05-Oct-2002 -- Visiting 56°N 37°E confluence point 13 km W of Zelenograd, Moskovskaya Oblast', Russia (#1)
That’s enough. In the biggest country in the world, which has three thousand(!) Confluence Points (CP), only six pieces have been collected. None has been found near Moscow in the 500 kilometers radius.
Probably, it is the result of that a special permission to purchase any GPS receiver is required in Russia. It is possible that topo maps of scale 1:25,000 still have a stamp "Confidentially". Or perhaps Russians do not speak English and know nothing about an interesting DCP project.
We decided to do away with such situation once and for all. The nearest to Moscow primary CP (56°N 37°E) is located conveniently near the highway. Most of the participants of our expedition live in Mitino suburb in the northwest of Moscow. The distance from their apartments up to chosen CP is less than 30 km on along a straight line.
On a sunny October day our team of three people set off. We had a GPS receiver, a 1:200 000 map, a camera and enthusiasm of pathbreakers.
The road was quite good and we quickly drove half the way. We had the first stop near an interesting house-workshop of artist’s artel (#2). They live here and make icons for orthodox churches and for sale. They pound paints and use ancient drawing technology only (#3). We were invited to the house, where they showed us some samples and told a story about manufacturing icons. They suggest that we should buy an icon, but unfortunately we did not have 500 dollars and continued our journey.
The next stop was at the monument to the Russian soldiers lost in II World War. It was a stone cube with an engraved map and an inscription "It is the last firing line of Moscow defense" (#4). Here in 1941 was the front line - in several kilometers from Moscow, which was not conquered.
We could not find the Akishino specified in CP description, therefore we visited and took a picture the place with the similar name - Alabushevo (#5) though it was a little away from our route.
(Coordinator's note: As usual in Russia, the indexing of this point had to be redone to match what the visitors actually found. Since Akishino didn't exist, we are now using Zelenograd, which the visitors tell us is a bit more real...)
At last we came across the Big Ring railway and approached a crossroads with a Police post (GAI). From here up to our destination there were only 1.8 km. We decided to drive further and to come to the point from behind, driving a group of summer cottage (Dachi). Really, behind Dachi we saw a concrete road which led directly to the point. With only 600 meters left, we got buried in a big dirty puddle which our Volkswagen could not overcome. However we even were glad to have such an experience: the real confluence hunters should go though difficulties. And we to our horror found out there was a big cottage settlement on our way.
It is so exciting to discover in an unknown country, countdown meters back! Ours CP about a hundred meters we is settled down. There fences were a bit farther.
30, 20, 10, 5, 3, 2, 1... Hurra!!! We’ve found it!! We performed a traditional confluence dance and took historical photos immediately (#6, #7, #8). Our point is simply very good. It is located in the field on hills. There is a beautiful view of the yellow autumn forest. Somewhere there one of the Kljaz'ma river’s head begins, and the Istrinskoye reservoir is located 10 km to the west. We didn’t forget to take photographs of remarkable digits on the screen of ours GPS receiver - 56°00'00"N 37°00'00"E (#9). Then following the Russian tradition we all drank vodka to successful hunting (#10, left), except the unhappy driver who was going to celebrate the event in the evening.
Three people were standing in a clean field, laughing and photographing. Passing by people looked at us surprisingly as if we were lunatics. It didn’t confuse us, we were feeling as real pathbreakers (#10, right).
Leaving point, we decided to visit this point again. It is not far from Moscow and summer cottages are everywhere now. Probably the next year there will be houses and everything will dug over – it will be more difficult to find it again.
On arriving home, we immediately called our friends and told them the news. Some of them were really enthusiastic about the new idea. Now we are sure that all CP in Moscow region and in the nearest areas will be found quickly enough.