Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 9 - Golden Circle Cities

5:00 AM came earlier for most than others and we were transferred to the train station for our first leg of our Golden Circle itinerary. 

Our train was very nicely appointed with comfortable seats and big windows. The 7:30 departure took us from a busy metroploitan landscscspe across rolling plains and dense boreal forests. Small industrial towns popped up and dissppeared as we headed further north into the ever goldening autumn of central Russia. Four hours later we arrived in Yaroslavi.

We were met by our charming and energetic guide, Natalia, who would be our talented escort for the next six days. Once again we were uograded to a furst class 50 passenger touring bus. What a treat to have such a comfortable, well-appointed ride with huge windows...enough room for each to have their own row and window seat. 

We began our visit with a city tour viewing the cultural and architecture highlights. We began at the kremlin snd monastary, toured the fort snd grounds, and took lots of photos. We visited the local high cathedral and its gardens smand then strolled the high banks overlooking the convergence of the Volga River and asecond  large companion. The park snd monument at the joining point was beautifully landscaped. The fall colors vivid in the waining sunlight. 

Lunch was at an elegant local restsursnt; four delicious courses in a beautifully furnished and appointed dining room.  From here we visited the Museum of Music and Time, a small private collection of victrolas and pianos, music boxes and bells, clothing irons and other curiosities. Our attractice, poised, and eloquent local guide was extremely informative...and honestly as unique and lovely as the collection. She played many of the instruments and serenaded us with the bells. 

Not done yet, we walked along the tree lined embankment once again to the gallery of art.  The gallery is housed in a small palace once occupied by the territorial governor and haf an impressive collection of Russian masters.  Once again we were graced by a talented English speaking guide who could easily have also been a fashion model. 

We were dropped at our hotel for a quick check in. There was quite a conversation regarding paperworkmissing  from our previous hotel and it took a bit of charm and friends of Natasha who work inthe  locsl ministry to overcome the roadblock. From this point in we will be collecting travel documents st every hotel and releasing them when we exit the Russian Federation in November. As Natasha appropriately put it, your documents are more important than your money if you want to stay out of jail and exit the country. 

With that subtle, yet effective warning, we quickly got situated in comfortable, although HOT rooms...they like there thermometers set above 80...yikes!

Dinner later that evening was in a quaint cellar restaurant in town where we enjoyed the Russian version of sauerbraten. Delicious. 

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