Vladimir & Suzdal Day 2, 4 October 2009

Vladimir & Suzdal Day 2, 4 October 2009

We woke early again, which was fine because we got great sleep in a super comfortable bed (except for the hot temperature so we took out the woolen filling in our sheets). Breakfast was great but we ate all the poppyseed sweets the night before so they didn’t have any more. We were late to the bus because some of us couldn’t get up…Adeel, and were taking a shower when we were leaving the hotel.

We drove to where we were sightseeing in Suzdal and stopped to take a group photo in the morning light:

It was somewhat misty in the morning, and a bit colder than the day before, quite a bit it seemed.

Then we stopped in front of an ancient village, er rather about 17th and 18th century Russia.

20091004 V&L 2 Entrance to Ancient Village

The Entrance

20091004 V&L 3 Info Sign

The layout of the village. All these buildings were actually standing in the 18th century, and were transported here from areas around Suzdal.

20091004 V&L 4 Inside Village

Here’s what the village looks like. I don’t remember much from here because I was too occupied noticing how cold it was. The pain in my hands was pretty distracting.

20091004 V&L 5 Loom

A Loom. This is how people made money back in the day. They definitely had a market for warm clothes. They did it by hand though, no machines. Tough work. After knitting the hat I’m wearing, I can appreciate the frustration, patience, and feeling of accomplishment these women must have had.

20091004 V&L 6 Private Bedroom

This was apparently the “safe” room in the house where the inhabitants stored their valuables. The really creepy mannequin is supposed to show us how short the people were, and what clothes they wore. But it just creeped us out as we were reminded of all the scary little girls in pop culture recently: The Ring, FEAR (videogame), Grudge.

20091004 V&L 7 Windmills

Windmills! It gets pretty windy here. But the windmills grind the grain up into really fine sandlike particles. The workers keep them in wood barrels until the grain cools before pouring them into sacks.

20091004 V&L 8 Me & Mill

A sweet pic of me and the windmill. I guess I’m not wearing my hat today.

20091004 V&L 9 Inside Mill

The inside of the mill. The triangular shaped object spins when the mill spins and grinds the grain in the barrel beneath.

20091004 V&L 10 Seesaw

I’m not sure if these were 18th century seesaws or just for the little kids who were bored, or for American tourists like us, who want to try everything out. Anyway, we had a lot of fun.

20091004 V&L 11 Swing

This swing definitely looked like it was from the 18th century, as it was breaking when we swung on it. So we only used it for photos.

20091004 V&L 12 Berkeley Bear

Go Bears! I guess Berkeley has really left its mark everywhere around the world.

20091004 V&L 13 Wedding on a Bridge

Cute couple on a bridge over the water.

20091004 V&L 14 The Precious

So this picture pretty much sums up our entire trip. If you don’t know him already, Chris Horvat is a man of many talents, including (obviously) modeling. The moment captured here is locally referred to as “The Precious” here in Russia.

20091004 V&L 15 What Lies Beneath

But those two words always bring another reference to mind (LoTR), and I was forced to reveal what lies beneath. By the way, that’s a flower made out of wood.

This bridge took us to the Suzdal Kremlin:

20091004 V&L 16 Suzdal Kremlin

The Suzdal Kremlin

A shot of the Kremlin as we were leaving.

20091004 V&L 17 Bronze Doors

Original bronze doors with bible scenes once stood in the doorway of the church in the Kremlin.

20091004 V&L 18 Tsar's Lantern

The Tsar’s Lantern. Apparently this means the largest lantern in Russia.

20091004 V&L 19 Church

Beautiful murals decorated some of the church’s walls. A male choir sang for us and were quite good. They are famous in Russia and often give concerts here as the acoustics are really good.

20091004 V&L 20 Inside Hall

Inside the main room of the Kremlin. The architecture used new design/technology that eliminated the necessity of a central supportive beam.

20091004 V&L 21 Long Table

A Good Thanksgiving Table. I can’t believe I’m missing the best holiday ever. Oh well, better get over it.

20091004 V&L 22 California

Old map of America. There’s California to the left, separated from the rest of America by a large body of water, i.e. California is really an island. I’m not sure what information they used to create this map. Obviously, a not too reliable source; they probably didn’t have wikipedia back then.

20091004 V&L 23 Spanish Jesus

Spanish Jesus! This is the only non-white Jesus we have seen the whole time in Russia.

20091004 V&L 24 Old Clock

The original clock on the Kremlin building. Instead of numerals, it has Russian letters to designate the time.

20091004 V&L 25 Tres Amigos

Tres amigos, err in Russian: Три друзья.

A shot of the Kremlin as we were leaving.

A shot of the Kremlin as we were leaving.


We then visited an old Abbey that turned into a prison during Soviet time. Even though these walls date back to when Suzdal was still being attacked by other provinces, they were built after the last attack and so never got to test their strength.

