Our last day in Russia was fairly low key. We’d managed to wear ourselves out walking every day. Our son hadn’t napped since we’d arrived and had stopped sleeping through the night. We were all coming down with colds. Our original plan had been to go ice skating in Gorky Park before catching our 9pm flight back to London, but the park suddenly seemed like a long way away and skating physically ambitious. And it was cold and windy and raining here and there.

So instead we opted to do some last-minute souvenir shopping on Arbat Street, or “The Arbat”, which was only a couple blocks from the hotel.  According to Wikipedia, it “is a pedestrian street about one kilometer long in the historical centre of Moscow. The Arbat has existed since at least the 15th century, thus laying claim to being one of the oldest surviving streets of the Russian capital. It forms the heart of the Arbat District of Moscow. Originally the street formed part of an important trade route and was home to a large number of craftsmen.

“In the 18th century, the Arbat came to be regarded by the Russian nobility as the most prestigious living area in Moscow. The street was almost completely destroyed by the great fire during Napoleon’s occupation of Moscow in 1812 and had to be rebuilt. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it became known as a place where petty nobility, artists, and academics lived. In the Soviet period, it was the home of many high-ranking government officials.

“Today the street and its surroundings are undergoing gentrification, and it is considered a desirable place to live. Because of the many historic buildings, and the numerous artists who have lived and worked in the street, the Arbat is also an important tourist attraction.”

Arbat Street sign.

Arbat Street sign.

A view down part of the street with one of the Seven Sisters, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the background.

A view down part of the street with one of the Seven Sisters, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the background.

Beautiful Russian cityscape art that I was tempted to buy but the seller had disappeared.

Beautiful Russian cityscape art that I was tempted to buy, but the seller had disappeared.

So we wandered down the street and through the shops and picked up a toy Russian ambulance and police car for the kiddo, a Yuri Gagarin fridge magnet, a St. Basil’s snow globe, a St. Basil’s rotating music box, a set of painted lacquer coasters, and my hubby picked up a leather cap with a toasty wool lining. Our son got his picture taken with one of the two Mickey Mouse characters randomly roaming the street in front of Johnny Rockets. And we stopped in for a snack at Wendy’s.

After that we packed up the hotel room and checked out. Since we had to check out several hours early or pay and additional fee, we were suddenly happy that we’d picked up the toy cars for our son since we had to sit in the lobby until 6:00 to wait for the taxi.

When he finally arrived, we drove the last leg of our journey out to the airport. I’d never been to Domodedovo before, obviously, and was a little concerned when I asked our driver to drop us near the Transaero terminal, and he apparently had no idea what I was saying.

Turned out all the airlines were huddled into one building and after being directed to four different desks, we finally found the queue for our flight that was being operated by Easy Jet…even though that was not mentioned anywhere in our flight confirmation. Eventually we made it onto the flight and after watching them de-ice the wings, we were back in the air, our Russian adventure behind us.

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