The Golden Ring.

The Golden Ring is the tourist industry's name for a loop of old towns north-east of Moscow. We are currently parked in one these towns (Vladimir) just behind one of the town's two Cathedrals (56.126657°N 40.408802°E). Whilst a good place to park, with excellent views, getting here involved driving over what some might considered to be footpaths rather than roads! So far, after one night, nobody has objected to our presence. We have been background material in at least one wedding video!

Nizhney Novgorod Kremlin.Our first Golden Ring city was Nizhney Novgorod where we again managed to park right by the Kremlin (Fort) walls. (56.329587°N 44.008752°E). Once again we lived right in the heart of the city with no hassles and no charge. Whilst we were in Nizhney Novgorod "Knowledge Day" was celebrated (on the first of September). This seemed to involve lots of young people wandering around, often interestingly dressed and carrying beer bottles. One of the other "attractions" of the city is a river trip on the Volga.

A Cruise on Europe's Longest River.

Stephen and Peter enjoy the cruise.As Pat had discovered the availability of a short cruise, we all went aboard the good ship Mockba 198 for a two hour journey along the majestic and historical River Volga. This gave us good views of Nizhney Novgorod's Kremlin wall and a range of onion tower churches and other imposing buildings belonging to Russia's third capital. Two of the church towers were coloured like candy twist.

The commentary on board was spoken in Russian, so that the sum of our knowledge was not greatly enhanced. But, it was a relaxing experience - as you can see from the photos of Stephen and Peter (taken in underhand fashion by Olwyn). It's great when somebody else does the driving!

A girl about four years old muttered a complaint in Russian to Ann, whom she decided was sitting in her chair. Each time she walked past Ann (and the nearby vacant seats which abounded) she looked daggers at her. Even Ann's sweet smile did nothing to soften the girl's reproachful look.

On safely landing, a group of us went for a walk to take a closer look at the candy coloured towers which are pictured.

Olwyn and John.

Church of the Intercession on the Nerl.Our second Golden Ring town was Bogolyubovo on the M7 about 11km west of Vladimir.

The main attraction of Bogolyubovo is the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl. This tiny church is located in a field about 2km from the road. (It is not possible to drive a campervan to the church, park at the railway station, cross the railway lines and walk the last 1.5km.)

Our guide book says "its beauty lies in its simple but perfect proportions, a brilliantly chosen waterside site and sparing use of delicate carving". Currently (September 2004) the interior of the church is full of wooden scaffolding so very little of religious "importance" is visible. Luckily it has been possible to keep the gift shop open. The exterior is in need of cleaning and re-painting. The surrounding area is liberally decorated with broken beer bottles and litter. The stagnant pond is far from clean. However the church it is still quite attractive (especially in photographs).

Stephen Stewart.

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