Novgorod

Between Saint Petersburg and Moscow my tour group spent a night in Novgorod to break up the long (around 10 hours in total) bus ride.

To be honest I really didn’t mind the drive to get there through the Russian country side at all and enjoyed gazing out the window upon views like this – wondering who lives in houses such as these and what life must be like here being quite far removed from a metropolis.

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Also, the roads leading in and out of the major cities were rather hilarious with Russian drivers totally disregarding lanes.

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Sometimes, there would be about six cars lined up side by side on the 2-3 lane roads (which were usually sprinkled with a good amount of potholes) when traffic was at a standstill – each one trying to get that little bit further ahead of the competition.

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Volkhov River

An afternoon walking tour in the sunshine was a lovely way to spend some time in the UNESCO heritage listed Novgorod, one of Russia’s oldest cities with mentions in history books dating back to the year 859.

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My group did a walking tour which started in a lovely tranquil park near the city’s Kremlin, or an old fortress or citadel.

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Kremlin walls

St. Sophia Cathedral was a major highlight within the kremlin walls and a landmark in the city, having been in existence since the mid 11th century.

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St. Sophia

Another well known site of Novgorod is the Millennium of Russia bronze statue erected in 1862, it depicts some famous personalities in Russian history from monarchs to artists.

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When the Nazis took over the town during WW2 they dismantled the figures however the statue was restored once Russia had regained control in this area in 1944.

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Just outside the kremlin on a day like the one we were there you’ll find plenty of locals by the banks of the Volkhov River, where a little beach area is set up, enjoying the sunshine.

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There was also a pirate like ship on the river with a ramp connecting it to land, which we found out later that night is in fact a club once the sun goes down and was a pretty cool place to have a drink and dance.

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Although later that evening I was definitely glad to be in a larger group as we walked back to our hotel, since the area near here in the dark had a rather sketchy vibe happening.

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While a day here is more than enough to see what Novgorod has to offer, the city made for a good stopping point between the main drawcards of Moscow and Saint Petersburg while in Russia and has an undeniably important place in the country’s history.

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