Suzdal of many churches

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April 7th 2012
Published: May 1st 2012
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Suzdal (of many churches)

We’d decided on Suzdal to get away from the hustle and bustle of
Moscow. The suburban train from Moscow was an interesting experience –
3 1/2 hour journey with no toilets. Fortunately Vitali – an ex army
local explained that we could use the gap between the carriages. We
declined, but struck up a friendly conversation with him and he shared
with us a strange alcoholic grape juice as well as a pocket full of
roasted sunflower seeds. He was also determined to leave us his address,
phone number and children’s details and so did. Meanwhile another
local, Elza, had been roped in to translate. Her English was very good
and we spent the rest of the journey chatting with her. Elza is a director of HR in Moscow and going to see her Dad for the weekend. She was delighted to practice her english.

The train reached the city of Vladimir and we said our goodbyes and
searched out our bus for Suzdal. It turned out to be a dilapidated
minibus, crammed full of people. The journey went quickly, watching
the snowy scenery and more importantly watching a couple of guys drink
a litre of vodka between them, chewing on a piece of apple after each
glug. Arriving in Suzdal one of them couldn’t stand up at all.

We asked a couple of locals and eventually stumbled into our
accommodation – the local Monastery. It was eerily quiet – we may well
have been the only guests – but the room was comfortable and Mark
enjoyed “Monks Sack” from the restaurant. Yum Yum. We also tried a
shot of the local liqueur but I’m afraid we still have no idea what it

The next couple of days were spent wandering the village like roads
and enjoying the local churches – Suzdal has the highest number of
churches per capita in Russia. There were also a number of quaint
wooden houses. Easter Sunday was spent wandering around the market and
watching people taking horse & cart rides round the village. At points
the views were stunning; at other points the undertones of alcoholism
were just as clear. More shelves of vodka in the local supermarkets
than food, empty bottles of beer & vodka littered about, random people
staggering about at all times of day.

We said goodbye to the Monastery and Suzdal on the 9th April and got
the bus back to Vladimir. After a bus station lunch, including quality
machine coffees, we got a comfortable train on to Nizhny Govorod (3
hours). After some difficulties at the ticket window we managed to
purchase our onward tickets to Novosibirsk Tina did a big shop, fruit
and salad included, and we spent the remaining time in McDonalds (free Wifi)
catching up on emails before boarding the 36 hour train onwards.

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