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Published: January 3rd 2014
Vodka and bread
This is the traditional way to drink Russian vodka, as a shot, and it was strong !!
Our train journey was a brief one today,only an hour and a quarter,from Nizhny Novgorod to Vladimir and our visit to the Golden Ring.This is the area Northeast of Moscow that contains some of the countries oldest towns,Kremlins and an amazing array of spectacular onion domes.
We were met by a lovely driver who drove us straight to Suzdal,35km away, which really is a beautiful town. The railway goes through Vladimir and not Suzdal so the town remains largely untouched.At one time there was a church for every 12 of it's citizens and there are still over 40 old religious buildings left in this small town. It was a royal capital and became infamous in the times of Ivan The Terrible. It was like stepping back in time visiting here and our 3 night break was a very relaxing.We stayed in the lovely Suzdal Inn which would not have been out of place in the Swiss alps.It was a wooden house about 5 minutes walk from the centre of town.We had no tv or internet so a great place to chill out.
We checked in and then wandered into town to get our bearings. The weather was a bit
miserable but this didn't dampen our spirits as we walked through the town with churches and onion domes visible in every direction. We went into a couple of churches and each one was so different - some had frescoes, other were built in plain stone but all had a story to tell- shame most of these were in written in Cyrillic! We found a small bar where I was able to sample vodka the traditional way - as a shot with a small piece of bread.
Next day we visited the Kremlin, founded in the 11th century and managed to be there for the bell ringing which was done by one man high up in the bell tower and was very impressive. We popped into a few more churches and enjoyed wandering around the town finally having dinner in a small restaurant at the back of the square. You can see a picture of the English menu.After dinner we went to the magnificent Nativity Of The Virgin Cathedral with it's blue domes that are spangled with gold. It looked splendid glinting against the blue sky and is one of the oldest in Russia dating back to 1225.
day before leaving we had a final walk around the town and visited the Convent Of Intercession. Many ladies were sent to exile here including wives of Ivan The Terrible and Peter The Great.
The hotel organised a taxi to transfer us to our hotel in Vladimir. We checked in and then wandered the short distance into the town. We went down the main street past the Cathedral Of The Assumption which looked magnificent against the darkening skies. We walked as far as the Golden Gate and then headed back to find a restaurant. We found one upstairs in a random building. It had 3 tables of Russians and staff with very little English but we ended up with a delicious dinner.
Next morning we checked out and wandered into the town again. We went into the Assumption Cathedral and the smaller Cathedral Of St Demetrius which was built between 1193 and 1197. Although small, the carvings on the outside white stone walls are magnificent with numerous animals and birds. Behind this area is a magnificent statue that overlooks the Oka valley.
Next stop Moscow ...
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