In the middle of the Strogino area are three streets of dachas, fruit trees, goats, and old churches that seem centuries away from the surrounding urban blocks. Welcome to the lovely village of Troitse Lykovo, home to the famous Russian writer Solzhenitsyn, the world's oldest living Nobel literary laureate. A metro station is set to open here by 2015, which will inevitably change the nature of the area. But in the meantime you can reach it on foot, by tram, or (best of all) by boat. This week's route uses a combination of all three and also passes some of the nicest river beaches in Moscow on the grass and sandy shores opposite Serebryany Bor. From Shukinskaya Metro, exit near the front of the train, turn right in the underpass, and you should come out near the bus and tram stops. Head down some steps straight ahead of you, and you will find the tram lines. Near the grey ticket kiosk to the left, you can catch trams 15 or 21 three stops (great views across the Stroginsky Zaton lake) to the stop immediately after the bridge ("Tekh Tsentre Kamerton"). Turn left from the tram, and take the small path behind the bus stop. This leads to a pleasant outdoor summer cafe with Stary Melnik umbrellas and pots of petunias. If you don't want to stop here now, you might bear it in mind for the end of the walk.
Follow the path from the cafe down to the water and turn right along the shore. This lake, the largest inside the MKAD, is a favourite spot for yachters and swimmers. Walk past the sandy beaches until you come to a yacht club at the corner. Turn diagonally left through a field past a wooden slide, heading for the trees in the far corner. Turn right through the shady grove until you come to another little path leading left through the grass. Follow this path to the water's edge and then round to the right along the bank enjoying the views of Serebryany Bor and of the two lovely churches at Troitse Lykovo.
The simple sandy beach on the corner of this grassy peninsular is one of the pleasantest in Moscow, a favorite with discerning local families, but far enough from the road to be relatively quiet even on the sunniest days, especially compared with the ranks of sun loungers across the river. The water quality is hardly outstanding, but swimming in it regularly doesn't seem to produce any ill effects, and the beach immediately opposite has recently been pronounced "suitable for swimming" by the Moscow Authorities. Walking on along the bank past a green island, you reach the jetty for boat trips. Ignoring this for the moment, go up the track behind it to stroll round the village.
At the top of the hill, the nineteenth-century Assumption Church is worth visiting, its inside glowing with beeswax candles and muted frescoes. The manor house behind also belongs to the chuch and beyond that is the seventeenth-century Trinity Church in the Moscow Baroque style, topped with a gold dome. This beautiful church is currently closed for restoration, scheduled to reopen in August. Turn left out of the Assumption Church gate onto the road, and walk past a shop (useful for picnic supplies), a bus stop and some old dachas that still survive from the 1920s with intricate carved and painted window frames and gardens full of flowers. There is another, parallel road beyond, also with interesting old houses, if you want to explore further.
Passing a tall fence and some woodland, turn left down a little road to the water. Turn left again along a riverside path until you reach the jetty you passed before. In theory there have always been boat trips available in this area, but in practice they were erratic. This year, however, the route has been bought up by the slightly more reliable Stolichnaya Sudo khod naya Kompania (Capital Navigation Company) who also run the boat trips in the centre of town and plan to make this an equally viable venture. Boats are supposed to leave every forty-five minutes, every day between about midday and 9 pm (For complete information, check website at www.cck-ship.ru).
A 300-ruble ticket lets you ride to Strogino and back, or you can get off at one of the other stops. The boat follows the Moscow River as it meanders around the island of Serebryany Bor, then takes you onto the canal and under the Stroginsky Bridge, between the green fringes of Shukino and one of the long peninsulars of the Troitse Lykovskaya Lake. Looking right, you can see the superhuman scale of the 1930s clock and the elite modern appartment complex of Alie Parusa nearby, followed by the old Tushinskoe Airfield. Disembarking at Strogino, you find yourself in a pleasant riverside park. Climbing the grassy slope and turning left along the willow fringed path, Alleya Zhizni ("Avenue of life"), will bring you out very close to the start of the walk. The stop for trams back to Shukinskaya is a little way to the right along the main road.
Alternatively, you could stay on the boat, but get off at the Serebryany Bor stop on the way back (let the boat crew know that you want to get off there). From here, follow the second half of last week's walk all the way back to Shukinskaya (find the paper online in The Moscow News archives, available free at www.mnweekly.ru). Or stroll back from the Troitse Lykovo terminus along the tarmac track to the main road where you started. N
Family friendly features
What's not to like? Trams, boats, beaches and good climbing-trees make this trip a winner. The only thing you might want to alter would be a possible shortening of the route around the village.