On the road to Veliky Novgorod.

Today I’m going to Veliky Novgorod, a quite famous town laying between Saint Petersburg and Moscow. When you talk to Russians you can skip the word “Veliky” meaning “Great” because for them this is just Novgorod. The other one with similar name is Nizhny Novgorod, for Russians simply “Nizhny” that is much bigger and that will also maybe be part of my trip. Minivan to NovgorodApart the name, there is another thing that two towns have in common and it is the Kremlin, the main reason why I’m now in the Saint Petersburg Metro, going to Moskovskaya station where, following the very detailed instructions I’ve found on the relevant website, I have to catch the bus to the “Great” Novgorod. Bus is actually a mini van. I bought the ticket online and it is enough to show the passport to get in. Everything is very professional. There is even WiFi on board. Trip is not bad. Road is good, mainly highway. We do a break in a gasoline station after about 2,5 hours. Total time of travel is 4 hours. Weather is finally fine so, when bus has its final stop in front of Novgorod Train Station I’m eager to visit the town.

Travel planning doubts – Part 1.

Some thin voice in the back of my head is suggesting me to check how to catch a train (or a bus) to Moscow, my next destination so, before reaching my hotel. I ask infos at the railway station. Well, good news is that there is a direct connection to Moscow, the bad one is that is the only connection and that it leaves in the evening at 21:20 reaching Moscow around 5:00 AM. Bus timetableBus station is also very close so I decide to have the full view. I don’t even try to talk to the information office checking the timetable I understand that bus to the fantastic Moscow leaves three times a week, at 2:00 PM and it takes 8,5 hours. Probably not the most comfy way of travelling. I start understanding that moving in such a big country is not like in other places I’ve visited so far. With these thoughts in mind I reach my hotel by walk. I discover that is a brand new one. They opened just three weeks ago and they don’t even have a sign outside but is absolutely lovely. Everything new, a big room and the guy at the reception speaks also very good english. Everything is ready to visit the town. I will think about trip to Moscow afterward.

Right Bank (Trading side).

Novgorod centre is compact and can be visited without problems in few hours. It can be divided in two parts on the two banks of Volkhov river. Beach on Volkhov riverOn the left bank there is the Kremlin, on the other side there is also a very interesting area full of sights called Torgovaya Storona (Trading side). My hotel is 300 meters from the Kremlin whose main gate stands on the huge Sofiykaya square. Hidden gems in NovgorodAtmosphere is the right one for a Sunny Sunday. I do not enter immediately in the Kremlin but I prefer to walk around the walls so I see also that there is a small charity show in the park. I reach soon the pedestrian bridge connecting the Kremlin to Torgovaya Storona. Views from here are great. On the left bank there is a nice beach. On the other side, it can be seen the impressive arcade of Yaroslav’s court. Yaroslav's court arcadeOnce I’m there I can see that behind the court there are several beautiful churches including the lovely Church of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour. Since everything is around me within about one kilometres I’m not in hurry and I enjoy the great day erasing from my memory, yesterday’s rain in Piter. I got a small town plan in the hotel and following it, I reach Bolshaya Moskovskaya street where I can find other two churches not included in the Lonely Planet map. I feel a bit hungry, in the end I didn’t have any lunch, so I enter in a soviet style market where I buy some fruit. Riverside is nice with also a cycle track. But as I’ve said town is small so I’m again on the bridge.

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