On August 19, I flew nonstop from Vienna to Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport. I was looking forward to joining fellow travel advisors on an Educational Tour, cruising on the Volga Dream. Our journey would start in Moscow and end more than a week later in St. Petersburg. First, I had to negotiate immigration!
The team from the Volga Dream assisted me in securing a Russian Visa – no small feat for an American living in Austria, with a USA passport and an Austrian Visa. I learned much about securing a visitor’s visa to Russia. Upon my arrival at the Domodedovo International Airport I followed the crowd to immigration. It took more than an hour to clear immigration – roughly about 5-7 minutes per person. The Russian officials were very thorough.
Upon exiting immigration, I grabbed my checked luggage and headed for the Arrivals Area. Here I was greeted by the Volga Dream Staff who had coordinated my ride into Moscow. The private transfer – in an Mercedes E-Class – was quite comfortable. It was an interesting ride, on a massive highway, for this first-time-visitor to the city. The ride took 45+ minutes and we eventually arrived at The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya
After settling in, meeting our Volga Dream host, our Moscow guide and touring the hotel… I had some free time to “see Moscow.” It was well after 8:30 PM before I was able to leave the hotel. And although I only went a few blocks, there was much to see!
Here are a few sites, within a few minutes walk of the hotel:
It was very surprising the number of stores that were open after 9:30 PM, including the GUM department store. I saw many 24-hour shops, including a 24-hour florist. It was a surprisingly bit of capitalism… and the first of many surprises I would find in my days in Moscow. Tomorrow, we tour Moscow!
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