- Encounters with locals
- Park and garden
- Place or Religious Monument
- Castle and fortress
- Place or Historical Monument
- Off the beaten track
Thedozenvillageswhichmake up the Golden Ring to the north of Moscow are villages which all had an important part to play in the history of "Mother" Russia.
You can visit all the villages but if you want to do it comfortably it's best to do them by car, one after the other. Sometimes it can be arduous taking public transport during a trip to Russia.
However, as all these magnificent churches and monasteries seem to end up looking like each other, I recommend you just visit 2 or 3 or you'll end up overdosing on colourful onion domed churches. So, for example, you can get to Sergiev Posad from Moscow by "elektrichka" (a local train).
During my stay in Russia, and in particular in the Golden Ring, I loved the feeling of these ancient princely towns that could have been created to form the backdrop to an old Slavic fairy tale.
Every town had is own special beauty and particularity but my favourite was definitely Rostov. A small tranquil town, far from the chaos of Moscow. It has streets lined with colourful isbas, and a frozen Lake Nero for as far as the eye can see, a natural barrier that is dominated by the kremlin. An astonishing kremlin, with sugar pink walls and a church with crumbling frescoes where I felt much more emotional than in the overcrowded churches in Moscow. And then a delicious Georgian restaurant, with no pretensions, but good wine and kachapuri, a divine Georgian specialty.
You also shouldn't miss Suzdal, the pearl of the Golden Ring, which has a church with onion domes that look like starry skies and marvellous isbas, each more beautiful than the last.
Finally, no visit to the Golden Ring would be complete without a proper Russian banya. This Russian sauna was unforgettable: in an 80 degree heat you drink boiling tea, to make it hotter, and then go and jump in a hole in the ice to cool down. Unforgettable!