The tiny town of Suzdal was added to our Russian itinerary after it was recommended to us by a well-travelled friend. We were mostly visiting big cities on our trip, so we liked the idea of a few days somewhere quieter! After four weeks in hostels and mostly staying in dorm rooms, we decided to treat ourselves to our own place. Using AirBnB we found a little log cabin just outside the centre which wasn’t that much more expensive than a hostel. Getting to Suzdal was really easy – I believe there is a bus from Moscow, but we took the bus from Vladimir which is 1.5 hours train ride from Moscow. From Vladimir, there are multiple buses throughout the day, leaving on the hour and taking around an 60 mins to reach Suzdal.
When you arrive in Suzdal, the driver stops at the bus station which is 15 minutes walk from the start of the centre. If you stay seated, the driver will come round and ask for extra money if you want to be dropped in the centre. Our cabin was 45 minutes walk from the bus station, so we stayed seated and paid the extra 16p to continue on. We double checked with the driver beforehand, asking ‘city centre?’ and he nodded enthusiastically so we were happy we were going to be heading in the right direction! After driving for just 2 minutes, the driver pulls over and indicates to us – ‘Centre, Centre!’. We jumped up and got off, slightly confused as we actually needed to stay on the bus until it passed through the centre, closer to our cabin. Before the bus drove off, we tried to ask the driver – ‘Do you drive left? Or right??’. We knew if the bus turned right, we would need to stay on it… He just kept waving his arms saying ‘Centre!’, so we thanked him and watched the bus with eagle eyes as it approached the junction. Aaaaand he turned right… dammit!! We were in the centre, with no taxis around and 30 minutes walk away from our cabin. It was a LONG and painful walk with our bags and we worried it would rain at any minute, but at least we got to see some of the sights along the way!
Our AirBnB host’s girlfriend Vera greeted us at the cabin and excitedly showed us around our cute little home for the next two days. She was keen to practice her English, so she walked around pointing at everything, saying what it was, then waiting to see if we nodded or corrected her. Fridge?? Yep! Mecro-Weave? Microwave, yep! Teelee-veshon? ‘Television, yep! She kept cracking up after saying each word, so the game was rather amusing for everyone involved!
We had a big bathroom with a shower, a reception area with a fridge, a small lounge with a TV and dining room table with induction stove, and a bedroom with a bed, sofa bed and wardrobe. It was perfect 🙂
By the time we’d said goodbye to Vera, it was 4pm and the weather had taken a turn so we opted for a chilled evening. We were 5 minutes walk away from a supermarket, so we stocked up with some wine and ingredients to a cook veggie pasta for dinner. It was four weeks to the day since we left the UK, so we figured it was worth celebrating!
SUZDAL DAY TWO
Our second day was pretty full on – Vera had given us a map with tourist trails marked out on it and we decided to attempt to see everything Suzdal has to offer. Heading out in the rain, we spent over 5 hours exploring the many different churches, viewpoints, monasteries and museums!
We also spent an hour in the Museum Of Wooden Architecture & Peasant Life. This open air museum is a reconstructed village created to show what rural life in Russia would have been like hundreds of years ago. The old mills and cottages also have staff members inside who are kitted out in traditional clothing, some undertaking traditional handicrafts. It was fun to walk around inside the different houses, ranging from the poorer peasant houses to those of the richer merchants.
The evening was spent much like the first night; dinner in the cabin whilst finishing the latest series of Orange is the New Black!
It was great to have our own space for a few days and I’d definitely recommend visiting Suzdal if you are planning a trip to Russia – it’s really easy to reach, especially if you are planning on visiting Moscow . We stayed in this AirBnB cabin. Dennis and Vera were great hosts; very welcoming, provided everything we could need, and even offered us two extra days there for free as the weather was crap the whole time! We definitely would have taken them up on the offer had we not got the rest of our trains planned and booked!