According to Yandex Maps Tram No. 16 goes directly from the stop nearest my flat to the flat where the Church of Christ in Moscow meets on Sunday mornings. At least that is what Yandex Maps told me as I was looking for a more direct route with less walking so that it will be easier to take my parents while they are visiting next weekend.
Upon discovering this route I wondered why I had not seen this option previously. Maybe because it’s not really a route~at least not on Sunday~or not on this Sunday anyway.
Today is a overcast, cold, drizzly fall day. I left my flat a few minutes later than I wanted, but was grateful that the first tram was Tram No. 16. I climbed aboard with my ТРОЙКА card in hand and found a nice heated seat about half way back. I took out my local Samsung, as opposed to my US iPhone, and pulled up the Yandex Map app. I was not about to try to keep track of the 22 stops before mine. I used the app to help me NOT miss my stop. Next I pulled out my iPad and opened the Kindle Reading app so I could read on this 29 minute journey; occasionally checking the map app to track our progress.
At one point I found that I was the only passenger on Tram No. 16. A few minutes later two young boys (9 or 10 years old) got on and two stops later they got off. Soon after I was joined by an elderly gentleman. It is just the two of us on the tram when a few stops later the driver opens the door separating him from the remainder of the tram and spoke. I got the impression that he was telling us to get off the tram. So, I made my way off Tram No. 16 and wondered what I was supposed to do now. Thankfully he kicked us off at a covered tram stop.
As I exited Tram No. 16 I pulled out my phone with the trusty Yandex Map App. From this point Yandex said I could take Tram No. 16 or No. 47 to my destination. Obviously Tram No. 16 was not going to get me there. Although the electronic board only listed Trams No. 3 and No. 35 were picking up from this point I chose to wait a few minutes to see if Tram No. 47 would miraculously appear. As my hope waned and my trust in Yandex disappeared I pulled the Samsung out again and launched the Google Maps App.
Church was to begin in 10 and the only option offered by Google was a one hour and one minute walk. I contemplated that alternative for exactly two and half seconds before crossing the tracks to catch the No. 3 tram and headed back home.
There are three trams that service the tram station which is located approximately one quarter mile from my flat; Trams No. 16, No. 3, and No. 1.
While I was deeply disappointed that a) I would not make it to church this morning and b) there is apparently not a direct route from my home to church, I am thankful that at this point in my journey I could simply hop on Tram No. 3 and find myself back home in 45 minutes (yes, it was only supposed to take 29 minutes to get to my original destination . . . ).
If only life in Moscow were so simple.
I began writing this narrative on my ride home. I had just gotten to the point in the story where the driver of Tram No. 16 asked me to remove myself from his tram when Tram No. 3 took an unexpected turn into the tram yard.
Yet again I was forced to depart a tram before reaching my destination. I extracted myself and my belongings from Tram No. 3 wondering what the next step in this adventure would be. I joined the other passengers from Tram No. 3 walking toward the main road where Tram No. 1 was loading passengers. I jogged up to the tram and climbed aboard. As I began to look around I realized I was only three stops from home sweet home.
The tragedy of this story is compounded by the events of yesterday’s misadventure of trying to navigate my way via Metro and bus to IKEA. But that, my friends, is a story for another day.