Vast empty fields stretch for miles from the town’s single main road. Church spires pierce the skyline whichever way you look. Multi coloured hand painted wooden houses line a river who’s gentle amble mimics the pace of life itself.
Welcome to Suzdal!
After the imposing classical architecture of St Petersburg and the roaring 10-laned Moscow roads, it was nice to spend a few days somewhere so sleepy. This is your classic little Russian town, with a population of around 10,000 people and walkable in an hour or so.
It really is a quaint little place, if for no other reason than the cute wooden houses. I found myself stopping every 30 yards to take another photo of another pretty little homestead. The people who actually live here must find the whole spectacle rather curious, seeing people taking endless pictures of their houses every day. I’d be a bit freaked out if a load of Russians suddenly turned up in Maghull and started photographing our house.
Its not just the houses that draw visitors to Suzdal: the town’s 10,000 people are served ably by 30 working churches, each of them ornate and beautifully decorated. Our guide, Irena, showed us the choicest examples, including one which claims to be Russia’s oldest! Now there’s a thing.
The hostel we stayed in was set alongside a slow running river, run by a lovely Ukrainian couple. The lady’s only English word was ‘Vodka’, but she seemed to draw no end of delight from saying this every time you went to get anything from the fridge. ‘Vodka’, she’d chuckle, and then mimic drinking from a bottle. Bless her.
We were also sharing the hostel with an old German guy who spent most days sat on the porch overlooking the river, wearing a vest and painting. ‘Das is gut ja?’ he’d say every time you spoke to him. I don’t mean to stereotype, but he was exactly what you’d imagine an old German bloke to be like. He was a nice chap too.
Soooo yeah. Suzdal. Nice place!
Adams Top Tips: Suzdal
How on earth do you get to Suzdal?
Well, we got there on a mini bus, which took about 5 hours from Moscow. There is no train station here. But you can get a bus directly from Moscow, which runs daily, or you can get a train to nearby Vladamir.
And why should I go?
Well chances are you’ve already been to Moscow and / or St Petersburg. You might fancy a break from big city Russia by now. This is the perfect place to come to do it.
Is there lots to do?
Not really, but that’s not the point. The whole point is that you’re going to walk a bit slower, and stop every few minutes and go ‘Ah, isn’t that lovely?’ Don’t come here for a party.
Was the hostel any good?
Absolutely fantastic! Every dorm of eight has its own shower and toilet. Its another Godzillas, owned by the same people as the one in Moscow, but much better. They do bike hire for 300 roubles a day – that’s about six quid.