Vladimir & Suzdal Day 1, 3 October 2009

Vladimir & Suzdal Day 1, 3 October 2009

It has been too long since I’ve last posted, my apologies. My classes have sped up, and along with spending more time on them I’ve been sightseeing more in Moscow instead of sitting at my computer. Shame on me. On another note, if anyone would like a picture from my blog, send me an email describing the photo, and from which post, and I can send you the full size version. It may take a few days but I’ll get to it eventually.

Anyway, October 3rd came early. We had to be on the bus by 7am or something like that. A 4 hour drive followed. But no matter, I sat in the last row and stretched out until Natalie figured out that I had too much space compared to everyone else and stole the right 2.5 seats. But there was still enough room and I was able to get a decent 2 hours of sleep. Prior to us sleeping though, our tour guide, a friend of Elena Pischik, gets onto the bus and tells us he brought wine and bread & cheese for our morning meal to start the adventure. Naturally, I passed on the wine, but took the bread and cheese for when I woke. And when I did, I found the wine (and little sleep the night before) had quite an effect on our students:

Austin passed out (not unusual)

Austin passed out (not unusual)

Chris serenaded in his sleep by the music from his headphones.

Chris serenaded in his sleep by the music from his headphones.

Will quite obviously out cold. Reminds me of Chip & Dale, the chipmunks.

Will quite obviously out cold. Reminds me of Chip & Dale, the chipmunks.

Dian, not looking very comfortable.

Dian, not looking very comfortable.

Lenny, the sleeping king. Wherever we go, he always falls asleep at some point, in some of the most ridiculous positions.

Lenny, the sleeping king. Wherever we go, he always falls asleep at some point, in some of the most ridiculous positions.

David and Nikolai looking comfy.

David and Nikolai looking comfy.

Natalie soundly asleep.

Natalie soundly asleep.

We finally arrived at Vladimir and faced the golden gate:

This gate was originially built into a wall that surrounded Vladimir. It has been standing since the 12th Century.

This gate was originially built into a wall that surrounded Vladimir. It has been standing since the 12th Century.

A view from the top of the Golden Gate

A view from the top of the Golden Gate

The protective wall, and what's left of the ditch for the moat on the right.

The protective wall, and what’s left of the ditch for the moat on the right.

Apparently the wall didn't work too well as this diorama shows of the Mongolian Invasion. This happened multiple=

Apparently the wall didn’t work too well as this diorama shows of the Mongolian Invasion. This happened multiple times as exlpained by our tour guide. The diorama needs some technology updating; we were laughing more than taking it seriously. The language they used to describe the warriors was absurd as well: the “valiant” Russians and the Mongolian “horde,” “ruthless.”

A Soviet Cosmonaut suit. Note the American/Soviet arm patch.

A Soviet Cosmonaut suit. Note the American/Soviet arm patch.

A red church outside the walls of Vladimir.

A red church outside the walls of Vladimir.

Looking down from the Church's balcony. It is now a museum for blown glass.

Looking down from the Church’s balcony. It is now a museum for blown glass. USSR made it mandatory for all glass making factories to be at least 150km away from Moscow because they kept blowing up. Vladimir is the closest city that fits this rule and so the glass making factories were moved here.

Close-up of the Glass centerpiece.

Close-up of the Glass centerpiece.

Old Style Matroshka Dolls

Old Style Matroshka Dolls

The red vase with the gold lining was made by cracking the glass in cold water and then filled the cracks with gold.

The red vase with the gold lining was made by cracking the glass in cold water and then filled the cracks with gold (big  & small).

The Blue Glass Light is beautiful but note the green glassware. It has uranium in it to make it that green color. Way cool. Then they outlawed working with uranium because of some health reasons.

The Blue Glass Light is beautiful but note the green glassware. It has uranium in it to make it that green color. Way cool. Then they outlawed working with uranium because of some health reasons.

A glass flower on that centerpiece a few photos back.

A glass flower on that centerpiece a few photos back.

This monument represents the unity of the three types of soviet people: worker, warrior, and baker/farmer or something.

This monument represents the unity of the three types of soviet people: worker, warrior, and baker/farmer or something.

Group Photo! as we headed over to St. Demetrius Cathedral

Group Photo! as we headed over to St. Demetrius Cathedral

St. Demetrius Cathedral has a lot of lions on it. No one knows when it was built but at the end of the 12th century there are repors of the St. Demetrius icon being brought to the cathedral. There is no explanation yet of why there are so many non-christian carvings on the church.

St. Demetrius Cathedral has a lot of lions on it. No one knows when it was built but at the end of the 12th century there are repors of the St. Demetrius icon being brought to the cathedral. There is no explanation yet of why there are so many non-christian carvings on the church.

Looking out over the countryside from St. Demetrius Cathedral we see Russia's rural beauty, as well as a Nuclear Power plant to the left.

Looking out over the countryside from St. Demetrius Cathedral we see Russia’s rural beauty, as well as a Nuclear Power plant to the left.

As the sole physicist of the group, Chris ponders nuclear power for us.

As the sole physicist of the group, Chris ponders nuclear power for us.

Another view from St. Demetrius, a horse and his rider over the countryside.

