A Case with Wrong Parking (Part I)

Picture with Dworaks on the Red Square
«Picture with Dworaks on the Red Square» - See photo in Gallery

With posting to my protfolio the picture of Dworak family and me (taken by a passing tourist as we stood in Red Square in front of St. Basil's cathedral), I would like to tell you the story of their last day in Moscow and the big problem we were about to encounter. But, at this moment we were quite happy :-)…

After taking pictures on Red Square we went to GUM, the famous department store nearby, to drink something and relax a bit before going to the airport. When it was time to go, being a very punctual person, I became a little bit nervous that we should leave on time. After one last request to send postcards via the post to their home and friends I asked them to hurry. We were to take the metro back to our car which we had parked near the Kievsky railway station before taking a river cruise . The Metro is an amazing transportation system for a huge city like Moscow. It is fast, clean and has fascinating architecture, so my clients were happy to use it again. In 15-20 minutes we were at Europe Square and the new pedestrian bridge where we had parked our car at the beginning of the day…

Now, with a quavering voice, I will tell you about the unfortunate incident which took place next… We could not find my car at the place where I parked before! Of course, I remembered everything about where and when I had parked, but my clients couldn't believe their eyes and even went to the other side of the road in hopes that I was mistaken. At first I was in shock and thought that my car had been stolen. But even more terrible was the thought of my client's luggage in it's trunk and the very limited time we had before their flight back to Austria. After a couple of minutes of searching for my car, but to no avail, I composed myself and calmed down. Then it occurred to me that most likely it had not been stolen, and that I must contact the traffic police which are responsible for removing parked cars from the streets. But I did not recall seeing any parking signs and it was quite hard to find a parking space here. While my clients went to look on the other side of the road I was able to contact the traffic police department who confirmed that my car had been impounded at a location on the west side of Moscow. Even worse, I was then informed that I would not be able to get my car out of this special city parking "jail" until I got a release form from the traffic police station which was located on southwest side of Moscow--- opposite from where I was! Considering the size of Moscow--a huge megalopolis with millions of cars--and that there would be long lines at the police station, I knew that I had no chance to solve this problem immediately and would need at least half a day. Yes, even though the fine was quite small, they make big trouble for car owners who accidently parked in the wrong place. They don't care how much trouble it creates for people, for example, in my case...

Being nervous, but assessing the situation objectively, I called to my clients to hurry and stopped a private taxi driver in a very old Russian car, a Volga. I offered him the same money which I make for meeting my clients at Domodedovo airport and after some discussion about the price he agreed to drive us to the airport. On the way to Domodedovo I explained my client's situation with my car and tried to calm down Victor and Jana, the children, who were almost crying about their missing personal things and souvenirs from Russia. Fortunately Rupert had all their papers and tickets for the airplane, so I made the decision to go to the airport because their VISA expired on the same day and plane tickets and accommodations in Moscow are not cheap. Also I assured them several times to calm them down and that it was not going to be a problem because I would send them their luggage after I retrieved my car. Their luggage was safe in my car which was located in a very secure place. So, after seeing them off I would get my car as soon as possible and find a way to send their luggage back. We arrived at the airport on time. I helped them to check in for their flight to Vienna. At the same time we tried to get any information in Austrian about sending their luggage later, explaining our unusual circumstances. We did not get any clear information but were told that hat most airlines don't take any bags without a passenger even though they had tickets. My clients were upset at the airlines and told me that they will try to talk with them again in Austria, not here. I could not show them that I was upset and nervous too but assured them again that I would find a way to send them their luggage. After checking into their flight they had a half an hour to have lunch and invited me to join them, but I kindly refused their generous offer. They thanked me for everything and for my excellent services. They told me to calm down and that it was not my fault--it could have happened to anyone. We all hugged goodbye and at the moment they said "See you" I had to look away because I was almost crying...

In the second part of this story you will learn how I got my car back… Continue reading about the Case with wrong parking (Part II).

With BEST Regards,
Your Moscow Guide & Driver

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About Me in Short

Guide, Driver and Photographer Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website Moscow-Driver.com from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

See you in Moscow!