Yesterday, we left Moscow in Gregory’s car. Gregory is Valeryia’s older brother, who helped me get my VISA. Also accompanying us was his friend, Alexey.
The first place we went to explore was Suzdal, and old medieval town adorned with churches and flowery meadows. It is part of the Golden Ring, a famous ring of cities northeast of Moscow. We had a very interesting day – we visited many churches. At one point, there were 400 churches for 4000 families!
Outside the Kremlin, we entered a wooden village. All of the houses, windmills, and churches were all made of wood, and not a single nail used to construct them. We also learned a lot about peasant life during a tour of the village.
Also in Sudal, we drank the local wine – made from Honey. We drank 10 different samples at a really cool traditional restaurant, with the waitresses dressed in traditional outfits.
We spend the night in Vladimir, a town named after the man who brought the Roman Orthadox church to Russia. We saw several beautiful Unesco heritage sites, including a giant gate which used to guard the city from Mongolians, as well as more churches.
Later that night at our hotel, I taught Gregory and Alexey how to play 9-ball. We drank more honey wine and had a great time.
The next morning, we went to a traditional Russian Banya (bathhouse). It involves sitting in a hot sauna while being beaten with branches from a birch tree. Afterwards, we jumped into a cold lake. It was amazing.
Tonight, Valeriya's friends came over. They were an interesting bunch, and it was great talking politics with them and watching funny movies on youtube. One of them (who's name I will not mention) is going to the FSB school (foreign intelligence), another is studying to be an anviation mechanic. One of them was also born in Germany (his father was in the Russian Army), except he was born on the OTHER side of the wall!