Greatest nights sleep in our luxury (seventies) accommodation.
After green tea and a banana we were off to explore Suzdal. First off we had to find the post office and send home some collected souvenirs and items brought along by mistake e.g address book! Like I will be writing to anyone in this day and age! We eventually located the post office but not before going into a couple of more official looking buildings (which as they had no stamps on offer we exited swiftly). There was no queue (mercifully) this time so we walked up to the first counter and started to explain in sign language that we needed to send this pile of useless stuff to Great Britain (the only Russian word we had was Great Britain the rest was sign language and smiles). The woman on reception was more than happy to shout ‘Europa ‘ at us so we swiftly put her right on such political matters and got our post posted (with reference number which we could follow of only we were a wifi zone and could put Cyrillic into our phones). My mum will love receiving it as it has no herbs, spices or anything weird smelling!!!
Monday morning chore complete it was 12 noon and we were hungry so off for food we went to yesterday’s restaurant where I had pike, with fried potatoes and very mild saurkraurt, Guy had salad with pea soup. . It was simple yet tasty food which was really welcome.
Suzdal is small and compact so we walked for about 15 mins down the street to a beautiful view point, cathedral and museum, we were relieved to see that the museum was closed on Mondays and so we didn’t need to go in and wander around aimlessly. Still we watched the tourists taking photos and the shots below are part of an ongoing (if intermittent) series of ‘Al having photo taken in local style’.
Without Wifi life seems very strange, we have missed birthdays (sorry Si) and were wanting to Skype home but are unable to do so, but it is also strangely empowering , not being a slave to the latest notification on your phone, but when walking down the street and wondering what size a bears nethers are and not being able to google it is quite frustrating (queue photo of bear with nethers hidden hence why we wondered how big they were to be hidden).
As our guest house has a kitchen we decided to try and get some food from a supermarket. The name supermarket is synonymous with the nouns super and market, neither of which are relevant to the stores we went to in Suzdal. We visited a couple yesterday, the first of which had more items behind the counter than in front and a very surly lass in charge, we exited quickly. We then found another purveyor of foods and went in, it was a fascinating insight into Russian foods with all kinds of meats (some just left on an open unrefrigerated counter), loads of fish (including smoked which is never seen on restaurant menus, frustratingly) and open topped freezers (with more fish) which gave an overall fragrance of fish and not all of it completely fresh, by this time we were baffled how the locals ate anything other than slightly rancid meat and fish and broken crackers.
We went back to the market street with the old ladies selling pickles, veg and herbs from their garden and any other weird stuff they feel the need to put in jars. We bought some potatoes at double the price of a local (which at 35p for 1kg potatoes I can live with) then Guy saw she sold wild strawberry and blueberry jam as well, which was 250 Rbls (£2.80) a jar which we probably wouldn’t pay in UK but as she was so ace (in Russia that means she smiled) we were more than happy to pay.
We then spied a proper supermarket, i.e sold veg, broken biscuits, meat, fish (not smelly), dairy products and more (cuddly bears and mini Mars bars) so we stocked up on veg, butter, yogurt, and dirty frankfurters all for tea. Although I have to admit that the service was nothing like Waitrose!!!
Back to the hostel and we relaxed and cooked tea, which is the first cooking in 20 days. Result. Oh, and we may have accompanied the meal with pickles and vodka, our new favourite past time.