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A woman walks past an STA Travel store in London

'We knew they were experts': STA Travel clients and staff look back

As company falls victim to Covid-19, travellers reflect on joy of experienced people helping to book holidays

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News that STA Travel has become the latest to fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted an outpouring of sadness and nostalgia from former customers and staff.

Known for its enthusiastic staff and its budget round-the-world plane tickets, generations of students would flock to STA Travel stores to book gap years and summer breaks through the company – or simply to gaze longingly at the adventures it promised.

Its bright yellow and blue signage has been a familiar sight on high streets and university campuses for decades, but now after it confirmed it had ceased trading on Friday, 54 UK stores look set to close their doors, putting 500 jobs at risk.

Lowri Lloyd Owen from near Aberystwyth worked for the company for 10 years, first as a travel expert and then as a store manager. She said she felt “extremely saddened” when she heard the news. The job enabled her to move to Australia, where she lived for eight years and started her family.

“The 10 years I spent working for this company taught me so much, took me to places far and wide and I met lifelong friends along the way, many of whom are still employees and will be facing very difficult times ahead,” she said. “Selling travel is the most awesome thing you can sell someone.”

Tim Walker in Mexico.

She was not surprised by the reaction to the news. “Whether you were an STA customer or an employee, it was a company that supported young people often at the start of their travels or career and that stays with you,” she said.

Tim Walker, who runs Beaumont Music and lives in West Sussex, was one of the company’s loyal customers when he was a student in the early 2000s. He used the travel agent from the age of 18 to 22 to book his gap-year adventure as well as summer trips while at university.

“I remember booking flights to Mexico and the staff member calling over a colleague who had just returned from their own trip. We were excited anyway but as this guy launched himself over the desk towards us, his enthusiasm was ridiculously infectious and all they wanted to do was to make sure we had a fantastic time.”

UK retail and hospitality job cuts on back of Covid-19 crisis

Marston's - 2,150 jobs 15 October: Marston's  - the brewer which owns nearly 1,400 pubs, restaurants, cocktail bars and hotels across the UK - said it would cut 2,150 jobs due to fresh Covid restrictions. The company has more than 14,000 employees. 

Whitbread - 6,000 jobs 22 September: Whitbread, which owns the Premier Inn, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, said it would cut 6,000 jobs at its hotels and restaurants, almost one in five of its workforce

Pizza Express – 1,100 jobs 7 September: The restaurant chain confirms the closure of 73 restaurants as part of a rescue restructure deal.

Costa Coffee – 1,650 jobs 3 September: The company, which was bought by Coca-Cola two years ago, is cutting up to 1,650 jobs in its cafes, more than one in 10 of its workforce. The assistant store manager role will go across all shops.

Pret a Manger – 2,890 jobs 27 August: The majority of the cuts are focused on the sandwich chain's shop workers, but 90 roles will be lost in its support centre teams. The cuts include the 1,000 job losses announced on 6 July.

Marks & Spencer – 7,000 jobs 18 August: Food, clothing and homewares retailer cuts jobs in central support centre, regional management and stores.

M&Co – 400 jobs 5 August: M&Co, the Renfrewshire-based clothing retailer, formerly known as Mackays, will close 47 of 215 stores.

WH Smith – 1,500 jobs 5 August: The chain, which sells products ranging from sandwiches to stationery, will cut jobs mainly in UK railway stations and airports. 

Dixons Carphone – 800 jobs 4 August: Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone is cutting 800 managers in its stores as it continues to reduce costs.

DW Sports – 1,700 jobs at risk 3 August: DW Sports fell into administration, closing its retail website immediately and risking the closure of its 150 gyms and shops.

Marks & Spencer – 950 jobs 20 July: The high street stalwart cuts management jobs in stores as well as head office roles related to property and store operations.

Ted Baker – 500 jobs 19 July: About 200 roles to go at the fashion retailer’s London headquarters, the Ugly Brown Building, and the remainder at stores.

Azzurri – 1,200 jobs 17 July: The owner of the Ask Italian and Zizzi pizza chains closes 75 restaurants and makes its Pod lunch business delivery only

Burberry – 500 jobs worldwide 15 July: Total includes 150 posts in UK head offices as luxury brand tries to slash costs by £55m after a slump in sales during the pandemic.

