Vladmir Russia - The

Suzdal Travel Blog

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Vladimir & Suzdal, Russia -   I believe these towns are about 130 miles NE of Moscow and are on the former Trans-Siberian railway.

Vladimir was a major center back in the 12th century - while Moscow was still a small village. Even more impressive is Suzdal, which dates back even further. I look forward to showing you pictures when I return (this one is just from the 'net of course).

I will skip the history lesson (Just go to Google or Yahoo if you really wanna know!), but I'll tell you the two stories I will remember most.

Bowling for Vladimir
I was visiting these towns on a package tour, so I met up again with my group for dinner at the hotel. Pickled fish (which I politely declined), with a creamy potato-dill salad. And for dessert, an excellent ice cream with a giant orange and spice-flavored beer. (My food pairing needed a little work, don't you agree?)

The hotel also doubled as the biggest nightclub in town - and included a 3-lane disco-lighted bowling alley! The Aussies and Kiwis invited me to join them for a game, so why not? The moment made me absolutely want to giggle. Of all the dreams and visions I ever had of what my trip to Russia would be like - all the possibilities of what I might experience - bowling and drinking beer with a bunch of Australians was NOT among them.

It was actually quite fun, and it turned out to be another late night.

(I've gotta stop doing this!)

"The Bad American"
While I was at the bar buying rounds, I was approached by a young Russian guy. His name was "Vladimir" (yes, just like the name of the town we were in), and he was curious because I spoke English, and asked where I was from. This is the time I usually consider saying "Canada," as I know what most of the world thinks of the United States these days. But no, I was honest.

 "Oh, sorry for you. Americans are bad," he said, apparently not thinking the statement was the least bit rude. "Why must your president cause so much trouble?" Sadly, I had no answer for him. But Vlad was sympathetic to hear that our government was actually spying on our own citizen's phone calls right now, and imprisoning non-nationals without trial or sentence. (Perhaps this sounded very "KGB-esque" to him?) I could sense that Vlad was relieved to hear that many of us Americans are quite unhappy about our government, as well.

I won't bore you with more of my politics, but it all ended well. We spoke for some time, about much more pleasant subjects. As it turns out, Vlad is a surgeon (at 28!), lives in Moscow and was here to teach a conference on tele-medicine. As such, we spoke about how my partner works in the OR, etc.

Despite the shocking introduction, this "bad American" really enjoyed that conversation.

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photo by: Kramerdude