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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Sheremetyevo Airport Express Train

IMG_3332Usually I have a driver in Russia, a chauffeur to take me from Point A to Point B. That works, yet in case of constant traffic jams, travel by train is so much faster. So this time, my son and I hopped on the Aeroexpress, the direct train from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport to the city center.

Don’t let the name fool you. This is no high-speed bullet train. A couple of times, we wondered why we had boarded an “express” train that, at times, approximated speeds of 10 mph. Neecheevo. IMG_3329It doesn’t matter. Every half an hour, it left the airport and only 35 minutes later, we were at Belorusskaya station.  Beyond the Aeroexpress, not many train signs are in English.

The seats were wide and spacious, there was space for bags and suitcases near the doors. The cost was only 940 rubles or $15 for a roundtrip ticket and half of that (470 rubles) for one-way. A IMG_3328business-class train exists (1,000 rubles one-way) if you wish for an assigned seat in a more posh car. Considering the fact that most everyone onboard was coming or going from the airport, even the regular-fare train car by definition did not include anyone from more humble origins, since they would not be flying in the first place, nor probably working near the airport and in need of a more direct train.

Anyway, I would recommend a ride on a Russian train, whether long-distance, Aeroexpress, or of course, the ubiquitous Metro (subway) which I will get to on another day. You experience the lady with the trolley cart, offering tea, snacks, luggage locks, you name it. You look out IMG_3331the window and see the suburban spreads ranging from the small, wooden weekend shacks (dachas) with outhouse and postage-stamp-sized gardens, perfect for growing vegetables and flowers or roasting shashlik on the grill… to the McMansions along newly-paved streets outside the city. Every home in Russia appears to be encircled by a high wall or fence, even if it’s to prevent anyone from fingering a ripe tomato.

The birch trees whiz past once we gain a bit of speed. I sigh. Beriozski. Their peeling bark conjure up so many memories from my childhood. An entire industry exists to make round boxes, often to hold salt or sugar. Surprisingly, they are not white, but pale brown, with decorative patterns similar to what one would find on American Western-style tooled belts. Some sport cathedral motifs.

IMG_3330As day turns to evening, the sun will not set until 9:30 pm, and usually rises around 3:30 am in Moscow this time of year, and we glimpse Russians walking their beloved dogs. I think of my two back home and how I would love to hug their necks right now.

We see couples on train station platforms, and folks heading home from the rinok (open-air market), a few carrots or a flat of strawberries or raspberries in hand. Many are texting or surfing the internet as an old way of life on the rails gives way to the new.

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