Boots – 4,000 jobs 9 July: Boots is  cutting 4,000 jobs  – or 7% of its workforce – by closing 48 opticians outlets and reducing staff at its head office in Nottingham as well as some management and customer service roles in stores.

John Lewis – 1,300 jobs 9 July: John Lewis announced that it is planning to  permanently close eight of its 50 stores, including full department stores in Birmingham and Watford, with the likely loss of 1,300 jobs.

Celtic Manor – 450 jobs 9 July: Bosses at the Celtic Collection in Newport, which staged golf's Ryder Cup in 2010 and the 2014 Nato Conference, said 450 of its 995 workers will lose their jobs.

Pret a Manger – 1,000 jobs 6 July: Pret a Manger is to  permanently close 30 branches and could cut at least 1,000 jobs after suffering “significant operating losses” as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown

Casual Dining Group – 1,900 jobs 2 July: The owner of the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas restaurant chains  collapsed into administration , with the immediate loss of 1,900 jobs. The company said multiple offers were on the table for parts of the business but buyers did not want to acquire all the existing sites and 91 of its 250 outlets would remain permanently closed.

Arcadia – 500 jobs 1 July: Arcadia, Sir Philip Green’s troubled fashion group – which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Evans and Wallis – said in July 500 head office jobs out of 2,500 would go in the coming weeks.

SSP Group – 5,000 jobs 1 July: The owner of Upper Crust and Caffè Ritazza is to axe 5,000 jobs , about half of its workforce, with cuts at its head office and across its UK operations after the pandemic stalled domestic and international travel.

Harrods – 700 jobs 1 July: The department store group is  cutting one in seven of its 4,800 employees because of the “ongoing impacts” of the pandemic.

Harveys – 240 jobs 30 June: Administrators made  240 redundancies at the furniture chain Harveys, with more than 1,300 jobs at risk if a buyer cannot be found.

TM Lewin – 600 jobs 30 June: Shirtmaker TM Lewin  closed all 66 of its outlets permanently, with the loss of about 600 jobs.

Monsoon Accessorize – 545 jobs 11 June: The fashion brands were  bought out of administration by their founder, Peter Simon, in June, in a deal in which 35 stores closed permanently and 545 jobs were lost.

Mulberry – 470 jobs 8 June: The luxury fashion and accessories brand is to cut 25% of its global workforce and has started a consultation with the 470 staff at risk.

The Restaurant Group – 3,000 jobs 3 June: The owner of dining chains such as Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s has closed most branches of Chiquito and all 11 of its Food & Fuel pubs, with another 120 restaurants to close permanently. Total job losses could reach 3,000.

Clarks – 900 jobs 21 May: Clarks plans to  cut 900 office jobs worldwide as it grapples with the growth of online shoe shopping as well as the pandemic.

Oasis and Warehouse – 1,800 jobs 30 April: The fashion brands were bought out of administration by the restructuring firm Hilco in April, with  all of their stores permanently closed and 1,800 jobs lost.

Cath Kidston – 900 jobs 21 April: More than 900 jobs were cut immediately at the retro retail label Cath Kidston after the company said it was permanently closing all 60 of its UK stores.

Debenhams – 4,000 jobs 9 April: At least 4,000 jobs will be lost at Debenhams in its head office and closed stores after its collapse into administration in April, for the second time in a year.

Laura Ashley – 2,700 jobs 17 March: Laura Ashley collapsed into administration , with 2,700 job losses, and said rescue talks had been thwarted by the pandemic.

Walker says the demise of STA Travel was a “real loss” to future students wanting to go on their first big trips abroad as they won’t be able to benefit from STA’s experienced staff.

Ronke Adewa-Faboro, a wedding planner from Essex, was an international student studying at De Montfort University in Leicester in the 90s when she went to STA Travel to book her dream holiday. “I booked to spend Christmas in New York. I had always wanted to do it and I asked a couple of friends to go but they didn’t want to. So I was a little discouraged, but decided to go anyway.”

