|The overnight train trip was reasonably comfortable although I seemed to wake at each stop and then drop off again. A knock on our door at about 5.30 and Barbara and I took it in turns to dress; I chose not to visit the toilet!
The train was in spot on 6.10 and we transferred to our hotel for a shower and breakfast then 12 rather weary travellers were joined by our local guide Victoria for a tour of the Kremlin. We really should say the Novgorod Kremlin as Kremlin means fortress and many cities have one, each containing a number of buildings including palaces and cathedrals as well as administrative buildings. Novgorod is Russia's oldest city having been founded in the ninth century by Norsemen and was an important trading city, set on teh River Volkov and one of the Hanseatic cities.
After Moscow the stroll through the park opposite our hotel was very quiet and we had the enormous bronze monument explained and a little of the history of the city; it was occupied by the Germans; of the 4000 who had not manged to escape the city only 56 remained at the end of the war.
The local museum, very well set up, has a collection of icons in slightly different style but perhaps of greater interest ( we have seen and heard about many icons) was the archaelogical collection dating back to the Vikings. The Vikings actually used the river until reaching its source then dragged their boats overland until reaching a south flowing river, ultimately reaching the Black Sea.
Lunch at a local cafe proved to be a bargain Ii had a small salad, a mushroom "pie", a local cake and a glass of fruit juice for the sum of 83 roubles - less than three dollars. No wonder at one o'clock the local workers were in a long queue.
In the afternoon we first visited the monastery Yuriev Monastery, where there are only ten monks, to see the Cathedral of St George still a working Cathedral, very cold in winter. Also in the grounds is the Assumption Cathedral - its domes are blue with gold stars.
Last stop for the day was an open air museum of wooden architecture. Old buildings have been rescued form neighbouring villages and restored if necessary to exhibit the style of building. was interesting to see the buildings with large rocks as foundations on top of which were placed whole logs. The gaps between the logs were packed with moss.
We've had dinner together tonight in the hotel and I think everyone has headed to an early bed although now at 9.15 the sun shines brightly.
PS I know that my photos are often slightly out of the vertical - very often taken in a hurry and I don't have the "straightening" software on the IPad.