Another view from St. Demetrius, a horse and his rider over the countryside.

We then took a bus ride to one of the active monasteries in Vladimir

Visiting one of the active monasteries in Vladimir. Nice hat eh?

Visiting one of the active monasteries in Vladimir, containing the Bogolyubovsky Cathedral behind me. Nice hat eh?

Group Photo! Our tour guide was super cool and offered to take group photos of us most places we went. He also said we should contact him about coming back to Russia because he can get us visas.

Group Photo! Our tour guide was super cool and offered to take group photos of us most places we went. He also said we should contact him about coming back to Russia because he can get us visas.

The lower stones here are part of the original cathedral built in the 12th century.

The lower stones here are part of the original cathedral built in the 12th century.

Andrei Bogolyubsky, the ruler of Vladimir during the 12th century, had problems humbling himself to others. Some think after examining his body that his neck bones were fused and so he didn't have a choice. Naturally, he was assassinated because of this issue as well as some other diplomatic ones. He was super short though and his exotic look comes from his mom being part of the nomadic group called the Kipchaks who lived in felt tents and roamed Russia.

Andrei Bogolyubsky, the ruler of Vladimir during the 12th century, had problems humbling himself to others. Some think after examining his body that his neck bones were fused and so he didn’t have a choice. Naturally, he was assassinated because of this issue as well as some other diplomatic ones. He was super short though like 4ft (they have his body inside, he was entombed and his body was preserved somehow, so I saw what was left of his hands and feet, that’s what stuck out from the clothing under the glass cover) and his exotic look comes from his mom being part of the nomadic group called the Kipchaks who lived in felt tents and roamed Russia.

The entrance to the staircase that spirals upwards into Bogolyubsky's chamber where he was assassinated.

The entrance to the staircase that spirals upwards into Bogolyubsky’s chamber where he was assassinated.

In order to enter this active church women must wear skirts. So Natalie, Natalie, and Christina got to play dress-up.

In order to enter this active church women must wear skirts. So Natalie, Natalie, and Christina got to play dress-up.

As we walked out into the grassland to see the Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl I stopped to take this photo. I think it's one of my favorite photos of Russia so far.

As we walked out into the grassland to see the Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl I stopped to take this photo. I think it’s one of my favorite photos of Russia so far.

The sun/sky combination was good for photos today. The Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl stands at the end of this path.

The sun/sky combination was good for photos today. The Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl stands at the end of this path.

Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl. When the water rises in the early Spring, it looks like this church floats on water, or is submerged depending on your taste.

Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl. When the water rises in the early Spring, it looks like this church floats on water, or is submerged depending on your taste.

Up-close. The decorations are asymmetrical. Most of the churches here had asymmetrical aspects about them; maybe it was a style of the time. Our tour guide said it was unknown why this was the case.

Up-close. The decorations are asymmetrical. Most of the churches here had asymmetrical aspects about them; maybe it was a style of the time. Our tour guide said it was unknown why this was the case.

They were selling photos of the church. Here is one where the Spring melt has flooded the grass. From afar, it would look like the Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl was underwater, or floating, especially if there was fog, which apparently is common.

They were selling photos of the church. Here is one where the Spring melt has flooded the grass. From afar, it would look like the Church of Pokrov-on-Nerl was underwater, or floating, especially if there was fog, which apparently is common.

These four had cold hands and bought gloves made out of sheeps wool from a street vendor. Unfortunately, the wool would rub off onto everything they touched. Eventually, they were spitting it out of their mouth, and everyone had it on them (we played an unofficial game of making sure everyone had some sheep on them).

These four had cold hands and bought gloves made out of sheeps wool from a street vendor. Unfortunately, the wool would rub off onto everything they touched. Eventually, they were spitting it out of their mouth, and everyone had it on them (we played an unofficial game of making sure everyone had some sheep on them).

Me standing at the edge of the water. A good day to wear my boots I'd say. Oh, and it was pretty cold.

Me standing at the edge of the water. A good day to wear my boots I’d say. Oh, and it was pretty cold.

Then we drove to our hotel which was fantastic. All you can eat dinner buffet style, comfortable beds, and all you can eat breakfast, as well as ping pong tables, a disco, gym (I was able to ride a bike for 20 min!). They had these poppyseed mini-cinnamon-like pastries with lemon. They were to die for. I think I ate 10 of them. We kept hoarding them. If there’s one thing Russians do well, it’s poppyseed. I’ve never had better poppyseed bread/pastries/sweet buns anywhere else, and I’m loving it. It’s a pretty good motivation for running in the cold mornings.

I hope tomorrow I will have time to post the Suzdal day as well as the lunch back in Vladimir with Russian dancing and us dancing with them.

2 Responsesto “Vladimir & Suzdal Day 1, 3 October 2009”

  1. Papa says:

    Your pictures are very good but you printed material ran of the space and could not be read. We have enjoyed all that you have put on the blog but we hope that your doing well in the math program
    Love
    Papa

  2. lebca says:

    You have to widen your browser window, expand it horizontally. Then all of the photo will show and with it the text. I’ll begin making the photos a bit smaller now as this should help, and also will keep my page from being too bandwidth heavy.

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