STA Travel made her feel more comfortable about going on her own. They produced flyers about solo travel for women, which Adewa-Faboro studied before going. “I was a solo traveller, aged 19, and my family in Nigeria thought I was crazy. But I thought I only live once so I just decided to do it. STA made me feel really safe about it. I had six magical days there.

“The team were amazing in making a foreign student from Nigeria’s dream come true. Money was tight so they booked me into two separate hostels to save me money. They were brilliant.”

It wasn’t just students booking gap years and post-university travels. STA Travel, founded by two Australian backpackers in Melbourne in 1979, originally stood for Student Travel Australia, but it branched out to a wider customer base and rebranded itself to become Start the Adventure.

Sophie and Nick Butler on honeymoon in Sydney.

Sophie Butler and her husband, Nick, booked their honeymoon with STA Travel in 2012 and have used them for other holidays since, including a trip to New York. “We chose them [for the honeymoon] because we were going to Australia so knew they would be experts. Also, for me, I never did the whole gap-year thing so it was my chance to travel as much as possible.

“I remember going to their store in Covent Garden and a lovely lady – Annie, I think – helped us plan out the whole trip.”

Butler, who runs the Sugar Tea Room in north London, said: “We were both sad to hear about STA travel closing because it wasn’t just for students, they had the best prices for long-haul travel.”

Afsaneh Parvizi-Wayne, the founder of the period product brand Freda, who lives in London, has fond memories of using STA Travel to go to the Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau when she was a student more than 30 years ago.

She said: “We used to have an STA in the University of London Union in the 80s when we still had holiday brochures and you could discuss your trip in person with someone who’d probably done that trip already. It wasn’t just the student discount but also the student perspective and tips in a non-internet era. I’m so sad to see it go.”

Another former customer, Ellie Dix, a board game designer from Hertfordshire, has been reminiscing about Camp America, which she booked through STA Travel in the 90s.

“I was at Birmingham University from 1994 to 1997 and we had an STA Travel on campus. I remember going and just gazing at the options as a sort of escapism from student life. I did Camp America for two years running in 1996 and 1997 and STA dealt with the travel.

“I don’t remember actually thinking there was any other way to travel as a student other than with STA. It was STA or nothing.”

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Travel & Fieldwork

For information on UNSW travel, visit MyTravel@UNSW and read the UNSW Travel Policy.   

Overseas travel

UNSW follows Australian Government advice on overseas travel. Details can be found on the smartraveller website.

Travel will not be approved for any international destination with DFAT level 4 restrictions (Do Not Travel).

All travel bookings must be made via the MyTravel@UNSW portal. 

Interstate travel

You must obtain pre-approval from your line manager, team leader or supervisor before booking any travel. 

Travel for fieldwork

Travel for fieldwork requires the development and approval of a specific plan for that activity. Please consult your Supervisor or Team Leader in the first instance.

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Accommodation

Food, shops & bars.

UNSW’s Kensington Campus has a large variety of food and general retail services, including banks, bars, cafes and convenience stores.

Browse all the options on campus using the UNSW Food and Retail online guide , or download a PDF map below.

Download a PDF map of UNSW.

Upper campus

Food & beverage.

Biblio (E24) Under Mathews Theatres Hot and cold beverages, full café fare.

Penny Lane (C20) Morven Brown Building Hot and cold beverages, full café fare.

Boost Juice (C20) Morven Brown Building Freshly made juice, smoothies and snacks.

Classic Kebab (E24) Mathews Arcade Kebabs, pides, gozleme and drinks. Halal certified.

Exchange Café (G27) AGSM Building Hot and cold beverages, sandwiches and sweets.

Gradueat (E24) Mathews Arcade Hot and cold beverages, full café fare. Halal certified.

Jewel of India (E24) Mathews Arcade Indian cuisine.

Library Lawn Coffee Cart (C20) Library Lawn Hot and cold beverages, sweets and biscuits.

Laksa Delight (E24) Mathews Arcade Asian cuisine.

Southern Wok (C20) Morven Brown Building Asian cuisine.

Subway (C20) Morven Brown Building Freshly made subs, drinks and cookies.

Stockmarket (E24) Mathews Arcade Salads, pasta, soups and freshly made juices.

