About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Friday, April 23, 2010

St. Petersburg to Novgorod

Day 22: St. Petersburg to Novgorod: We leave the 'Cradle of the Revolution' and journey past collective farmland to Novgorod, which when translated means 'New Town'. This afternoon, a guided tour of the town and its famous church and millenium bell. (Breakfast and Dinner included)

Hotel: Hotel Sadko
Breakfast: 9:00 Bags to the bus/depart: 9:30

This morning we were dropped off the Church on the Spilled Blood at 10am for a free morning. Marie was trying to arrange for a canal tour this morning, she had spoken to someone the day before, but no one mentioned that today was a holiday and everything was running with limited service. The only times we could get for the canal cruise would make it really tight for meeting the bus at 12:30 if we wanted to eat lunch too. We finally got one that was supposed to leave at 11 for 7 euro each. But by 11:15 the boat hadn't moved yet and they didn't know where the driver was, so we all got off and went for lunch instead, Subway.

At 12:30 we met the bus and headed off to Novgorod. Maggy had gotten our stuff from Dodgy Serg and gave it out once we were on the bus. Then she went over our Belarus Visas and gave us some history on Novgorod. Novgorod is 1047 years old, we didn't know it then but we found out later that today is "Novgorod Day," it's Novgorod's Birthday! Some history: the city was trashed by the Nazi's and Ivan the Terrible left his mark here, he sent his storm troopers in and killed 60,000 people. What a happy place!

At 4:00 we arrived at our hotel, which was really nice. But Contiki had not made our reservation and they weren't ready for us, but they had rooms at least. At 4:30 we went on our tour of the city while the hotel got our rooms and dinner ready. The city isn't terribly big, and a bit run down, but it was Novgorod Day so they were having a festival and everyone was out and about. We saw the Cathedral of St. Sophia, the gold gilding had come off the domes and you could find it on the ground, I found some. We also saw the Millennium of Russia Monument, celebrating the 1000th anniversary of Prince Rurick's arrival. We drove over the Volkhov River back to the hotel at 6:00 and had dinner at 7:30. With my free time I packed up my souvenir bag so it could be stored in the bottom of the bus so I wouldn't have to drag the stuff around anymore, I had collected quite a bit of stuff.

At dinner I sat with Skye, Tom and Michael. Skye and I decided to follow Maggy's advice, to go to the communist grocery store next door, then we were going to walk into town. Tania decided to come with us, but she didn't last long as she needed something back at the hotel and didn't even make it into town with us. The communist store was interesting, everything is behind counters and you tell the people what you want and they get it for you. Ahhh, so this is how the communists created jobs for everyone, by making everything excessively labor intensive. The girl behind the counter looked bothered by me and my buying candy, I love Russian hospitality.
We continued into town and it was nice since there were so many people in town. We looked for an internet cafe that was supposedly in town, but never found it. As it got later Skye and I started to feel a bit uncomfortable in town and decided it was time to go back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel I finished packing while Tania and I watched a concert that seemed to be going on in Red Square, we wondered if it was live. It was funny to watch because we couldn't understand 95% of what they were saying, but every now and then they would say a word that was close to the English translation and it would catch my ear, like "internet," but I still didn't know what they were talking about.