Last week I had the pleasure to travel with a group of young students to the countryside to explore the real Russia. We took the night train from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod. It took us around 6 hours to arrive. In the night I barely slept although we had a coupe, which is the best option you can choose from, when traveling on a night train in Russia. In the coupe package everyone received a paper bag with food (peanuts, muesli bar, juice, dry muffin, bottle of water) and a sandwich.
Upon arrival in Nizhny Novgorod we took the minibus (Marschrutka) to Bolshoe Boldino, a small village famous for the residence of Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin. It was a 250 km long ride on bumpy roads that took us 4 hours. On the way you will pass many small villages, you will see locals selling their potatoes on the road side and you will see wasteland, a lots of it.
There is not lot to admire. On the way we stopped to have some breakfast, the food was modest but you will get used to it when traveling across Russia. Two hours later we arrived in Bolshoe Boldino, in the middle of nowhere you suddenly notice a bunch of buses and tourists taking picture of everything.
Upon arrival we checked their church, where a mass was hold. People in Russia take religion very seriously, so should you when visiting their cathedrals and churches. Women always need to cover their hair and sometimes also their feet.
After a nice walk through the park we took a guided excursion through the Pushkin house and the surrounded buildings. This was held in Russian and the lady did not seem very motivated to guide us. The park which surrounds the Pushkin residence is beautiful, especially now during the fall when all the leaves fall down and change color. The nature there is just stunning.
According to my professor, I am probably the only student from Austria who ever visited Bolshoe Boldino. Well, I can understand that, who would drive 4 hours from Nizhny Novgorod to see a residence of a Russian writer? (unless you are a freak into the Russian literature). The way back to Nizhny Novgorod took us 5 hours because of the traffic jams (which are very often). In case you are a fan of Russian literature and you know something about Pushkin, this place might be worth visiting for you.
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