Tori by Sushi Hon (E24) Mathews Arcade Japanese cuisine.

Tropical Greens (E24) The Pavilions Vietnamese cuisine.

UNSW Restaurant (G27) AGSM Building A la carte menu, bookings essential.

General retail

Arc Graduation and Gift Shop (C20)

WH Smith (C20)

Australia Post (F22)

GreenPrint (F23)

RediAtm (C20)

Westpac (E24)

Middle campus

Coffee on Campus (J17) Ainsworth Building Hot and cold beverages, full café fare. Licensed.

JG’s Café (F12) Dalton Building Hot and cold beverages, full café fare.

Q Lounge & Deli (E15) Quadrangle Building Hot and cold beverages, full café fare.

Quad Food Court (E15) Quadrangle Building Wide variety of fresh, fast and tasty food. Various cuisines.

The Whitehouse (C15) The Whitehouse Boutique bar with pub style food.

UNSW Pharmacy (E15)

UNW Bookshop (E15)

WH Smith (E15)

ANZ Bank (E15)

Douglas Hanly Moir Pathology (E15)

STA Travel (E15)

UNSW Dentist (E15)

UNSW Health Services (E15)

UNSW Optometry Clinic (M15)

Lower campus

Bar Navitas (H6) Tyree Energy Technologies Building Hot and cold beverages, full café fare offering pizza. Licenced.

The Bistro (E6) The Roundhouse Pub style food, including burgers and chips.

Campus Village Café (B10) UNSW Village Hot and cold beverages, sandwiches and sweets.

L’Cinque Café (L5) 221-223 Anzac Parade Hot and cold beverages, full café fare.

Poolside Café (B4) UNSW Fitness & Aquatic Centre Hot and cold beverages, café fare.

Uni Bar (E6) The Roundhouse Licensed bar and beer garden.

Urban Espresso (D2) NIDA Building Hot and cold beverages, sandwiches and sweets.

New College Convenience Store (H3)

24/7 Campus Security (B10)

Medibank Private (G6)

RediAtm (G6)

Lower campus (University Terraces)

Bun Me (B8) University Terraces Vietnamese street food.

Coco Cubano (B8) University Terraces Hot and cold beverages, Cuban inspired café fare. Licensed.

Guzman Y Gomez (B8) University Terraces Mexican cuisine.

Mamak Village (B8) University Terraces Malaysian cuisine.

Maze Coffee (B8) University Terraces Coffee, tea, sandwiches and salads.

Moochi (B8) University Terraces Range of natural frozen yoghurt.

ShareTea (B8) University Terraces Wide selection of teas and drinks. Bubble tea and fresh Japanese cuisine.

Stellini Pasta Bar (B8) University Terraces Made to order fresh pasta dishes, Italian pastries, doughnuts and hot and cold beverages.

Yummba (B8) University Terraces Vegetarian cuisine, falafel, dips, gozleme and hot and cold beverages.

IGA Supermarket  (B8)

Kensington Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic (B8)

Commonwealth  (B8)

RediAtm (B8)

Westpac (B8)

Please click here for more details or you can visit the touch screen kiosks at the main entrance on Anzac Parade and at Gate 9 on High Street.

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RUSSIA TRAVEL HOME

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RUSSIA TRAVEL PACKAGES A selection of Russian tours to take as they are or adjust to your needs.

THE GOLDEN RING Visit the heart of ancient Russia. What is the Golden Ring?

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MOSCOW DAY TRIPS Get out of Moscow and take a relaxing trip to some of these places

ST. PETERSBURG Some of the sights to see in Petersburg

LAKE BAIKAL TOURS Hiking and trekking around the world's deepest lake in the heart of Siberia

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Claudia Looi

Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations

By Claudia Looi 2 Comments

Komsomolskaya metro station

Komsomolskaya metro station looks like a museum. It has vaulted ceilings and baroque decor.

Hidden underground, in the heart of Moscow, are historical and architectural treasures of Russia. These are Soviet-era creations – the metro stations of Moscow.

