Saturday, April 27, 2013

Вологда


I am in Вологда right now.
Vologda.
Day 8 in Russia.

It's around 300 miles from Moscow to Vologda (similar dinstance from Seattle to Spokane).
8 miles on the train.

Vologda has been such a beautiful breath of fresh air after Moscow – literally. The air here is pretty fresh and it's only a short walk to the river. Moscow, I loved you but, well, I'm just excited to be in Vologda. I'm excited to be in a city I feel like I can grasp.

Vologda is considered to be a “small town” with it's 300,000 person population.
Yeah.
That's not a small town.
I keep trying to tell them that. Not sure they believe me.
Haines – now that's a small town.
Vologda is a full on city – traffic jams and all.


They're known for their cheese, milk, and their wooden house-decor. How do I describe it? They have intricately carved old details on their houses. It's beautiful. They're old and hand carved... hand carved. Dude.

When I arrived at the Vologda train station, Nikita was there to pick me up. When my plans for Vologda didn't work out, Couchsurfing was there for me. I contacted a woman named Nina. She was busy, but she put me in contact with three of her friends who have since taken pretty good care of me.

Nikita and Olga are... I feel like any words I use won't really do them justice. Sweet? Delightful? Caring? Wonderful? I know I use wonderful but, really, they are! They've been married a little less than a year.

So, while Olga was at pilates, Nikita picked me up and we set off through the maze of Vologda. We weaved between soviet apartments and side streets. We crossed muddy patches on lengths of board and, before I knew it, we were entering into a flat. He made some tea and it wasn't long before Olga showed up. Both speak pretty good English. Fluent? Not quite. But excellent communicators. I've been impressed.


This is the part where I guess I would explain what we did together in the house. Music, jamming, delicious porridge (barley, I think?) with mushrooms and onions, conversation, and playing with Cat.

That night they blew up an air mattress to put on the living room floor, where they would sleep, and I slept on the couch. I think normally they fold out the couch for themselves to sleep on. So, not only were they sharing their couch wiith me, it was like they were sharing their bedroom with me. I was grateful that they were willing to give up some of their personal space so that I could have a place to sleep. Cat continued to play through much of the night.

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