Russia’s Golden Ring – Yaroslavl

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October 15th 2010
Published: January 8th 2011
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October 15, 2010

In October I decided to visit Yaroslavl. It is only 12 hours by train from St. Petersburg. I came there early in the morning and left for St. Petersburg in the late evening. Here I present the highlights of the short trip, if there can be many highlights during only one day. Yaroslavl is also included in the Golden Ring Route. It is one thousand years old. It has a Kremlin, which is actually a former monastery, and a lot of different churches.

There are some words to say about the sleep in the train – I didn’t sleep at all. Don’t know why. I was awakened by the steward about an hour an a half before reaching the city, and I got up, and after a very short while I fell asleep again – to be awakened again by the steward; I might have missed Yaroslavl that time if I overslept...

During that period there were some troubles with money so I only had money for small bites. I walked straight from the railway station to the city centre (the Kremlin) and there were several nice churches on the way. The city centre has no tall buildings and is architecturally consistent. The entrance to the Kremlin cost 20 rubles. As other Russian Kremlins, it has mostly buildings of religious purpose and its general atmosphere is that of peace and quiet; you can relax on a bench and think over your sins.

Highlight 1 – plenty of religious buildings (churches etc), fine pieces of architecture within a relatively short piece of land. Walking in the centre, one will encounter many different churches each looking precious in its own way. I proceeded from the Kremlin along Yaroslavskaya Embankment to the Spas-na-Gorodu, perhaps the most impressive church I saw. Then I walked on the embankment enjoying the strong wind and listening to smashing bits of the Defqon Australia hardstyle music, Bam-bam-bam! The Volga looks very impressive from the embankment and there were clouds everywhere, but fortunately no heavy rain fell that day. I heard some foreign tourists speaking on their way to Spas-na-Gorodu, a group of them. I continued walking in the centre, finding the sights with the help of the map.

Highlight 2 – the Volga River, the Volga Bridge. After walking in the centre, I went to see the Volga and crossed the bridge; the map showed two other churches on the left bank of the river, but I did not manage to see them. I just stayed for some time sitting on the beach and having a bite.

Highlight 3 – strong wind, which made me mad because I had no warm gloves and no cap… I left my cap and gloves at home and had the very good opportunity to regret it.

Highlight 4 – Peter and Paul’s Park. It was not a very short way there and there was drizzling rain; I had very few opportunities to sit and relax and I felt tired. Finally, having reached the park, I found a log and sat on it for a long time and had a very good rest. The scenery before my eyes was rather pleasant: a small lake and the Peter and Paul Cathedral. After the park I would start the way back to the railway station, because all the main sights have been seen and there was no power and no wish left it me to look for anything else. Of course, no one has to do the sights by walking, it was just my choice. The park did not look very much cared for; rather desolate and very few people were seen there. However, the look of the cathedral reflected in the lake is worth taking the trouble to get there.

Highlight 5 – reading Hemingway’s ‘To Have and To Have Not’ at the railway station. I went on foot all the way from Peter and Paul’s Park, taking a short rest near the Yubileynaya Square and then reached the station. The book I’ve read is not at all full of joy and happiness, but of man’s daily struggle for his life and his death at the end without actually making his life any better. It left a sad impression on me and I actually realized that the words joy, happiness and Hemingway are somehow not compatible. But I did enjoy reading the book. I was worried a bit when I saw there no display of my train on the annunciation board, and there seemed to be some mistakes with the ticket, so I went to several ticket offices to ask for help and bothered several officials; to cut the long story short, my train came in time and I departed satisfied.

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