Our guide Maria introduced these elaborate metro stations as “the palaces for the people.” Built between 1937 and 1955, each station holds its own history and stories. Stalin had the idea of building beautiful underground spaces that the masses could enjoy. They would look like museums, art centers, concert halls, palaces and churches. Each would have a different theme. None would be alike.

The two-hour private tour was with a former Intourist tour guide named Maria. Maria lived in Moscow all her life and through the communist era of 60s to 90s. She has been a tour guide for more than 30 years. Being in her 60s, she moved rather quickly for her age. We traveled and crammed with Maria and other Muscovites on the metro to visit 10 different metro stations.

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Arrow showing the direction of metro line 1 and 2

Moscow subways are very clean

Moscow subways are very clean

To Maria, every street, metro and building told a story. I couldn’t keep up with her stories. I don’t remember most of what she said because I was just thrilled being in Moscow.   Added to that, she spilled out so many Russian words and names, which to one who can’t read Cyrillic, sounded so foreign and could be easily forgotten.

The metro tour was the first part of our all day tour of Moscow with Maria. Here are the stations we visited:

1. Komsomolskaya Metro Station  is the most beautiful of them all. Painted yellow and decorated with chandeliers, gold leaves and semi precious stones, the station looks like a stately museum. And possibly decorated like a palace. I saw Komsomolskaya first, before the rest of the stations upon arrival in Moscow by train from St. Petersburg.

2. Revolution Square Metro Station (Ploshchad Revolyutsii) has marble arches and 72 bronze sculptures designed by Alexey Dushkin. The marble arches are flanked by the bronze sculptures. If you look closely you will see passersby touching the bronze dog's nose. Legend has it that good luck comes to those who touch the dog's nose.

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Touch the dog's nose for good luck. At the Revolution Square station

Revolution Square Metro Station

Revolution Square Metro Station

3. Arbatskaya Metro Station served as a shelter during the Soviet-era. It is one of the largest and the deepest metro stations in Moscow.

Arbatskaya Metro Station

Arbatskaya Metro Station

4. Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station was built in 1935 and named after the Russian State Library. It is located near the library and has a big mosaic portrait of Lenin and yellow ceramic tiles on the track walls.

Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station

Lenin's portrait at the Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Metro Station

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5. Kievskaya Metro Station was one of the first to be completed in Moscow. Named after the capital city of Ukraine by Kiev-born, Nikita Khruschev, Stalin's successor.

IMG_5859

Kievskaya Metro Station

6. Novoslobodskaya Metro Station  was built in 1952. It has 32 stained glass murals with brass borders.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 5.17.53 PM

Novoslobodskaya metro station

7. Kurskaya Metro Station was one of the first few to be built in Moscow in 1938. It has ceiling panels and artwork showing Soviet leadership, Soviet lifestyle and political power. It has a dome with patriotic slogans decorated with red stars representing the Soviet's World War II Hall of Fame. Kurskaya Metro Station is a must-visit station in Moscow.

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Ceiling panel and artworks at Kurskaya Metro Station

IMG_5826

8. Mayakovskaya Metro Station built in 1938. It was named after Russian poet Vladmir Mayakovsky. This is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world with 34 mosaics painted by Alexander Deyneka.

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya station

Mayakovskaya metro station

One of the over 30 ceiling mosaics in Mayakovskaya metro station

9. Belorusskaya Metro Station is named after the people of Belarus. In the picture below, there are statues of 3 members of the Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II. The statues were sculpted by Sergei Orlov, S. Rabinovich and I. Slonim.

IMG_5893

10. Teatralnaya Metro Station (Theatre Metro Station) is located near the Bolshoi Theatre.

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Teatralnaya Metro Station decorated with porcelain figures .

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Taking the metro's escalator at the end of the tour with Maria the tour guide.

Have you visited the Moscow Metro? Leave your comment below.

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January 15, 2017 at 8:17 am

An excellent read! Thanks for much for sharing the Russian metro system with us. We're heading to Moscow in April and exploring the metro stations were on our list and after reading your post, I'm even more excited to go visit them. Thanks again 🙂

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December 6, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Hi, do you remember which tour company you contacted for this tour?