20091004 V&L 27 Prison

These were the prison cells. How cold it must have been with windows like these. After WWII this prison was transformed into a juvenile hall type building for delinquents.

20091004 V&L 28 Bell Tower

The bell tower in the Abbey. We listened to a 10 minute concert of one man playing all the bells. It was pretty cool watching him, but the music wasn’t too great.

We then drove back to Vladimir where we were given a treat: Traditional Russian Dancers.

20091004 V&L 29 Group Photo Restaurant

Group Photo, again! Outside the restaurant where we were going to eat a traditional Russian lunch. Yes, Chris is about to consume Dian’s head.

20091004 V&L 29.5 Sitting at the table

We sat down at our tables and had no idea why they were set up this way. Until these people walked in…

20091004 V&L 30 Dancers 1

The Russians started their show after we had finished 2 courses and were waiting for the main course. It went on for longer than we expected, about an hour; but it got more and more fun as it progressed.

20091004 V&L 31 Guitars

More than just dancing, there were little guitars, percussion instruments and two accordians. The two accordians played the background music the whole time.

20091004 V&L 32 Adeel The Bear

And then they involved us into the show! We think Adeel was some sort of prince and all the girls were trying to grab him but that his character didn’t want them or something.

20091004 V&L 33 Jordan & Natalie

This dance involved lassoing a member of the audience, bringing them out to the circle, and then dancing for a little. Then the new person would lasso another and bring them out.

20091004 V&L 34 Musicians

They even got to play instruments for part of the show. At this point, we were all either laughing in amusement, in shock, or laughing at each other. It was great.

20091004 V&L 35 Me Dancing

I even got to show off some of my dance moves; or rather, be lead around by my partner and try to imitate as best I could.

20091004 V&L 36 Group Dance

We would all run to the center, shout something in Russian, then back out and do it again. Then run around the circle to the beat while the people in yellow & black or blue & white would sing.

Then they pulled us all out into the main room for the final dance. Normally they move the guests out doors at that point and we dance outside, but it was too cold so we got stuck performing for all the other guests in the restaurant. When we got out onto the dance floor we were shocked by the BEAR that was standing in the center. It may have just been a man in a bear suit but probably it was a real bear. We had no idea what the point of the bear was, but it made everything more ridiculous and hilarious so we just went with it. We ran around holding hands in a circle and then ran to the center, hugged the bear, and ran back out. Then we played some games. The first was a blindfold game where the person in the center would get blindfolded and then another would spin him/her around and push him/her towards the circle and the blindfoldee would try to grab someone. Then they (yea bad grammar but I hate typing him/her) would blindfold the next person and the game would continue. Chris rigged it so he grabbed me, then blindfolded me and pushed me into the bear AHHH! But I didn’t get bitten, and one of the female dancers saved me. Next, duels took place. Chris and David put pillow cases on their heads, looking like KKK members and would swing stuffed pillow case at each other until someone’s hat fell off. This went on for a couple of rounds. Next, there was a woven wooden shoe attached to a string and the person in the center would swing it around trying to rope the feet of a member from the circle. We roped Dian, and just about fell over laughing when he began to swing the shoe. His intensity and focus were so absurd, and he got the shoe spinning too fast to see, at which point he let loose and it flew into someone. After all this, we were led back to our tables and got to feast on the rest of the food, which we had almost forgotten as we were having so much fun.

What was really admirable though was that these performers are actually factory workers or other local workers who do this in their spare time. They get paid for it, but mostly they do it for the fun of it, and to share the culture with us foreigners.

20091004 V&L 37 Outside the Restaurant

Outside the restaurant. This is some sort of small resort because there is this pond area as well as other buildings like a bar, bed & breakfast, and others.

After a long day we all piled into the bus to travel back to Moscow. In about 30 minutes the inevitable happened:

20091004 V&L 38 Bus Driver Arrested

Our bus driver got pulled over and had to bribe the cop. Fortunately he got off only paying 100 rubles, approximately $3.30. So now with bus drivers we are 2 for 3 getting pulled over. The one that didn’t get pulled over, to his credit, was the “best bus driver in Russia.”

On the way home I relaxed and read about Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, Father Callahan, and Mia. As I was pretty close to the end of their tale, at least while I’m in Russia, I decided to finish the book. Just as the light faded, I closed the pages to the biggest cliff hanger in the whole series. Just one more part left. It will be a good gift for when I return home. I hope my mom will have finished it so I can snag it before Spring semester begins. Because, I’m getting close to the “clearing at the end of the path,” (Stephen King) and even though I kind of don’t ever want to get there, I’m super curious about what Roland and his katet will find.

One Responseto “Vladimir & Suzdal Day 2, 4 October 2009”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I love Suzdal so much. I could hang there for a week. That’s so cool about the factory workers/entertainers. You all look like you’re having so much fun. Do they offer you vodka everywhere? And those slabs of suet they eat like butter? Yum. If you get a chance though, try some zubrovka. It’s herb flavored vodka and really pretty nice. Hard to get here.

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