Yaroslavskiy Station, about to head to the Golden Ring for the first time, day trip!!!

Yaroslavskiy Station, about to head to the Golden Ring for the first time, day trip!!!

Anna sits next to the biggest pimp on the entire train.

Anna sits next to the biggest pimp on the entire train.

We arrive in Sergiyev Posad, and it is BITTERLY cold and rainy.  Really hard to fathom that it's the end of June, basically the middle of summer!!

We arrive in Sergiyev Posad, and it is BITTERLY cold and rainy. Really hard to fathom that it's the end of June, basically the middle of summer!!

Braving the bitter cold, we make our way through an outdoor market of even braver souls.... they must stand out here all day!

Braving the bitter cold, we make our way through an outdoor market of even braver souls.... they must stand out here all day!

the market girl working hard...

the market girl working hard...

We soon find a cozy shopping center in the city of about 125,000 people.  It's about 1 1/2 hours northeast of Moscow by train, and one of the closest places to Moscow on the famed 'Golden Ring'....

We soon find a cozy shopping center in the city of about 125,000 people. It's about 1 1/2 hours northeast of Moscow by train, and one of the closest places to Moscow on the famed 'Golden Ring'....

Ahead of us are the golden and blue domes of the huge walled monastery the Holy Trinity- St. Sergius Lavra, one of the most sacred religious places in Russian Orthodox religion...

Ahead of us are the golden and blue domes of the huge walled monastery the Holy Trinity- St. Sergius Lavra, one of the most sacred religious places in Russian Orthodox religion...

nearing the monastery, we pass a monument to WWII and the Russians killed during the Nazi invasion of Russia.  The monument is filled and covered with flowers...

nearing the monastery, we pass a monument to WWII and the Russians killed during the Nazi invasion of Russia. The monument is filled and covered with flowers...

putting some rain-soaked flowers on the WWII monument... surrounding it are nams of people who were killed by the Nazis.

putting some rain-soaked flowers on the WWII monument... surrounding it are nams of people who were killed by the Nazis.

Inside one of the numerous smaller churches surrounding the monastery...

Inside one of the numerous smaller churches surrounding the monastery...

I can't describe how cold it is... it's low 40's in the middle of the day, with rain and howling wind!!!!  I should've brought my winter jacket!  Hoards of pigeons cuddle along the outer walls of the huge monastery.  Surprisingly (considering th weather), hoards of mostly Asian and Russian tourists are also converging on the walls...

I can't describe how cold it is... it's low 40's in the middle of the day, with rain and howling wind!!!! I should've brought my winter jacket! Hoards of pigeons cuddle along the outer walls of the huge monastery. Surprisingly (considering th weather), hoards of mostly Asian and Russian tourists are also converging on the walls...

Anna, bless her heart, leads me around the monastery.... it's very interesting although most of the grounds are under heavy construction....

Anna, bless her heart, leads me around the monastery.... it's very interesting although most of the grounds are under heavy construction....

snapping forbidden photos inside one of the numerous churches / worship areas inside the monastery complex...

snapping forbidden photos inside one of the numerous churches / worship areas inside the monastery complex...

hello from the monastery... the roofs and wall paintings were incredible!

hello from the monastery... the roofs and wall paintings were incredible!

an old woman disapprovingly photo-bombs Anna as she snaps a forbidden photo inside the church... hey, the dozens of Asians were hilariously 'sneaking' photos on their smart phones while nervously and suspiciously glancing around, why not us??

an old woman disapprovingly photo-bombs Anna as she snaps a forbidden photo inside the church... hey, the dozens of Asians were hilariously 'sneaking' photos on their smart phones while nervously and suspiciously glancing around, why not us??

they had a whole shrine dedicated to this 'Holy Water' receptacle, and lines of people were eagerly filling up any bottles they had with the holy water.  We had a few refreshing glasses ourselves!

they had a whole shrine dedicated to this 'Holy Water' receptacle, and lines of people were eagerly filling up any bottles they had with the holy water. We had a few refreshing glasses ourselves!

now this was something else... a huge line of people were in this ever-so-slowly-moving line, to see the remnants of the most famous Russian saint, who is laid to rest inside... it took about 1 1/2 hours in the bitter cold to finally see the 'remains', which ended up being covered by a green pillow so you couldn't see anything!  But we made the best of it and made many friends (not to mention played chess) while waiting in line!  And still performed the 'ritual' of crossing yourself and kissing the glass which covers the saint's remains...

now this was something else... a huge line of people were in this ever-so-slowly-moving line, to see the remnants of the most famous Russian saint, who is laid to rest inside... it took about 1 1/2 hours in the bitter cold to finally see the 'remains', which ended up being covered by a green pillow so you couldn't see anything! But we made the best of it and made many friends (not to mention played chess) while waiting in line! And still performed the 'ritual' of crossing yourself and kissing the glass which covers the saint's remains...

finally outside the monastery, we explore a bit more of the town before heading back to Moscow...

finally outside the monastery, we explore a bit more of the town before heading back to Moscow...

this little pond sits between the monastery and the toy museum, which sadly was closed when we got there....

this little pond sits between the monastery and the toy museum, which sadly was closed when we got there....

the monastery spires, viewed from a scenic point atop a hill where the toy museum sits....

the monastery spires, viewed from a scenic point atop a hill where the toy museum sits....

