Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Refreshing Pace . . .

Ah! The fresh air and cool breeze met us as we stepped off the boat and followed our chosen guides through the city of Yaroslavl, the self-proclaimed capital of Russian merchants.

I chose the active walking tour that took us through the town on foot. I'm sure we walked at least five miles in three hours! Olivia chose a borsch cooking class, and the boys, a folk tour centering around the rites of Spring and Lent. None of us were disappointed.

(Sign reads "Yaroslavl")

I felt as if I was walking in the goldcoast district of downtown Chicago. I could tell it was upper class. That was confirmed when our guide told us property was 200€ (or $275) per square meter to purchase/rent.

We walked along the Volga River, a street lined with linden or lime trees. To protect these over 100 year old trees, gardeners paint a liquid chalk compound on the lower trunks to protect from caterpillars. We heard nightingale's (I guess they sing during the day, too!) sweet songs as we walked along. They evidently stop singing and get to business during their nesting time, so we were fortunate to hear them.

Along the way, we saw a former girls school patronized by Tzar Nicholas's wife . . .

A gazebo filled with locks left by newly weds hoping for a long and happy marriage . . .

Another Russian Orthodox Church with pineapple domes instead of the traditional onion shape, due to the choice of the merchant who financed the building of it. Money talks everywhere!

Here is the most beautiful landscape view of Yaroslavl on the Volga, which commemorates the founding of the city. 

Each year, they change the date under the bear with the battle ax (crest of the city), and fill the shapes with flowers.

This view is chosen by the bride and groom for a wedding photo, after they place the lock on the fence of the gazebo. 

They have taken this tradition from other European cities such as Prague (where I have seen it before).

Look at these beehives: the castle for the Queen bee, and the other homes for the hard workers!

The town was named after Yaroslavl the wise, who developed the beautiful trees and parks. Here is a monument to him:

An authentic bell ringer:

Merchants row (reminded me of Philly streets):

Cute native bird unafraid of humans:

Another beautiful church in center of town, with Victory Day banners in front:

Visit to the Governor's Palace: the front doorknob:

Girls dressed as the governor's daughters were our guides. They talked about the language of fans:

"Dance with me. . . "

"I'm married" (back of fan)

Then, they waited to dance:

With this ensemble;

The gardens:

What a beautiful day we have had. We have gone through the locks into an open sea, or resevoir, and it's so big we can't see the shore. Evidently there are towns under the water that were flooded in the 1950's. Here is a statue of Mother Volga, to which we say "farewell"!

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Journey into the Promised Land

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