|Vladimir Cathedral of the Assumption|
I got up very early the following morning and took a local bus about 10 miles to the dusty little town of Bogolyubovo (got a nice ring to in, no?). The main attraction is a World Heritage tiny cathedral, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl. Some consider it the most perfect church in Russia.
|Church of the Intercession on the Nerl, Bogolyubovo|
|Suzdal View from Hotel|
Next, it was off to the second and final Golden Ring stop, the town of Suzdal. Suzdal is considered THE destination of the Golden Ring. The railroad bypassed the small town of about 15,000, thus it was never industrialized and managed to retain its village charm. Tourism is the main industry now and weekenders flock here from Moscow to enjoy "the old Russia". Fortunately, they haven't Disneyed it too much, though many roubles have been spent restoring the 40-odd churches around town. Our three days in Suzdal offered a respite from the Moscow crowds and while I've seen enough Russian churches to last a lifetime, it was pleasant to walk the quiet streets of the town. One continuing problem has been dining out. Few places have menus in English and few people speak English here, thus the choice of restaurants becomes very limited and we've found ourselves eating at the same places more often than we would have liked. While I was able to easily eat in restaurants far off the beaten path in rural Laos last year, its become a huge challenge in Russia and reminds me of traveling Eastern Europe some thirty years ago, before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Difference is that I could usually get by with some German. Not here. Grocery shopping is equally difficult unless the products have pictures. The simple task of buying spaghetti sauce is challenging; got lucky yesterday when I found a promotional pack of spaghetti attached to a jar of red sauce.
|OK, the one on the left is easy, but what's in the other two?|
After a leisurely three nights in Suzdal, it was back to the bus station for the trip to Vladimir where we'd catch the night train (Raleigh, Carolina!) to St Pete via Moscow. Unfortunately, the train wasn't nearly as nice as the commuter we'd taken earlier and I can't say that it was even favorable to Indian sleeper trains, since there was no a/c. Acceptable enough, however and even managed to sleep about 5 hours prior to arriving in St Petersburg at an ungodly 5:40AM. Both still nursing colds and the pace is starting to wear us down. Lots to see the next couple of days.