Our week in Moscow had flown by and although we hadn’t seen one flake of snow which is so unusual for December, we’d experienced a fun filled week nonetheless.
After enjoying a lazy breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant where we’d been welcomed each morning by the friendly waiters and waitresses, we put the finishing touches to our packing, checked out of the hotel and left our luggage to collect around lunchtime. We then spent our final morning taking a stroll through the local neighbourhood as previously we had only explored it after dark. The vast Sokolniki Park was only a ten minute walk away, located just behind the shopping thoroughfare. Along here were shops and small supermarkets selling everyday essentials together with a few cafes and bars.
At right angles to the park stands the majestic Church of the Resurrection of Christ. I was surprised to read that the church was only constructed just over a hundred years ago as it appeared much older. Designed in art nouveau style, it is crowned with nine elaborate onion shaped domes. An unusual feature concerning its altar is that it does not face east which is customary in orthodox churches but instead has a southerly outlook.
Crossing the road into Sokolniki Park, we wandered along its tree lined avenues passing the cluster of small wooden huts from where we had bought corn on the cobs during our first evening in the city.
The ice rink was already in action and we paused to watch an expert skater making it all look so easy whilst other people wobbled around unsteadily in a similar fashion to me. I really need to give ice skating another try but probably nearer to home as I don’t want to wreck an overseas trip with a broken ankle or some other injury.
Looking at our watches, we reluctantly decided to return to the hotel and collect our luggage as Domodedovo airport is located 42km (26 miles) south east of the city centre. We took the metro from Sokolniki (Red Line 1) and changed onto the Green Line at Okhotny Ryad (Red Square) for a train to Domodedovskaya station. Located just outside this metro station we found the bus stop (bus 308) connecting the metro to the airport.
Buses run at approximately 15 minute intervals and, as with our arrival, luggage was piled onboard along the aisle and by the rear door, just before setting off. Please note that this bus service is excluded from the travel card and needs to be paid for separately, either in cash or by card, the single fare being RUB 150 (£1.82). I would suggest allowing a minimum of 90 minutes to travel from the city centre to the airport as traffic can be heavy, causing delays to the bus journey. Fortunately, we didn’t encounter any holdups, with our bus transfer taking approximately 35 minutes.
The bus terminates outside exit 2 of the arrivals hall and from there it only took a few minutes to locate the BA check-in desk for our return flight to London Heathrow due to depart at 16.45. After quickly completing formalities we were then able to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the British Airways Navigator Club Lounge which is to be found just after immigration on Level 2.
Despite travelling economy class, being members of the BA Executive Club allowed us access to the facilities and after showing our boarding passes at the reception desk we were warmly welcomed and invited inside.
This spacious lounge at Domodedovo is shared with Qatar Airways passengers although at the time of our visit there were only a handful of people making use of the excellent facilities. We decided to sit by the large windows overlooking the runway where we found some comfortable seats. There’s a variety of seating options ranging from workstations to armchairs and along an entire wall is a photo collage of London. Wi-Fi was easy to connect to providing us with a fast connection to catch up on the news before our four hour flight. Near the door, a selection of newspapers and magazines were available but the majority seemed to be in Russian.
There was a very good selection of complimentary food on offer from salads and sandwiches to main courses. We helped ourselves to bowls of cream of mushroom soup which was so delicious that I went back for a second helping. For mains, I was tempted to have chicken served in a white wine sauce which again exceeded expectations. We didn’t really need a dessert but were easily tempted by a range of small cakes and gateaux in a chilled glass cabinet.
Fridges were stocked with beer, soft drinks, fruit juice and water and in the far corner we found wines and spirits to suit all tastes. It was so much more relaxing than sitting in the main terminal building and after rounding off our lunch with a couple of cappuccinos, not to mention some irresistible Russian chocolate, we were ready to board our flight.
The lounge has several TV screens and a monitor displaying flight information but just in case you forget to check, the lounge receptionist also makes flight announcements advising passengers when to proceed to their gate.
Our flight departed from its gate slightly late and approximately an hour after take off, a refreshment trolley came round with a bar service and tea and coffee. The snack provided was actually much better than on the outbound flight consisting of a pastrami club sandwich on rye bread and a small cake. All this food and drink had made us sleepy, which was quite a good thing as there were no new films we wanted to watch during the journey. The remainder of the flight passed smoothly and, having caught up on our late departure, we actually arrived back into Heathrow on time.
I’m pleased to report there were no queues whatsoever at the e-gates and after being reunited with our luggage we took the Piccadilly Line to our main-line station for the journey home.
This brings to an end my series of posts on Moscow which I hope you have found interesting whether planning a visit or just enjoying my travels from the comfort of your armchair. You may also be interested in the following: