After nearly falling over several times as we climbed down a mud track to the bus station we were off on a bus that had been in existence since the Stalinist purges and were bumping along a country road to Suzdal.
The bus stopped at the bus station which was about 20 minutes walk from the main part of Suzdal, well I say main part the whole town is only 7km long so it’s not really that big or that hard to get lost finding. We decided that it was not really worth it getting a taxi and that we would simply walk it. We regretted this idea the second we set foot on the muddy, semi flooded dirt track that led to Suzdal as we all got our shoes covered in mud, however about 5 minutes later we realised that running parallel to this path was a tarmac path so we continued along this one.
The town of Suzdal was beautiful, surrounded on all sides by lush green fields full of wild flowers and so quiet that the only sound that broke it was the odd neighing horses that seemed to be the preferred mode of transport to cars. In other words it was bliss after the constant hustle and bustle of Moscow.
There wasn’t really that much to Suzdal as it was so tiny but despite its size it still managed to house 2 monasteries, 2 convents, 17 churches and a cathedral. Apart from the various religious buildings there were a couple of bab markets which a few of the hardier babs had stayed to man despite the downpour.
We spent the day looking at the various churches and exploring the Saviour-St Euphimius Monastery, which had a ‘holy’ cat that refused to leave Simon and Sam alone and completely ignored me despite the fact I was the one who wanted to pet it. We also visited the newest attraction in Suzdal- the Sberbank bankomat. It was very interesting that the only amounts we could take out were 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 anything higher you had to ask for specially where as in Moscow the amounts are usually 500, 1000, 1500, 3000, 5000, 8000- clearly say something about Suzdal.
Once we were thoroughly soaked to the skin as none of us had waterproof clothing on and my umbrella kept blowing inside out as there was a gale to add to the rain we headed back on another ancient bus to Vladimir. Apart from needing a hot bath as we had paid for the hotel we were going to use it.
Being as we were in Russia we decided to find the nearest produkty kiosk or shop buy some supplies and walk some Russian television which is always amusing to our western eyes even if it’s not supposed to be. The nearest produkty shop turned out to be 30 minutes walk from the hotel and meant that we were then soaked and knackered by the time we returned. Annoyingly the hotel did not have a kettle so we could not eat our pot noodle and the fridge was also a stupidly expensive mini bar so we decided to chill the beers in the bath so as not to end up accidentally having to pay for alcohol we didn’t drink.
The television did in fact turn out to be incredibly amusing as it was showing old Soviet cartoons of dancing goats, singing wolves and man cave children. While we were sat in the hotel with the rain pouring down outside it distinctly felt like we were on a typical family holiday in England- everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong, it was raining cats and dogs, we were eating junk food and watch bad tv, but despite all of this it was awesome and to me somehow the fact that everything had gone wrong made it more fun. We all resigned to bed around midnight and thoroughly awaiting our next day in Vladimir and the interesting breakfast the hotel would provide us with.