On the Road - Stockholm to Beijing travel blog


The overnight train was a bit flash, very comfortable with a well equipped dinig cart. We embarked on this journey at 5.20pm, arriving early this morning, 5am. We were met by a rpivate transfer for the hour long drive to Suzdal, checking straight into the hotel and crashing for a few hours! by 9am we headed off down the road to a locals house for a traditional Russian breakfast of cottage cheese pikelets, rhubarb juice and cabbage rolls, finished off with lemon verbena tea. Though not a usual breakfast for aussie tastes, it was delicious none the less.

We then went on a tour of the town. Suzdal is part of Russia's famed Golden Ring of ancient capitals, this town holding a millennium of Russian history. We wandered down rustic lanes were enchanted by the medieval monasteries and cathedrals, then were off to relax by the riverside with a glass of medovukha, a local tipple made from honey.

After a bit of R&R we went to a Unesco World Heritage site, the Wooden outdoor museum. Houses, churches and mills were brought here from around Russia to aid in conservation. There was a Summer and a separate Winter church, built to meet the extremes in weather -40 degrees to 35 degrees! We entered a rich families home, made up like a maze of summer/winter bedrooms, the winter in loft in the kitchen with the beds over the oven and the summer in the cellar. It was very interesting. I went of wandering by myslef, as i tend to do, finding a young couple whom sung some folk songs for me. Their music was beautiful, and sad. i didnt understand what they were singing about but the tone displayed struggle, desperation and coming from that strength.

We separated for lunch for free time, I found a bank, not sure how I achieved this, and managed to exchange some money, I then found a cafe and had a baked omellette and strawberry 'blini' (pancakes) for lunch YUM! Being that it was now late afternoon, I strolled through the town market, full of plastic toys and touristy junk, before stopping at the hotel for a rest. Its very hot here, 34 degrees. At 7pm we met in the lobby for dinner back at our local families house. The menu was DELICIOUS.... Borsch, beetroot soup, Musroom crepes and every second mouthful we toasted Vodka. Toast to Meeting, toast to Health, toast to Love, toast to women, then to men, toast to the good meal, to the vodka, to the cat, to anything basically! I managed to sit on one shooter the whole night without getting found out, whilst the others progressed to get quite drunk. That is until the 'special' honey vodka came out, my god would that elimate any ills you had! The host had us up dancing to cheesy Russian pop then did her best to flirt with the only single guy on the tour, a recently retired Kernal of the Australian Army. He kept looking to me beseechingly for help, but it was far to entertaining for all of us to stand in the hosts way. A great night was had by all, stumbling back to the hotel around midnight!

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