorrow we eat breakfast at 9 am and start tour of Leningrad at 10:15am. Have our own refrigerator in our room.

Travel Diary to Russia (Soviet Union) March 1985

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