Disappointment! We didn’t see anything of Red Square or the Kremlin or any of the centre of Moscow. Probably not a good idea to be in Moscow over a weekend with 2 World Cup games taking place! It’s such a huge, sprawling city but even busier than normal. It was actually a relief to leave and get away from multiple lanes of traffic. Another city to come back to for a long weekend, without any transport!
On the way to Vladimir we stopped for provisions at a hypermarket. Very much based on the French style, but hyper hyper market. An absolutely amazing selection. I have been surprised by the huge choice of goods in the supermarkets.
Russia appears to be a country of vast contrasts. The restaurants, cafes in the cities are sophisticated with beautiful presentation. The interiors of hotels are spotless. The exteriors of buildings are generally, though, very tatty. Except for Moscow, which has acres of new tower blocks of apartments. If you stop at a roadside parking area the litter is appalling. The difference between the towns and cities is also immense. The little wooden cottages in the more rural areas are tumbledown and many very scruffy. They don’t seem to be built with any foundations and many are at all sorts of odd angles. Some are very brightly painted in purple, blue or turquoise, but many just unpainted, rotting timber.
Late this afternoon we arrived in Vladimir and what a lovely place it is. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and people were promenading around the old walls of the city. There were lots of wooden chalets selling all sorts, honey, wood carvings etc and 2 amazing Cathedrals. An orchestra was playing, with a backdrop of a blow up football (World Cup promotion is everywhere) and the glittering domes of the Assumption Cathedral. Quite magical. We sat listened for a while.
We have continued on to Suzdal where we are camped in an excellent campsite. Probably the best in Russia! Certainly comparable with anything in Europe. Suzdal looks fascinating, but we will explore it tomorrow.