The name of the nearest Metro station to the apartment rented by our eldest when he took his first teaching post in Moscow, is Voykovskaya – or Bonkobar as we used to call in, due to our simplistic pronunciation of the native Russian Cyrillic script of Во́йковская.
We took trains to and from this station during our first trip to Moscow in 2003. It is an unremarkable station, built in the 1960s to a strict budget, and having none of the gorgeous architecture of the central Moscow underground stations.
Having gone through the standard (and costly) palaver of obtaining visas for our first foray into Russia, we were collected from Sheremetyovo airport on a snowy December night, bundled into a taxi which had probably gone around the clock 3 or 4 times, and joined the permanent traffic-jam to inch our way to Chris’s apartment. Not a brilliant introduction to one of the world’s great cities.
Once we had dumped our bags at the apartment, we took the Metro to Ploshchad Revolyutsii station, close to the entrance to Red Square, came up to street level and, heads down against the driving snow, walked to one of my life’s most visually memorable moments.
We turned under the arch into Red Square and saw, lit up gloriously, St Basil’s Cathedral at the far end, through the driving snow. A fairy-tale scene and truly unforgettable – we really were in Moscow.
Here’s a picture taken 6 years later, with daughter Alice in shot – but it’s the same St Basil’s Cathedral with some new snow on the onion domes.