Ancient civilisation (day 160)

Ah, the sweet taste of delicious honey mead. I don’t think the middle ages were really so bad in some ways. Well, in some places. Sometimes. For some people anyway.

Regardless of the general experience of the middle ages (they did those few centuries no good at all with the name – basically saying they weren’t as dark as the dark ages, but they weren’t as enlightened as the enlightenment either – how unsatisfyingly vague), they built a nice kremlin in Novgorod.

Parenthetically, it rather reminds me of Nurenburg (which, if my extremely scanty German is anything to go by, is quite ironic since Nurenburg and Novgorod mean the same thing I think).

Big arse walls. Towers. Moats. Ancient churches – possibly the oldest building in Russia. Commanding outlook. Nice restaurant inside the walls. Some amazing frescoes painted by the legendary Theosophanes the Greek (there must have only been a few of them in those days – I mean if I called myself “Hayden the New Zealander” there would be all sorts of trouble). A boat trip. Sunny. Warm. A nice hotel (very cheap). How can you complain really? This is what holidays are supposed to be about. I even wrote some postcards, as testament to my in-holiday mood.

And now for the northern excursion. An old labour camp and significantly older monastery, an outdoor architecture museum, and the shores of what is almost the Arctic Ocean. I rather suspect I might start with another mug of mead.

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