30 July 2008

Novgorod (July 19-20)

Small cathedrals. There were several of them in this one area. This church in particular, several of the young women ran around three times, in order that we might one day have good husbands. As opposed to bad husbands, I guess. Running around it seemed like a good precaution to take.

Bridge in Novgorod. The Kreml is on the other side of the bridge. Also on the other side of the bridge, a very nice beach.

This image kind of struck me. This girl was standing there (I assume she was waiting for someone) and had no idea how close she was to that graffiti.

We spent a good deal of time just walking around this statue, while our tour guide told us about all of the important people in Russian history that are on it. I'm not that into large informational statues; I had a hard time paying attention. Again, if I'd taken more Russian history, I would have gotten more out of it. Well, except for the it being a statue part.

This is an old church in Novgorod. I forget how old. Older than you great great great grandparents' ancestors, probably. You can see that there used to be these large icons painted on the front of the building, but time has worn a lot of it away.

Aaaand, some of us went swimming. Some others built a sandkreml. Then the "Mongols" attacked. In the form of our friend Sasha, mainly, as I recall.

This is the little church in the monastery we visited on our second day in Novgorod. A monk came out and talked to us. He told us about how a church is like a classroom, and how while we are there we are preparing for a large exam, and that while we're busy with our everyday lives, we shouldn't forget about this exam, too. I'm not sure how the other students took it, but I appreciated it: I felt like many of the monasteries and churches we had visited we were treating like tourist spots. It was neat to go see this monastery and feel a stronger connection to the spiritual life that is alive there, without feeling like I'm intruding on anyone's worship. He also told us about the drug rehabilitation program they have at that monastery, while is astronomically more successful than the numbers for the state as a whole. It has occurred to me that I might have told you about this before, without pictures. If so, well, I can't remember.

After the monastery (we're on to Sunday now, btw), we went to this museum-like place, which is a bunch of houses set up to give visitors an idea of how old Russian villages operated. This is an old wooden church. We got to go inside some houses and see what those looked like, and one even had a loom set up, with some roving, and what looking like a drop spindle...

Then, we found this large wooden post, with some ropes attached. It's kind of like tetherball, except instead of hitting one ball around on a string, four people swing around on ropes. It's awesome. It really shows how some of the most fun things in the world have absolutely nothing to do with technology. So, here are some people I know, swinging around and knocking into each other. First, we have Louis, Emma (both Obies), possibly Megan (I can't tell), and Adams.

Jonah, Elya, and Adams.

Me, losing control of my momentum, and Megan. You can't see Erica in this picture, but imagine that I swing toward you, and then knock into her, because her rope is slowing down and mine is so not.

The Russian tutors! Vika, Tatyana, Christina, and Elya. Oh goodness, I hope those names are correct.

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