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The Moscow Metro Museum of Art: 10 Must-See Stations

There are few times one can claim having been on the subway all afternoon and loving it, but the Moscow Metro provides just that opportunity.  While many cities boast famous public transport systems—New York’s subway, London’s underground, San Salvador’s chicken buses—few warrant hours of exploration.  Moscow is different: Take one ride on the Metro, and you’ll find out that this network of railways can be so much more than point A to B drudgery.

The Metro began operating in 1935 with just thirteen stations, covering less than seven miles, but it has since grown into the world’s third busiest transit system ( Tokyo is first ), spanning about 200 miles and offering over 180 stops along the way.  The construction of the Metro began under Joseph Stalin’s command, and being one of the USSR’s most ambitious building projects, the iron-fisted leader instructed designers to create a place full of svet (radiance) and svetloe budushchee (a radiant future), a palace for the people and a tribute to the Mother nation.

Consequently, the Metro is among the most memorable attractions in Moscow.  The stations provide a unique collection of public art, comparable to anything the city’s galleries have to offer and providing a sense of the Soviet era, which is absent from the State National History Museum.  Even better, touring the Metro delivers palpable, experiential moments, which many of us don’t get standing in front of painting or a case of coins.

Though tours are available , discovering the Moscow Metro on your own provides a much more comprehensive, truer experience, something much less sterile than following a guide.  What better place is there to see the “real” Moscow than on mass transit: A few hours will expose you to characters and caricatures you’ll be hard-pressed to find dining near the Bolshoi Theater.  You become part of the attraction, hear it in the screech of the train, feel it as hurried commuters brush by: The Metro sucks you beneath the city and churns you into the mix.

With the recommendations of our born-and-bred Muscovite students, my wife Emma and I have just taken a self-guided tour of what some locals consider the top ten stations of the Moscow Metro. What most satisfied me about our Metro tour was the sense of adventure .  I loved following our route on the maps of the wagon walls as we circled the city, plotting out the course to the subsequent stops; having the weird sensation of being underground for nearly four hours; and discovering the next cavern of treasures, playing Indiana Jones for the afternoon, piecing together fragments of Russia’s mysterious history.  It’s the ultimate interactive museum.

Top Ten Stations (In order of appearance)

Kievskaya station.

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Kievskaya Station went public in March of 1937, the rails between it and Park Kultury Station being the first to cross the Moscow River.  Kievskaya is full of mosaics depicting aristocratic scenes of Russian life, with great cameo appearances by Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin.  Each work has a Cyrillic title/explanation etched in the marble beneath it; however, if your Russian is rusty, you can just appreciate seeing familiar revolutionary dates like 1905 ( the Russian Revolution ) and 1917 ( the October Revolution ).

Mayakovskaya Station

Mayakovskaya Station ranks in my top three most notable Metro stations. Mayakovskaya just feels right, done Art Deco but no sense of gaudiness or pretention.  The arches are adorned with rounded chrome piping and create feeling of being in a jukebox, but the roof’s expansive mosaics of the sky are the real showstopper.  Subjects cleverly range from looking up at a high jumper, workers atop a building, spires of Orthodox cathedrals, to nimble aircraft humming by, a fleet of prop planes spelling out CCCP in the bluest of skies.

Novoslobodskaya Station

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Novoslobodskaya is the Metro’s unique stained glass station.  Each column has its own distinctive panels of colorful glass, most of them with a floral theme, some of them capturing the odd sailor, musician, artist, gardener, or stenographer in action.  The glass is framed in Art Deco metalwork, and there is the lovely aspect of discovering panels in the less frequented haunches of the hall (on the trackside, between the incoming staircases).  Novosblod is, I’ve been told, the favorite amongst out-of-town visitors.

Komsomolskaya Station

Komsomolskaya Station is one of palatial grandeur.  It seems both magnificent and obligatory, like the presidential palace of a colonial city.  The yellow ceiling has leafy, white concrete garland and a series of golden military mosaics accenting the tile mosaics of glorified Russian life.  Switching lines here, the hallway has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel, impossibly long with decorative tile walls, culminating in a very old station left in a remarkable state of disrepair, offering a really tangible glimpse behind the palace walls.

