“Suzdal” – Russia’s Crown Jewel


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Do you remember Maverickbird’s Siberian Road Trip? Or how about The Saga continues ? Well she’s back with another adventure. She has been on many forays into the heart of Russia. In this post Maverickbird ventures into the motherland exploring Russia’s Crown Jewel – “Suzdal”. I want you to to see the heart of this woman by sharing a little from her “About” page. She truly is a Maverick as she dances across the world sharing her exploits, so………..

In Her Words

Camping in the middle of Siberian wilderness, snorkeling on a moonlit night in South China Sea and celebrating Diwali the festival of a million lights and goodness has filled my life with beautiful moments. Happiness has come to me in colors, smells and sensations in countless albums across hundreds of cities, smiles and roads sometimes while in my uniform and wings and sometimes as a backpacking nomad. But my best travel experience has been the joy I feel when coming back home to my daughter. After all she is home for me and there is no greater joy than homecoming.

Here’s a Taste of her Experiences in “Suzdal”

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Getting away from the Maddening  Monotony

I was getting overwhelmed by Moscow’s grey urban autumn when a beautiful Suzdal getaway broke the maddening monotony. A quick train trip took me to the lovely little town of Vladimir where nobody spoke any English and my knowledge of Russian at that time was still limited to Dasvidaniya and Privet. The dinner plate sized Vladimir made me realize the urgency to learn the language, given my frequent trips to remote corners of Russia and I made a hasty exit towards the more touristy Suzdal.

A Picturesque Village

A part of the glorious Golden Ring circuit of Russian tourism, Suzdal is the jewel in the crown. A picturesque village centered around beautiful onion domed churches, quaint wooden cottages and lots of flowers, life went around in Suzdal at a most charmingly slow pace. There was no train connectivity to Suzdal and a rattling bus from Vladimir took me along the beautiful Russian countryside for more than an hour. It was early autumn and rural Russia was blushing in lovely golds and reds. Flowers still bloomed, the sunshine felt just right and there was enough nip in the air to bring out stylish light woolens. Around 1 and half hours and 85 Rubles later, I reached the obscure Suzdal bus station and it had looked like something straight out of a medieval story book.

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The Star of the Golden Ring

Because of the early hour, a shared truffi to Suzdal city center took some effort and I had to suffer the noxious odor of the bus station’s vile toilet facility till a kind farmer gave me a lift in his cranky Lada. It took another 20 minutes to reach the town center and suddenly time seemed to have turned back somehow. The historic town of Suzdal, was unlike any place I had ever seen and the star of the Golden Ring was fairy tale pretty.

Love the colors

Spectacular Medieval Charm

I had never been more influenced by any place’s beauty as Suzdal’s spectacular medieval charm and everything about it was simply perfect. A Cloudless blue sky, the honey colored warm sun and a kiss soft breeze had added to its charm. Suzdal bloomed joyously like a burst of a happy carnival. It had been a weekend and happy colors, textures and sounds had filled the air. Horse carts, picturesque white columned buildings, quaint iron work placards advertising shoemakers and rainbow colored flowers had filled every inch of the city.

On a Bridge overlooking the water

Suzdal’s joie de vivre

I had stayed at a cheap, clean Godzilla hostel which was a few minutes walk along the pretty Kamenka river and everyday I woke up happy with a smile on my face. Suzdal’s joie de vivre was infectious and it had been hard to not fall in love with the vine covered wooden houses with signature Suzdal style wooden carvings and wooden bridges, which lined the banks of the mirror like Kamenka river.

 Breathtaking Flowers and Churches

I would sit by the huge bay windows of the hostel and watch mesmerized by sight of the tall bulbous spires of the famous monuments, that gleamed in the distance. A small historic town, Suzdal’s main attractions lies in its stunning monasteries and it was very popular as a monastic hub from the times of Ivan, the Terrible. Postcard pretty, the best way to enjoy Suzdal’s breathtaking flower filled meadows, fluffy cloud filled skies and rustling leaves, is to take in its sights and sounds at a most leisurely pace and on my 1st day, I had done just that.

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Ancient Farmers Market Square

Walking around Suzdal is a joy and every step is a guaranteed deluge of trees, houses, bridges, flowers, adorable fluffy cats, friendly people and beautiful domes of the monasteries. The town is centered around a quaint little square and every morning, a farmer market used to bustle there in full swing. Friendly babushkas in printed headscarves sold garden fresh apples, berries, garlic, basil, flowers and lots of preserves and gherkins from tiny makeshift tables. They knitted, gossiped and kept sharp lookouts on every new face which loitered into town. Their old baby carriages stood rusting by their side and they were piled with the owner’s daily ration of mushrooms, herbs and flowers.

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Suzdal’s Vintage Aura

People sold spicy, sweet sbiten from samovars and piping hot pirozhkis smoked deliciously filling the nippy air with delicious aromas. Colorful candies and lollipops flew off the counters of the wooden stores and horses decked up with pretty flowers trotted along carrying excited tourists. It was undoubtedly quite touristy but so breathtakingly unique in its vintage aura that it was hard to leave Suzdal. Autumn weddings had been in full swing and bells had toiled sweetly as brides in billowing white skirts had passed by colorful decorative leaves, bright berries and happy sunflowers in coy happiness

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An Autumn Wedding in Suzdal

It had definitely been one of my most beautiful travel days and memories of Suzdal still bring a smile to my face. The best part about it was that, despite being a touristy place, nobody hustled the visitors and the friendly locals were charmingly helpful. My clear autumn Suzdal morning had given way to a rain drenched evening and I had spent it at a local tavern with a delicious Russian lamb hot pot with potatoes and cheese, board games and refreshing glass of Kvaas. It had been the perfect end of a most beautiful day and I  dreamt of Suzdal all the way back to the bright city lights of Moscow.

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5 thoughts on ““Suzdal” – Russia’s Crown Jewel

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