Whe very first time I visited Moscow, sometime in the ’70s when Communism was very much a lifestyle, the huge, glass-topped Gum Department store had a plethora of empty shops, dreary staircases and dusty looking floors and walls. If there was a line-up, it was for whatever came in that day. Trading for whatever you were able to purchase for something you wanted was the goal.
Fast forward about 20 years and suddenly, I’m in a tony, sparkling and well-scrubbed mall where there are shops like Prada, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Armani and dozens of cosmetic counters, household goods and pharmacies that can now be reached by escalators and elevators. The most unforgettable sight was in the fur shops. For the first time, I experienced queues in the mall. Apparently sable was the preferred pelt and hence was pricey. I finally found one in a market outside of Moscow. For pure reference to the time of the tsars and tsarinas, this very special building is worthy of a visit. But will you be able to resist the urge to shop?