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.
Also, the roads leading in and out of the major cities were rather hilarious with Russian drivers totally disregarding lanes.
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.
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.
My group did a walking tour which started in a lovely tranquil park near the city’s Kremlin, or an old fortress or citadel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.