Dostoevskaya Station

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Dostoevskaya is a tribute to the late, great hero of Russian literature .  The station at first glance seems bare and unimpressive, a stark marble platform without a whiff of reassembled chips of tile.  However, two columns have eerie stone inlay collages of scenes from Dostoevsky’s work, including The Idiot , The Brothers Karamazov , and Crime and Punishment.   Then, standing at the center of the platform, the marble creates a kaleidoscope of reflections.  At the entrance, there is a large, inlay portrait of the author.

Chkalovskaya Station

Chkalovskaya does space Art Deco style (yet again).  Chrome borders all.  Passageways with curvy overhangs create the illusion of walking through the belly of a chic, new-age spacecraft.  There are two (kos)mosaics, one at each end, with planetary subjects.  Transferring here brings you above ground, where some rather elaborate metalwork is on display.  By name similarity only, I’d expected Komsolskaya Station to deliver some kosmonaut décor; instead, it was Chkalovskaya that took us up to the space station.

Elektrozavodskaya Station

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Elektrozavodskaya is full of marble reliefs of workers, men and women, laboring through the different stages of industry.  The superhuman figures are round with muscles, Hollywood fit, and seemingly undeterred by each Herculean task they respectively perform.  The station is chocked with brass, from hammer and sickle light fixtures to beautiful, angular framework up the innards of the columns.  The station’s art pieces are less clever or extravagant than others, but identifying the different stages of industry is entertaining.

Baumanskaya Statio

Baumanskaya Station is the only stop that wasn’t suggested by the students.  Pulling in, the network of statues was just too enticing: Out of half-circle depressions in the platform’s columns, the USSR’s proud and powerful labor force again flaunts its success.  Pilots, blacksmiths, politicians, and artists have all congregated, posing amongst more Art Deco framing.  At the far end, a massive Soviet flag dons the face of Lenin and banners for ’05, ’17, and ‘45.  Standing in front of the flag, you can play with the echoing roof.

Ploshchad Revolutsii Station

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Novokuznetskaya Station

Novokuznetskaya Station finishes off this tour, more or less, where it started: beautiful mosaics.  This station recalls the skyward-facing pieces from Mayakovskaya (Station #2), only with a little larger pictures in a more cramped, very trafficked area.  Due to a line of street lamps in the center of the platform, it has the atmosphere of a bustling market.  The more inventive sky scenes include a man on a ladder, women picking fruit, and a tank-dozer being craned in.  The station’s also has a handsome black-and-white stone mural.

Here is a map and a brief description of our route:

Start at (1)Kievskaya on the “ring line” (look for the squares at the bottom of the platform signs to help you navigate—the ring line is #5, brown line) and go north to Belorusskaya, make a quick switch to the Dark Green/#2 line, and go south one stop to (2)Mayakovskaya.  Backtrack to the ring line—Brown/#5—and continue north, getting off at (3)Novosblodskaya and (4)Komsolskaya.  At Komsolskaya Station, transfer to the Red/#1 line, go south for two stops to Chistye Prudy, and get on the Light Green/#10 line going north.  Take a look at (5)Dostoevskaya Station on the northern segment of Light Green/#10 line then change directions and head south to (6)Chkalovskaya, which offers a transfer to the Dark Blue/#3 line, going west, away from the city center.  Have a look (7)Elektroskaya Station before backtracking into the center of Moscow, stopping off at (8)Baumskaya, getting off the Dark Blue/#3 line at (9)Ploschad Revolyutsii.  Change to the Dark Green/#2 line and go south one stop to see (10)Novokuznetskaya Station.

Check out our new Moscow Indie Travel Guide , book a flight to Moscow and read 10 Bars with Views Worth Blowing the Budget For

Jonathon Engels, formerly a patron saint of misadventure, has been stumbling his way across cultural borders since 2005 and is currently volunteering in the mountains outside of Antigua, Guatemala.  For more of his work, visit his website and blog .

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Photo credits:   SergeyRod , all others courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission

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First refuelling for Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov floating NPP

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The FNPP includes two KLT-40S reactor units. In such reactors, nuclear fuel is not replaced in the same way as in standard NPPs – partial replacement of fuel once every 12-18 months. Instead, once every few years the entire reactor core is replaced with and a full load of fresh fuel.

