Novgorod... meh

Trip Start Jun 21, 2013
Trip End Jul 07, 2013

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Flag of Russia  , North-West Russia,
Monday, July 1, 2013

Anyway we drove into Novgorod, supposedly a UNESCO site… and drove through the 1960's style high-rises… and the tour guide started to warn us not to get our hopes up about the hotel. The bus started to grow quiet… and then we drove up to a Raddison… the bus exhaled. The rooms were so much nicer than the Hotel Moscow in St Petersburg.

The next morning we went for a visit to the Russian Banya in the hotel basement which was nice. We then went on the walking tour of the old part of Novgorod, which was quite pretty, but no Tallinn, but I think perhaps we were having slight tour fatigue and were not as interested as we should have been. It was hard to walk across the bridge watching people enjoying the sun on the river bank.

The Novgorod Kremlin was quite interesting, but there was not that much of it. We did see the Russia monument to celebrate the first 1000 years of Russia, and then posed for a group photo. I demanded that people pose like Russians… no smiling all pouting. Still a lot of practice required, but we did get a fair amount on the train to Moscow.

No lunch, and with revolt in the air, when taken to see some pre-revolution peasant houses and churches, we listened politely and then when told to go and take photos we all sat in some breeze and discussed the behaviour of the drunk guy on the bus, and the blossoming relationship between the 17 year old and his tour guide. When told we had free time, we went and got lunch, which took 3 hours, but the service was almost friendly and everyone enjoyed the ice cream creations.

It was then off to the hotel for some dinner (which none of us really needed) and getting ready for the overnight train.

We wanted to go to Novgorod as it was apparently an interesting and attractive town, but I am not sure it was really worth it.

The overnight train was just as good as a train over here… although we did upgrade to a 4 berth, which made a massive difference. We were also put in the same carriage as Fi and Dara, which made a lot of difference.

A fair amount of drinking took place, first in the carriage and then in the restaurant car. Most entertainment came from the 17 yo (henceforth Casanova) and tour guide’s hook up which unfortunately took place in the restaurant car. Dara managed to get an amazing picture of them in the foreground and us behaving like children in the background… good fun.

I called it quits at about midnight (as we were getting off the train at 5.30am – wake up 4.45am) and Luke apparently got kicked out of the restaurant car by a security guard at 1am. Needless to say none of us were particularly pleased to wake up, and the thought that the hotel would not have rooms for us and we would have to go on a walking tour until the room was ready was horrifying. Thankfully they did have rooms ready, we had a quick breakfast and went back to sleep until midday. It was lovely.

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Fi on

Wish the train journey was longer as it was great craic and we could have gotten some more sleep :-). Thank God our rooms were ready in Moscow.

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