Friday, 10 July 2009

Novgorod the Great

Good journey down though seats as hard as nails.Hotel very good and Novgorod could not be a greater contrast to St Petersburg. The town is quite small ,relaxed and clean with a lot of well laid out and maintained parks.

On the 1st night I had a second 'Russian with drink on him" experience.I went into the hotel bar and sat on a bar stool next to a man on the phone.When he had finished it was quickly clear he was very drunk and wanted to be my comrade.Vodka was offered and a list of questions asked ,I was thinking of Irina's warnings and how I might get out of it when the bar maid gave him the cold stare and with a lot of noise he paid up and left.

I spent yesterday doing the sites which include the very large Kremlin and a number of outstanding churches including St Sophia which is possibly the oldest building in Russia and the source of the onion domes seen through out Russia. I stayed for part of the service which was very moving, completely sung .The congregation stands through out as they would have done in a western church in the middle ages, the only seats being along the walls for the infirm( weakest to the wall).

Another ticket buying experience at the station!All was going well with tickets from here to Moscow and from Moscow to Volgograd ordered!Then the lady showed me the price on her calculator,I did not allow for there being Kopecks and I thought the price was 40,000 Rb(about 900 pounds!!). At that I started to panic , when I produced my card she started to panic ( no cards) in general no thinking going on. If I had thought ,I could fly home for that ,she expected me to have the cash and no one would routinely carry that amount.but all sense and Russian had left me . I wrote the amount down and asked was this right but she was not listening she had printed out the tickets and had no payment what was she to do. But all was well , the man behind me said its 4,000 you forgot the kopecks! I produced the money she wept ,I laughed and I then departed .Lancaster station was never like this.
Well I hope to try a banya this afternoon . Love to all

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