Our first stop was at the kremlin (castle/fortress/monastery) in Rostov the Great...and yes, that is the real name of the town. We were met by our guide, another Natalia, whose English skills were quite impressive. We toured the grounds, the chirch, the museum, and walked the walls. So very cool. We sang acappela in the sanctuary and marveled at the 1200 AD accousitics!
We enjoyed the gift from Natalia I, a special mulled warn beverage that was perfect on the brosk morning. From there we viaited yet two more churches...yep, lots of them this trip, and viewed more ammazing frescos and architecture.
A short drive took is to the village of Pereslavl (Peres=my maternal family name, and Lavl=village). Those Prussian Jews certainly did get around! There we were joined by another local guide, Galina, a woman of 70 or so with a cane and a warm smile. Natalia I interpreted for us and we viewed the White stone cathedral from 1100ish and walked the dirt walls of the old kremlin, as well as another nearby monastery.
From there we drove to Zaleski for an elegant lunch and a bit of relaxation in a beautiful and classy restaurant.
We ended our day with a two hour drive over rolling farmland eastward to Suzdal and our Rusdian frontier styled hotel. Very cool.