The KLT-40S reactor cores have a number of advantages compared with standard NPPs. For the first time, a cassette core was used, which made it possible to increase the fuel cycle to 3-3.5 years before refuelling, and also reduce by one and a half times the fuel component in the cost of the electricity produced. The operating experience of the FNPP provided the basis for the design of the new series of nuclear icebreaker reactors (series 22220). Currently, three such icebreakers have been launched.

The Akademik Lomonosov was connected to the power grid in December 2019, and put into commercial operation in May 2020.

Electricity generation from the FNPP at the end of 2023 amounted to 194 GWh. The population of Pevek is just over 4,000 people. However, the plant can potentially provide electricity to a city with a population of up to 100,000. The FNPP solved two problems. Firstly, it replaced the retiring capacities of the Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant, which has been operating since 1974, as well as the Chaunskaya Thermal Power Plant, which is more than 70 years old. It also supplies power to the main mining enterprises located in western Chukotka. In September, a 490 km 110 kilovolt power transmission line was put into operation connecting Pevek and Bilibino.

Image courtesy of TVEL

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  1. UNSW Travel partners with STA Travel for Business

    UNSW Travel is working with the University's new travel partner, STA Travel for Business, to implement the new services across the University and will keep you updated. In the meantime, below is an overview of how UNSW Travel is building a world class travel program fit for the University's needs. If you have any further questions, please reach ...

  2. Here's your ticket to the new way to travel

    Hosted in Leighton Hall on 18 September from 10am - 2pm, the Travel Expo will allow you to meet our new travel service partner Business Travel by STA and discuss all your travel needs. More than 20 travel suppliers, including leading airline and accommodation providers, will be available to answer your questions about UNSW staff travel.

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  4. Take off: try our new travel booking system

    Successfully launched on Thursday 27 April, our new travel service provider Flight Centre Management (FCM) has already received many travel requests. In the first week, 288 travel approval requests were completed. So far, the feedback has been very positive from staff using the new system. In a recent live poll, 92 per cent of respondents ...

  5. New travel booking system launches Thursday 27 April

    The training, led by David Golding from the UNSW Travel team, will include: online training sessions for each faculty; an online training session for all divisional staff. Training sessions have commenced from Monday 17 April 2023. You can find the training schedule and register at MyTravel@UNSW Training and Updates. Support resources

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    STA Travel. AIESEC US is proud to be partnering with STA Travel once again! STA Travel is a flight booking platform that offers the lowest prices on flights (price-match guarantee) while allowing students to pay for their tickets later after booking them! AIESEC US officially recommends this platform to be used for booking all conference and ...

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    Read about our key Health & Safety achievements in 2023. Campus Life. Create better UNSW websites with the new Web Guide. Campus Life. UNSW's CBD O'Connell St campus has closed. Campus Life. Help build a strong and safe Speak Up culture. Campus Life. Construction begins on state-of-the-art medical research facility in South Western Sydney .

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  19. Touring the Top 10 Moscow Metro Stations

    6. Novoslobodskaya Metro Station was built in 1952. It has 32 stained glass murals with brass borders. Novoslobodskaya metro station. 7. Kurskaya Metro Station was one of the first few to be built in Moscow in 1938. It has ceiling panels and artwork showing Soviet leadership, Soviet lifestyle and political power.

  20. The Moscow Metro Museum of Art: 10 Must-See Stations

    Have a look (7)Elektroskaya Station before backtracking into the center of Moscow, stopping off at (8)Baumskaya, getting off the Dark Blue/#3 line at (9)Ploschad Revolyutsii. Change to the Dark Green/#2 line and go south one stop to see (10)Novokuznetskaya Station. Check out our new Moscow Indie Travel Guide, book a flight to Moscow and read 10 ...

  21. First refuelling for Russia's Akademik Lomonosov floating NPP

    Rosatom's fuel company TVEL has supplied nuclear fuel for reactor 1 of the world's only floating NPP (FNPP), the Akademik Lomonosov, moored at the city of Pevek, in Russia's Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. The supply of fuel was transported along the Northern Sea Route. The first ever refuelling of the FNPP is planned to begin before the end of ...