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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#51  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 05:37 
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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#52  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 05:38 
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Kuskovo, back in Moscow.





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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#53  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 15:31 
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The other side of the Golden Ring


OK, a couple of things happen when you meet someone and get serious, you stop traveling around and seem to return to the same destination time and again, in my case this means a lot of trips to Moscow. But, I'm lucky in that Natasha knows I'm a travel addict so she always proposes side trips so I have been to Finland/Estonia with her, visited the other side of the Golden Ring (have yet to close the loop), and of course we sometimes meet someplace away from the FSU like India where we spent this past Christmas and New Years. So here is a small snapshot of some of my last trips!

Valdimir is a good weekend get away from Moscow as you can stay there and visit other spots within the Golden Ring. It's located along the M7 motorway to Nizhny Novogrod and is mostly four lanes the entire distance from Moscow, but unlike the US interstate system where you bypass the local roads, you go through the center of every little town meaning you slow down a lot. Anyways, making this trip allows you to expeirence road travel Russian style as the road stops might be just a collection of tents with the old big Volgas on either end where the "working girls" ply there trade. The best option for toilets is stopping and using the forest and you never know what the next village will be selling as one might have stuffed animals, the next popcorn (yes, big bags of popcorn), with every other house selling vegggies out of their garden. We had to stop so Natasha could get apples which she pointed out are nothing like the plastic fruit she thinks we have in America (I thought the apples looked not so good). Anyways, the historic part of Valdimir is very compact with several historic churches, statue and over of ancient Vald himself, remnants of the city wall/gate with a small museum and a few other locations. What the city also gives you a feel of is how economically depressed Russia is outside the major metro areas as I noticed the city street lights were only turned on in the central business district and things did not seem too booming.

Bogolyubovo is only a few kilometers outside Valdimir and worth a visit. There is a nice convent/church and then on the other side of the railroad tracks there is the church of the Intercession which is a long walk through a meadow, but if history is what excites you then take the time to visit as it was built back in 1158.

Suzdal was my final stop on the Golden Ring and my favorite city to visit. It's small, only about 12,000 people and very walkable. Also, it seems like around every corner there is another piece of history. For this reason, I would say that if you want to see the Golden Ring then Suzdal is a must stop and best combined with Valdimir as they are all close together. The only negative is that the Kremlin walls are mostly in ruins, but you still find a tight cluster of tourist shops/market, churches, and open air museum that make it a worth while place to visit.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#54  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 15:41 
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Estonia


Tallinn was a side trip that Natasha and I made along with a stop in Helsinki (easily connected by fast ferry) as I was in Moscow to run the marathon and was looking for other things to do. It's in the EU and did not give me the feel of the FSU like Russia or Ukraine did, but I still enjoyed my visit. The main area of interest was the Old City which is walled and stuffed full of tourists (lots of Brits) as the overall city seemed rather small. We did made a side excursion walking through one of the main cemeteries as Natasha wanted to see the WWII statue which has been a flash point of so much tension between ethnic Estonians and Russians (when we found it, we thought it had an appropriate local in the middle of a military cemetery). Overall, good for a weekend but if I had to choose between Prague and Tallinn (which seemed like a smaller version of Prague), I would go to Prague.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#55  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 15:58 
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In Valdimir




Christ the Savior Church in Moscow is a copy of this one.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#56  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 16:02 
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Sleepy Bogolyubovo


Church of the Intercession



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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#57  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 16:05 
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Bogolyubovo to Suzdal





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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#58  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 16:07 
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Suzdal





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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#59  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 16:09 
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Suzdal and Natasha and I in Valdimir


The person I stopped my FSU search for...


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 Post subject: Re: Cheesy's Travels Around the FSU
Post Number:#60  PostPosted: 21 Feb 2011 16:11 
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Tallinn Estonia





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