Arrival at Moscow-Sheremetyevo II
Moscow Travel Blog› entry 1 of 11 › view all entries
The arrival at Sheremetyevo Terminal 2, the main international airport of Moscow, was nothing short of a nightmare. It was the last thing I needed after a long journey from Tokyo (via Beijing). It took me over 2 hours just to go through immigration, and by the time I got out, the driver who was supposed to pick me up had already left... When you're arriving in Moscow and someone is coming to pick you up, make sure to add 2 hours to your arrival time because, depending on the flight and the time, going through immigration can be very long.
Anyway, I was left on my own at the airport and had to find my way to the hostel. It was already 10 o'clock in the evening, so taking public transportation was out of the options. I'd have taken public transportation had I arrived earlier. Busses and minivans (known as marshrutka) run frequently between the airport and the Metro stations of Rechnoy Vokzal and Planernaya.
There were plenty of cab drivers at the arival hall offering ride to the city, but I heard there had been reports of robbery and other life-threatening incidents, so I decided to make use of MosCab, one of the "official" taxi counters. It's definitely safer and not much more expensive than those "gypsy" cab drivers, who are known to rip off tourists (if they spare you from robbery, that is!). A ride to the city centre should cost somewhere in the region of US$40 ~ US$50.
Perhaps, I'm leaving the impression here that Moscow is a dangerous place, but as I eventually found out during my journey to Russia, Moscow was reasonably safe. Moscow is, perhaps, safer than many other cities in Europe. However, for anyone arriving in Moscow for the first time, Sheremetyevo's "ambience" can be enough to scare them off...
But then again, in Russia, the first impression never lasts. There is no denying that Sheremetyevo sucks, but Moscow and the rest of the country are so awesome that any bad impression at Sheremetyevo shall be ameliorated in time.