This post continues our 4 day road trip on the Golden Ring outside of Moscow. For an overview of the entire trip see Golden Ring Road Trip, Day 1 – Moscow to Vladimir.
Day 2 – Suzdal to Yaroslavl
Slept in Yaroslavl
Drive time – 3 hours (200K)
This small town boasts both fine examples of the region’s colorful wooden gingerbread houses as well as the small domed churches the region is known for. In good weather it would make an excellent base to chill for a day, tour the churches and rent a bicycle in order to explore the town and surrounding lanes.
Saviour Monastery of St Euthymius
The Saviour Monastery of St Euthymius founded in the 14th century was most active during the 16th and 17th centuries when the brick wall surrounding the monastery, the bell tower, the Assumption Church and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour were built.
The grounds boast a lovely park. If you like gardens it’s worth a visit just to walk the grounds. Even in October there were a few flowers blooming against a backdrop of fall foliage. Within walls sights include the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour. The frescoed walls are not the best crafted but you are allowed to take photos. A minimal museum winds through the Monastery Dungeon. There is also a bell display in the Assumption Church facing the bell tower.
The small 12th century Suzdal Kremlin opens onto grassy fields at the edge of town. Sights include the Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral which with deep blue domes boasts a highly decorated interior including a wall of sparkly silver and gold covered icons (Photos are allowed); the wooden church of St Nicolas, built in 1766 and moved to the Kremlin in 1960; and the Suzdal History Exhibition, just a across from the Cathedral, which winds through the Archbishop’s Chambers with early artifacts, period rooms and religious icons.
Sleeping and Dining in Suzdal
Hotel Veliy Suzdal
Hotel Veliy is a solid business type option in the heart of town. The rooms are clean and adequate with minimal frills. Amenities do, however, include a coffee and tea service. The bed is reasonably comfortable and Wifi runs OK to slow. The staff at the front desk speak English.
Breakfast is not included in the room price, but for an additional 550 rubles/person you can eat breakfast at their restaurant, Le Bazar, next door. The buffet, with a selection of hot and cold items, is average at best with a minimal selection of offerings – bread, cereal, yogurt, cheese, cold cuts and pickled herring, scrambled eggs, potatoes, pancakes, fruit. The hot food was just warm. Coffee is from a self-serve machine. The breakfast staff speaks minimal English.
Dinner at Gostinyj Dvor
Gostinyj Dvor, a warm medium sized restaurant with a homey feel, serves Russian comfort food. Great on a cold night. Service is friendly but doesn’t speak much English. They do, however, have an English language menu available. We started with the borscht followed by the pike patty and beef cheeks, both served with mashed potatoes. Everything was well prepared and tasty.
Lunch at Imperial
While we had just a quick lunch in Imperial’s cozy brick and dark wood dining room it would make a fine dinner option. An English menu is available but the server did not speak English. Language barriers, however, were quickly overcome with friendly smiles.
We ordered the homemade potato dumplings to share followed by a turkey soup and a borscht. The turkey soup broth needed seasoning but everything else was excellent. The borscht was delightfully presented with toasted brown bread, roasted garlic, raw bacon and sour cream.
Drive from Suzdal to Yaroslav
Short on time we decided to skip Kostroma and take the direct route (R79 and an unnamed road to M-8) to Yaroslavl, 3 hours, 200K. While the paved road was often in disrepair and only slightly better than a dirt road, this turned out to be a great route for viewing the fall foliage and the quaint gingerbread architecture. This pre-soviet construction seems to be crumbling into extinction. While there are some examples in good repair there are just as many collapsing empty shells. Once we turned off the main road there was little traffic until we hit the M-8 heading into Yaroslavl.
October 10, 2019
For links to all the posts in this series see the Russia page.