The number of times I slipped on ice this weekend increased fourfold this weekend. 

Being a lover of efficiency, I am eternally grateful to Cherepovets for putting timers on its traffic lights and crosswalks. The fact that they don’t do this in Petersburg was met with dismay, so we were glad to see timers in Vologda. But the timers move noticeably faster there than in Cherepovets. The timer rings, you get the green light, you step into the street, and suddenly your turn’s over, and you’re about to die.

If you haven’t caught on (remembered) yet, this weekend was Nathan’s Christmas present trip to Vologda, the capitol of our region. It’s actually smaller than Cherepovets (about 200,000 people), but it’s more famous because it’s older and, allegedly, all-around better.

When we’d been on the bus for about 5 minutes, the girl in front of us turned around and handed me her phone. I looked alarmed-ly at her, and she said simply, “Igor S.” Igor S happens to be our friend that came to Yaroslavl with us and is generally a Pretty Cool Guy. It just so happens that the seat in front of me was occupied by his girlfriend, and that he happened to hear English in the background and infer that it was us. Many giggles were giggled over that coincidence.

Upon arriving in Vologda, we realized that my method of hotel booking (i.e. book the cheapest one you can find and keep something heavy next to the bed) had, for the first time in my life, backfired: the hotel was a good 4 kilometers from the last bus stop. Fortunately, in Russia most hotels don’t take a deposit or credit card when you make a reservation, so our Vologda adventure started with an inauspicious game called “wander until you see a hotel, then compare its prices to other hotels.” We decided to spend one night rather than the two I had planned on, so the hotel we wound up in was really convenient and rather nice, albeit quite Russian. Aren’t they all. 

Here’s the quick version of the rest of the weekend: Vologda’s absolutely beautiful. Stunning cathedrals, a surprisingly good museum in the Kremlin, a terrifying sledding hill that sends kids hurtling past ice fishermen who would really rather they didn’t, and consistently terrible food.

Pictures!

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Nathan next to a tank–I mean, WWII monument.

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Go home, salt. You’re drunk.

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A monument to those who died serving the city. You’d think it must be in reference to a particular event, but there was nothing else written on it. Maybe there’s a plaque under the snow on the ground.

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St Sophia’s Cathedral next to the Kremlin.

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Hooray nighttime!

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Getting run over by Ded Moroz’s horses.

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Nathan’s discovered filters. Now he’s an “artist.”

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Look! It’s Ed from Lion King!

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This church window isn’t stained glass. It’s mica (today I learned that the mineral is spelled differently from the prophet).

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It’s great that Nathan likes to take pictures. But today he lost his museum-photographing privileges because he takes pictures of artifacts without photographing the information. As a result, I don’t know where this is from, but I can assure you that it’s (a) Russian and (b) much older than it looks.

Unfortunately, the camera battery ran out, and we didn’t get pictures of the last museum. It was dedicated to the USSR and the Space Race, which was very interesting to learn about from the Russian perspective.

One of the exhibits was decorated with live ammo, which I thought was hilariously Russian until I woke up this morning and read this article. See, you guys, we’re not as different as we think we are!

 

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