Novgorod means “new town”, ironically seeing as it is the oldest town in Russia (and, incidentally, twinned with Watford). On Monday we went there for the day, getting the 8am train (ugh). We got to the train station and it turned out that you cannot buy tickets until 8am, handy. We queued for about 15 minutes and then when we got the cashier they told us we were at the wrong counter…classic Russian beaurocracy so we had to run to another place and got on the train just in time!

We heard this very over the top music when we were waiting to buy tickets and apparently everytime a train comes in from Moscow they play celebratory music!

The train was the most uncomfortable form of transport I have ever been on. The seats (well…benches) were made of plastic and made to fit…as many people as possible on! There were mosquitos on the train which didn’t help either…

When we arrived we decided to buy tickets for the return journey in case it was too busy, but again experienced some Russian beurocracy and (even though they had just had a break) the ticket offices were closed for “technical reasons” so we couldn’t buy tickets.

First we went to the Kremlin which is apparently the main reason to go to Novgorod…and it was closed. We tried to get in by saying we had come all the way from England to see it. It didn’t work. We just got laughed at.

We then went accross the river where there are a ridiculous amount of churches. I feel like I have spent half of my year abroad taking photos of/in Russian churches.

It must have been day of the city or something as there were stages and places to eat set up all along the river. We watched some performances: first some women singing folk tales, then some childrens performances and then some cossack dancing which was impressive! It’s nice they have so many traditions that people are still a part of.

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