Friday, July 9, 2010

Buggery (Get Your Mind out of the Gutter)

St. Petersburg is hot. Like, really, really hot. Like, 33˚C hot, remembering lack of air-conditioning, and the proliferation of swamp monsters (aka mosquitoes). In between taking cold showers, eating ice cream, and mortal battles with the enemy (again, mosquitoes), we went to Novgorod last weekend, with the other students on our program. There are actually two Novgorods in Russia--Nizhnii Novgorod, and Velikii Novgorod. We went to Velikii Novgorod, which is about 3 1/2 hours south of St. Petersburg. And there were no mosquitoes. Well, less, anyway.

Not even in this swamp.

Novgorod is a lot smaller than St. Petersburg. A lot cleaner, too. And the cars actually stop for pedestrians. And it has reaaaaally pretty flowers.

See? :)

We visited the Kremlin, which, to clear up various questions, is not exclusive to Moscow. There is a Kremlin in each Russian city, and it's basically the Russian equivalent of the local government building. kind of isn't:

It's a fortress.

The Novgorod Kremlin encompasses government buildings, fountains, monuments, and, of course, too many monasteries to count. One of the monasteries that we went to is in lucky possession of the oldest Russian painting recorded, from the 11th century. Unfortunately, attempts to take pictures were countered by angry babushkas wielding pitchforks, so you'll just have to believe us when we say that the painting was pretty amazing. But never fear, because we got pictures of the interiors of lots of other holy buildings (for a price, of course. Ah, Russia...).

Old paintings, if that's your kind of thing.

We visited a lovely old monastery the second day we were in Novgorod, in the middle of what sounded to be the Sunday service, as we could hear several...angelic voices singing to the masses. The flowers were pretty, though (as usual).

It has to be the water.

Woman lighting a prayer candle.

Ah! We're about to be kicked off of the internet, so we'll leave you with this short blog post before there's no blog post at all. We promise there will be another one on Monday, after we visit Pieterhof this weekend.

PS: There are too many pictures to put up here, but the rest will be uploaded to Facebook, to our respective accounts, so look there if you want to see more picture from Novgorod.

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