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... Russians. The settlement predates written history but is known from 859 when the Vikings settled here. It became a significant city as it opened Western Europe to China and India via rivers and lakes from the Baltic and then through to the Volga. The princes from here moved to Kiev and established that as the capital of the Russian people - an historical background to the present day relations between Russia and Ukraine. There are a lot of significant and ...
... and very we'll situated. The highlight of the day was having a meal with a local family. As the lady works during the day the meal was set for 20:30 we had time to circumnavigate the ancient kremlin (fort) of the city's nod enjoy some the sights of the ancient city. Very evocative views. The gleaming cupolas of Saint Sophia Cathedral peeking over the kremlin walls. Tomorrow I have a local guide to take me into ...
... public steam sauna for the locals with separate men's and women's areas. In the men's section there are three rooms. The first room is the change room where you ... errr... get changed, or get naked, to be precise. Yes, this place is all about levelling the playing field. Once you are stark bollock naked, you then have to look everyone in the eye and call each other "mate" a lot. You then strut into the next room which is the ...
... class bunk, which is in an open plan carriage. As soon as I got on, the guy in the bunk opposite mine introduced himself as Yuri from Irkutsk. He didn't speak English and my Russian wasn't good enough to properly understand most of what he said but we chatted until I jumped up into my bunk to try to sleep. Sadly, Yuri turned out to be the loudest snorer I have ever heard! So consequently I didn't get much sleep. During the night, the train rolled on to the ...
... forests. Numerous times I wanted to stop and take photos. After about 4 hours we pulled into Novgorod bus station. I hoisted my pack and made my way to my hotel. I booked in at the Hotel Volkhov, quite a bit more upmarket then what I've been staying in because I've been looking forward to Novgorod so much and wanted to live it up a bit. After getting to my 4th floor room, I went downstairs to have a late lunch before heading out to live my ...