Monday, August 22, 2011

Suzdal (Across Russia, Part 4)

Our next stop after Moscow was a sleepy little town called Suzdal. Suzdal is located a few hours outside of Moscow and once was an important center for trade, administration, and the church. Today, what buildings are left over from that stand in a state of bucolic disrepair or humble use. Life is as simple as the river that wanders through the town.

It's also full of linden trees, which in early summer gives the entire town a subtle fragrance and which my mother discovered that she loved in this town (she would have been happy to stay here for the rest of the trip!). And then there are the chickens.

After the break, we'll take a look around the town with a dozen photos and talk about how to actually get here by bus or train (plus where to actually catch the bus).

This is Suzdal and this is actually most of Suzdal. It's a place more for quiet reflection than sightseeing and in contrast to Moscow it's a very peaceful retreat. While it was perhaps a little too slow for my tastes, my mother seemed completely prepared to rip up the rest of the tickets and stay here until our visas forced us to leave. It was just the right size for her and full of the type of things she likes. She is a bit eccentric and enjoys taking pictures of things that most people would look over or be puzzled why it is worth a photo. On this trip, manhole covers and trash cans were on the "must shoot" list, but in a place like this it quickly became pictures of the Wood-lace architecture. It's extremely common throughout all of Russia and here in Suzdal there is a good collection of this style of architecture. Over the course of the trip, we'll see much much more of this, but this was the first place that either of us saw this.

Wild strawberries are common in Russia and even sold on the side of the street!

How to get to Suzdal:
The basic trick to getting to Suzdal is figuring out how to get to Vladimir (below). You can use to find a train that will get you there (between 800-1000r), but another alternative is to go by bus. It's less than half the price, but it doesn't add too much time to the trip. Another excellent guide to getting there can be found on Godzilla Hostel's website, which also happens to be an excellent place to stay while visiting.

To get the bus, head to Kursky Station and head to where the green marker is here. This is where the bus departs from this station (you can even see one of the buses in the satellite imagery). It departs when full and costs 300r per person.

Once you arrive at Vladimir, you will be between the train station and the bus station (in the picture above, the bus station would be the opposite direction). Head up to the bus station and inside to buy a ticket. Tickets are not sold on the bus, and seats are assigned(!). This will get you to the Suzdal bus station, which is still outside of town. You'll be asked to pay again to ride into town. In total, it's about 52.5r from Vladimir to Suzdal city center.

Next week we start on the true transsiberian leg of the trip when we leave Suzdal to catch the train in Vladimir which will take us some 1,500+ miles over 52 hours to Tomsk in Siberia.

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