Our holiday flight from London to Moscow took about four
hours. Whilst landing at Domodedovo airport we saw several derelict aircraft littered around
the runways. Our guidebooks warned us of interminable delays and bureaucracy
when going through Moscow airport, but it all took about twenty minutes
with no hassles.
Whilst waiting for our luggage, we changed our UK pounds
into Russian roubles, again no queue and no fuss (actually, we could have
changed the money in the UK, but again we believed our guidebooks which
all said this was impossible); more
about Russian money.
We easily spotted our local Saga rep, and a little while later we were on the coach headed for the boat station. The journey from the airport, south of Moscow, to the boat station north of the city took more than an hour as we went round one of Moscow's ring roads which was busy with evening rush-hour traffic.
The Boat Station
Our boat was moored for two days at Moscow's Northern Boat Station (Severny Rechnoy Vokzal), built in 1937 as the southern end of the Moscow-Volga Canal. There is less freight traffic nowadays than in the time of Stalin, but this is compensated for by the number of cruise ships and other recreational craft.
The harbour is a hive of activity round the clock as cruise ships mingle with barges full of aggregates, as well as smaller craft. Opposite where our ship was moored there was an old submarine and a seaplane that can apparently be visited by appointment.
Towering above the harbour is the Boat Station building, whose steeple is topped with a star that is reported to have come from the Kremlin. At the front and back of the huge gothic building are illustrations depicting Soviet achievements: the military, power stations, transport and so on.
Views from our cruise ship moored at Moscow's Northern Boat Station
The imposing main building of the Northern Boat Station
Detail of the Northern Boat Station. There are 12 plates depicting Soviet achievements
Many cruise ships are moored at the Northern River Boat Station, Moscow
Our ship, the Lomonosov is moored alongside its sister ship, Pakhomov, which accompanied us throughout the cruise
A submarine and seaplane are attractions of Moscow's Northern Boat Station
We had a free afternoon to stroll through this lovely park located right beside the Boat Station