a bit of 'downtown' Sergiyev Posad, as we look for a place to eat...

a bit of 'downtown' Sergiyev Posad, as we look for a place to eat...

part of the monastery can be seen in the background...

part of the monastery can be seen in the background...

passing by a Soviet bloc-apartment building, which rises behind the barbed wires of the local prison!

passing by a Soviet bloc-apartment building, which rises behind the barbed wires of the local prison!

after a search through rain and bitter cold, we find an unbelievable (and cheap!!) restaurant selling delicious Russian food!!  Meatballs, fish, and rice, along with some buckwheat soup.... delicious!!!  And, afterwards, time to get out of this cold and back to the comforts of Moscow :)

after a search through rain and bitter cold, we find an unbelievable (and cheap!!) restaurant selling delicious Russian food!! Meatballs, fish, and rice, along with some buckwheat soup.... delicious!!! And, afterwards, time to get out of this cold and back to the comforts of Moscow 🙂

couch-surfing at Oleg's flat, on a weekend trip to Vladimir.... we leave Moscow Friday night after work, arrive around midnight.... slept a little too well!

couch-surfing at Oleg's flat, on a weekend trip to Vladimir.... we leave Moscow Friday night after work, arrive around midnight.... slept a little too well!

finally up and walking exploring Vladimir.... wtf?

finally up and walking exploring Vladimir.... wtf?

'downtown' in the distance

'downtown' in the distance

Soviet monument, with Russian colours in the background.  Always awesome to see!

Soviet monument, with Russian colours in the background. Always awesome to see!

What a gorgeous day!  Temperatures in the low-60's, beautiful fall colours everywhere.... wonderful autumn so far, the polar opposite of last fall, when it was grey, rainy, and bitterly cold every day.

What a gorgeous day! Temperatures in the low-60's, beautiful fall colours everywhere.... wonderful autumn so far, the polar opposite of last fall, when it was grey, rainy, and bitterly cold every day.

views from Vladimir, one of the cities of the famed Golden Ring

views from Vladimir, one of the cities of the famed Golden Ring

a flower-bear!!!

a flower-bear!!!

pigeons on a perch above, after being scared away from the sidewalk by Anna!

pigeons on a perch above, after being scared away from the sidewalk by Anna!

we finally arrive on the main street, just in time for a huge festival and parade!  Oleg told us about this (the occasion is the birthday of Vladimir city, which is over 850 years old), but we didn't expect it to be this nice... very good luck coming at such a nice time!

we finally arrive on the main street, just in time for a huge festival and parade! Oleg told us about this (the occasion is the birthday of Vladimir city, which is over 850 years old), but we didn't expect it to be this nice... very good luck coming at such a nice time!

delicious breakfast-picnic in the park, after buying some sweet pastries and unbelievably good meatball-rolls and coffee at the festival stalls nearby... good times!

delicious breakfast-picnic in the park, after buying some sweet pastries and unbelievably good meatball-rolls and coffee at the festival stalls nearby... good times!

cops hanging by the fountain, preparing for the day's festivities

cops hanging by the fountain, preparing for the day's festivities

about to enter Uspenskiy Sobor, one of the famed churches of Vladimir and the Golden Ring

about to enter Uspenskiy Sobor, one of the famed churches of Vladimir and the Golden Ring

the church sits atop a steep hill that rises from the Klyazma River, and has a plaza with unbelievable views of the surrounding countryside....

the church sits atop a steep hill that rises from the Klyazma River, and has a plaza with unbelievable views of the surrounding countryside....

festival dude setting up for tonight's fireworks extravaganzaaa!

festival dude setting up for tonight's fireworks extravaganzaaa!

... the views are greatly enhanced due to the wonderful Autumn colours, as well as the fact that there is a lot of actual countryside rather than nonstop skyscrapers of the Moscow megalopolis...

... the views are greatly enhanced due to the wonderful Autumn colours, as well as the fact that there is a lot of actual countryside rather than nonstop skyscrapers of the Moscow megalopolis...

a ghost floats by inside the church!!!  whooooooo

a ghost floats by inside the church!!! whooooooo

exploring the Uspenskiy Sobor

exploring the Uspenskiy Sobor

statue of Vladimir himself, atop a hose (obligatory cock and balls and all), atop the hill overlooking the river far below...

statue of Vladimir himself, atop a hose (obligatory cock and balls and all), atop the hill overlooking the river far below...

the amazing and historic church

the amazing and historic church

more modern part of Vladimir, down there is the train station in which we arrived late last night....

more modern part of Vladimir, down there is the train station in which we arrived late last night....

what a beautiful little city!!

what a beautiful little city!!

We return to the main street, just in time for the huge parade!!!  Perfect timing, and we even find a place under 850 years' monument  to watch it!

We return to the main street, just in time for the huge parade!!! Perfect timing, and we even find a place under 850 years' monument to watch it!

seemingly the whole town is out, and in good spirits, watching the parade, which features many people of the city...

seemingly the whole town is out, and in good spirits, watching the parade, which features many people of the city...

Russian flags, balloons galore, and here comes some kind of party vehicle...

Russian flags, balloons galore, and here comes some kind of party vehicle...

confetti fills the air!

confetti fills the air!

local youngsters seem to be having the time of their young lives on the back of this truck...

local youngsters seem to be having the time of their young lives on the back of this truck...

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