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Russia's Golden Ring: Suzdal

by Going Slowly

The tiny town of Suzdal is purportedly the home of more than one hundred architectural monuments (and fifteen monasteries too). We're still a little unclear on what actually constitutes a monument, but all of them are packed into the space of a few square kilometers. Maybe every single building counts?

Suzdal Churches

Since the entire town is a veritable showcase of majestic churches and and historical sites, it is no wonder there are several bus-loads of tourists visiting when we arrive – and where there are tourists, there are souvenir stands! Besides the colorful nesting dolls and array of church-themed magnets for sale around every corner, there are other touristy delights as well: a wax museum, horse-drawn-carriage rides, and a place where you can have old-timey photo taken – just like at an amusement park back home.

It is still unbearably hot today; rather than hunt down every single attraction, we opt for a relaxing stroll through the sleepy streets.

Suzdal, Russia Russian Church & House

Shady boulevards, architectural marvels, well-preserved gingerbread-like homes, and a lively little marketplace make for a fantastic walk. It is easy to see why visitors are drawn to this homey place.

Russian Church Door

The very best part of our time in Suzdal is meeting this burly accordionist who smiles at us broadly when we approach.

Russian Accordionist in Suzdal Russian Accordionist in Suzdal

He sings with raspy, enthusiastic gusto and we wish we could understand him.

Russian Accordionist in Suzdal

Once we've meandered our way through town, we head back to the car by way of the market. There, we practice our Russian language skills by buying one kilogram of cool, knobbly cucumbers, some little yellow pears, and two snappy dill pickles to eat as a snack. Satisfied, we stow our bounty in the back seat and head out of town.

Kameshkovsky District Sign

Once we're weary of driving, we find another lakeside free-camp for a quiet evening of swimming and reading.

Russian Sunset