Elevating thoughts

(or: pensées de l'ascenseur)

Update (4.10.2008): The interactive story featured in this article has been declared the winner of the "Most Creative - Personal" category in the Flypaper contest.

In December 2006 we were planning to ride the Transsiberian Railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok. We arrived in Moscow on December 23rd, and were bound to leave the capital the following day. As we had instructed the travel agent to deliver the train tickets to the hotel, we expected to have a stroll through the city and a good night's sleep before boarding the train on Sunday 24th.

When we arrived at the hotel, the tickets were nowhere to be seen.

A couple of phonecalls later, it emerged that there was a bit of a mixup (really?), and that we could pick up the tickets - after the weekend of course. Missing our train in the process. Leaving us with an undesired weekend in Moscow (cold, holiday season, not much going on, that kind of thing).

Thus we extended our stay in the Hotel Ukraina, one of the Seven Sisters; they were built in the 1950's in response to the American skyscrapers: massive neo-Gothic highrise buildings which remind of Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Not a dwarf.

The Hotel Ukraina today is a strange mix of old Soviet style (pompous, glorious, impressive pieces of architecture) and post-Soviet characteristics (souvenir shops, advertisement, beautiful ladies "sitting in the lobby"). Especially the invasion of Christmas paraphernalia would make the commissioner of the Seven Sister cringe where he around to witness it.

A choirboy, once.


Between a bowl of borscht and a glas of small water we took to explore the vastness of the hotel; more precisely, we rode the elevators. Exciting? Hardly. Interesting? Very much so. Have a look for yourself:

Elevator and viewpoint images can be found here.

Thanks to Christian and Michel for artistic advice. Any remaining shortcomings are my own.

If you've read until here, please leave some feedback below.