From Volgograd to Murmansk

One of the Moscow airports

After being called three times during the night, asking if I was interested in receiving a ‘lady’ once more, the taxi quickly transported me through the empty streets to the Volgograd airport. Soon after, I was on my way to Moscow.

My stopover in Moscow was something of a bad trip. First of all, we had to board the airplane, a YAK42, from the back, right under the tail wing, really at the back. Then, I had to spent some twelve hours between my plane arriving and my next plane leaving. The two planes stopped at two airports, so far apart, it being impossible to have two other locations being further apart and still in Moscow. Then, it was continuously raining with an outside temperature of some 15 degrees. When I left Volgogradat 6am it was already 25 degrees! Then again, we where treated to sweets during the flight (but of course no food).

I had to drag my own bags through the city and about the only good thing was, that there was a bus service going to a central airport bus station (really), from where another bus service went to the other airport I had to go to. The baggage claim area at the first airport actually was inside a TENT, right on the tarmac! When leaving the airport, about a thousand cab drivers asked me if I needed a cab and only when I started to wave dangerously with my umbrella (a leftover from Irkutsk) did they back off.

At the second airport, very ugly, small, but mainly catering for foreigners, I talked for some time with an older American couple from Seattle. Recently married, they where traveling around the world as a second honeymoon. Their next stop was going to be St. Petersburg. The man told me a story of how he had sent his kids on a trip around the world when they were 13 and 14 years old. ‘Thomas Cook and Sons took care of them’, leaving me with a fortune cookie wisdom: ‘We get old too soon and too late smart’.

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I felt relieved when the call for my airplane finally came. I was looking forward to the high north. The temperature sure couldn’t be much lower as it was in Moscow, although the days would certainly be much longer.