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surviving Sheremetyevo airport

 
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:28 am    Post subject: surviving Sheremetyevo airport Reply with quote

Greetings Forum:

Just got back from my visa-run to Estonia and decided to drop a few hints here regarding the experience. For those that follow. Very Happy

First, the Russian Consulate in Tallinn did request the results of my HIV test - so be prepared for that on your next visa-run. I had my test done at a Russian clinic a couple weeks ago for 160 Rubles and there was no problem with that. They examined it and gave it back to me.

The price for a 3-month single-entry business visa was $140, using next-day express service. [that was for an American passport, so prices for other nationalities may vary slightly]

And Tallinn's Old Town is lovely; worth spending an extra few days there just to explore & enjoy. Reminded me of my years in Germany. Clean streets, good food, nice people, lots of historic sights to visit and a surprisingly active night-life to boot. One hotel tip for Tallinn: Try the 'Hostel Wam Maria' - 35 Euros per night for a private room, including breakfast buffet, cable TV with 69 channels and a private bathroom - 4 or 5 tram stops to the centre of town. A quiet, residential area. Good value for the money. Here's the URL: http://www.wammaria.ee/

With regard to Moscow's two infamous airports [known collectively as Sheremetyevo 1 and 2] here are a few tips to keep in mind if you happen to find yourself stranded at either one of them for 10 hours, as I did on Monday.

Sheremetyevo 1 is the domestic terminal. It is basically a gulag. Not enough seats in the waiting 'lounge' - not much to do or see, with the possible exception of a VERY over-priced cafe-bar. Better to stay parked at Sheremetyevo 2 [the international terminal] as long as you possibly can.

Which brings me to the next point: there is a FREE shuttle bus which runs between the two airports. They leave about every hour - more often when traffic is heavy. The ride itself takes about 20 minutes.

Where do you get on this free shuttle bus? OK - it's easy. At the international airport [Sheremetyevo 2] you go down to the ground floor where you will see several windows for various travel agencies. You will also see a window marked 'INFORMATION'. Next to that window is another window marked 'TRANSFER DESK'. At that window, simply present your ticket. They will write down your name and you will be told to sit down - they will call you when the next bus leaves.

A few tips regarding Sheremetyevo 2 [the international terminal]: This airport is not particularly known as a comfortable place to spend time, but they are making some improvements that I wanted to mention here. First - be aware that this terminal has 7 floors, although floors 6 & 7 are for airport personnel only. That leaves you and me with the first 5 floors to explore.

The mistake most people make is that they never venture away from the first 2 floors, which are often crowded and filled with expensive 'touristy' shops.

So here's my BIG tip: Take the elevator up to the 5th floor, where you will find a very nice restaurant & bar, billiard tables, big-screen TV, and now even a modest internet cafe' with 2 high-speed internet computers. 200 Rubles per hour [or] almost $7 per hour, but FAST. Really fast. I spent several hours there on Sunday and it helped the time go by.

At the 5th floor restaurant, you can have a nice lunch or dinner for between $10 and $20. The menus are in English and they offer a good variety of stuff now - the portion was bigger than I had expected. In fact, the lunch I had on Monday was GREAT.

Also be advised that the toilets on the 5th floor are cleaner and less crowded than on the first 2 floors. Hot water, soap ... towels in the dispenser. I thought I would have a heart attack. Twisted Evil

Another hint: Carrying around heavy luggage all day really s.u.c.k.s. but there is a cheap alternative: Go down to the ground floor [across from the Transfer Desk] and you will find a special room marked 'Luggage Storage'. For 48 rubles you can safely leave your bags there for up to 24 hours.

Ok - that's it. Happy travels Exclamation

Regards as Always,
keNt
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waxwing



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 719
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2003 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

info about visas and airport appreciated ..
i look forward to 'discovering' sheremtyevo 2 for the 4th time in my life...
i never investigated the different floors before, I was always in too much of a hurry to get the hell out of there... Laughing
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Communist Smurf



Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 330
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats some really helpful information. I can't imagine ever getting stuck in SVO for all that much time though.

I'll just add this little bit of information. I bought a phone card during my short stay at SVO and noticed none of the pay phones outside SVO used the same system. It's like a trap or something.

I'll be back in Moscow in November and I think I'll check out the 5th floor just because you mentioned it.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:31 am    Post subject: speaking of trapped Reply with quote

Hello waxwing & CSmurf:

Actually, I hadn't planned to spend the whole day at Sheremetyevo. I'm not really a masochist, but the weather on Monday was cold and rainy and generally pretty crappy. Didn't see the point in going into town for sightseeing ... especially without an umbrella.

And as fate would have it, I arrived at the international terminal at 9am with a connecting flight to Samara at 9:40pm ... which, by the way, was delayed until 11:45pm. God, what a long day!

But to return to the original point; parking my baggage on the ground floor and then hanging out at the 5th floor entertainment centre kept me from totally losing my mind. Mr. Green

Have a nice weekend boys Exclamation

There'sNoPlaceLikeHome,
kENt
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shmooj



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
Posts: 1758
Location: Seoul, ROK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2003 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, it sounds like things have improved drastically. I spent 9 hours there at NIGHT TWICE in 1990 when everything was closed and it was like being incarcerated.

The worst thing about the journey was that they gave us a free meal. I'll never forget the semicircular green thing on my plate which I thought was an exotic new vegetable and turned out to be a rock hard tomato. I mean they hardly gave the thing time to see the light of day before they picked it. Then the Argentinian guy next to me said he was a vegetarian to the "waitress". She grunted and picked the meat off his plate with her hand and threw it on her trolley leaving him a green tomato and watery rice. I washed it all down later with a bottle of the aptly named Konokonyuk lemonade.

Aaaaahhh I remember it well....
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 5:12 am    Post subject: Can I have some more, please? Reply with quote

Hi shmooj:

A green tomato and watery rice? Yummy Exclamation You guys must have been in First Class. Twisted Evil
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Theresa



Joined: 05 Jun 2003
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 11:23 am    Post subject: Its all relative Reply with quote

Continuing with a bit of Aeroflot bashing. Imagine this: after my fifth flight to the Seychelles I finally realised that it was a better plan to grab a baguette at Charles de Gaulle. Its true that Iacquired some really bourgeios habits in Paris. But believe me Aeroflot made long for the in flight meal on Air Seychelles.......
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