Novgorod region attracts travelers with the opportunity to regain or regain spiritual peace, for some it is possible to find peace in monasteries and temples, for some it is easier to achieve this effect in reunion with the wild nature. Escape from the dusty cities loaded with information, separate the tinsel from the really important by means of solitude and reflection, as Boris Grebenshikov sang, "sitting on a beautiful hill".
The first stop on our journey is the city of Gatchina, whose history begins with the Novgorod chronicles. The 18th century brought fashion to English landscape parks here: ancient palaces are reflected in the surface of lake water. Many temples await us on the way to Veliky Novgorod. Take a breath with the view of the waterfall.
Dinner in the historic centre of Gatchina. The interior is filled with books, photos from different years and of course the clock. There is still a long road ahead and a pleasant surprise is the grocery store at the cafe, with the option of ready-made take-away food - "just boil", "just eat".
The city on the bank of the Izhora River - Gatchina. One of the largest and "alive" in the Leningrad Region. Green yards, brick houses of the 60s. Palace and park ensemble. The main attraction - "English Hunting Castle" rises above the Silver Lake. The Signal Tower overlooks the entire city. Take a walk in the huge park, relax in a gazebo overlooking one of the lakes, there are still many interesting things to do.
Tosnensky district is decorated with a laconic building of Benoit. Art church, parquet floor in the hall adds charm. It works, but on schedule.
The highest waterfall in the Leningrad Region (3-4 meters). Peat bogs, magnetizing, draught river water. There are 14 caves in the district. The left bank is considered to be the most touristic one, the entrance with a guide is possible.
A roadside cafe with the right atmosphere. Home kitchen, the choice is not huge, but there is. We decided to stay overnight in a hotel near the village of Chudovo, because this is where the road "from the Varangians to the Greeks" passed. Gradually we plunge into the mysterious calm of the place.
A place to meet the Great and Ancient History. To feel the spirit of the Russian land. Low hills, lakes, wide fields, many monasteries, churches, chapels, all this makes the city an open-air museum. Take a boat trip from the Kremlin walls and back. Rachmaninov's music in the air.
On the left bank of the Volkhov River the Novgorod Kremlin is decorated. A building that has tried its hand at religious, political and cultural role. In addition to the places listed in any guide, you can also find a library and a philharmonic. Beyond the walls of the Kremlin there is a beach with loud seagulls and volleyball nets.
Lunch in a stylish modern café with huge windows and views of the city museum.
Russian art of XVII-XX centuries. Do you want to look at Serov, Aivazovsky, Shishkin? Without crowds of visitors and selfi-sticks? It's available here. Quinji and Vrubel are here, too.
Romance and spirit of Russian wooden architecture. The majority of these valuable constructions were transported from northern regions of Russia. Hills, churches, fresh air, baths, peasant huts.
Near the center of "Novy" Novgorod stands firmly and there is its predecessor - a village on the Volkhov River in the Viking Age. It is easy to imagine how Nicholas Roerich conducted his archaeological excavations here, relaxing overlooking the lake and the Novgorod fortress.
Eastern and European cuisine. Unobtrusive staff. Home atmosphere: upholstered furniture, wicker lamps with their delicate light, large windows in wooden frames.
Before going to the hotel, take a walk along the evening promenade by the Kremlin walls, taking a look at today's impressions. The promenade is decorated with fanciful sculptures and art students train for easels. Calmness in the air. The bells ringing.
At the beginning of the day we will feed Vietnamese pigs and African ostriches. In the middle we will get acquainted with the city of Old Russa, its centuries-old history and atmosphere. The gilded domes of churches in the hills, fast rivers and countryside. The end of the day will be celebrated with dinner at a restaurant on Valday.
At 18 km from Veliky Novgorod, near Lake Ilmen is a house of Vietnamese pigs and African ostriches. Excursions are held on the farm only on Fridays and weekends. Meals for animals can be purchased at the cash desk at the entrance.
Old Russian resort, a place of rest of the capital bohemia. One more cathedral, which a man remade for his needs: German troops - in the stables; after the liberation and the end of the war, the locals - in the cinema club. The cathedral was also a museum of local lore. Spiritual grandeur of the Novgorod region.
Cozy cafe overlooking one of the most famous attractions of Old Russia - the Water Tower. The menu has both standard European cuisine: pizza, pasta, salads, and local fish dishes, all delicious. The portions are large, and the prices are quite low. From 12-00 to 16-00 you can take a complex lunch.
A lurching two-story house in green. Fedor Mikhailovich's family first loved this place as a summer resort, then bought their first home here. Later the writer even got a local confessor. Quiet life in the hilly expanses, the bell ringing. There is an assumption that "Crime and Punishment" was written from the local realities corresponding to that time. Sad and defenseless, but they say that the first version of the museum was opened by Dostoevsky's wife, Anna Grigoryevna.
Sneak through the pine forest, listen to fishermen and their stories about two-meter pike and more scientific monologues about archaeological excavations. Take a nap in the fresh air, regain your strength.
At present, it is difficult to find a church in these ruins. Beautiful view from the hill. The nearest village has interesting pre-revolutionary one-storey buildings.
We have reached the source of power. Valdai, meet us. The variety of the bar will help "digest" all the impressions of the day and prepare for the next. Attentive service staff.
Valdai is rightly considered to be a place of strength, it is loved to organize field training sessions like "energy reset of the body" and other personality transformations. By its location - "the space between the kerb and the kerb". Bell ringing. Transparent water of springs and lakes. You can check into a budget hotel, which is sure to have a Russian bath, offers to take you hunting or fishing. Tie a foam to your backpack and go on your own walking or cycling trip. There are also organized eco-trails, man-made and natural attractions.
Home kitchen. Service is quick. Lunch is given away.
The charm of local history museums of county towns. The cordiality of the people working in these tired buildings. One of the halls of the museum tells the story of the heroes of the past, who chose Valday for the country season. It's easy to imagine the dark Roerich eagerly looking into the scenery. Or Menshikov waving his "New Time" number in a heated argument with one of the local workers.
An ancient museum where vanity is forgotten. The tiny building represents the world history of bells. The guide trains the technique of the bell ringer in a short time.
Protected Nature Reserve. The spirit is captured by the combination of lakes, space, the ringing of bells, which will remain a gentle memory of this area for a long time. Reunite with nature.
The lake is the second deepest in the Novgorod region. Sandy beaches, unique clouds, fluffy pines, rugged shores. A good place for meditation.
The lake and the island passed into the possession of the monastery. It is possible to get there by cruise or sightseeing boat. You can get to the neighboring island (Ant) ford. Age-old pines. Long ago, here was tripled the leisurely life of craftsmen and a rare phenomenon in Russia - book printing.
We're hungry outdoors, and it's time for dinner. Low prices, but the food is good and of high quality. Pleasant place for tired travelers.
We finish the day in the central square - Liberty Square. The natural course of life of local residents. Walking with their pets, couples in love on benches, youth on skateboards and bicycles.
We are smoothly leaving the Novgorod land. Today we are waiting for the "literary and military" barracks and a picnic at their walls. Now we will look at temples and wooden architecture from the side of the Leningrad region.
Before we go back, we'll stop by the local pizza place for food. It opens earlier than most of the cafes in the neighborhood. We'll take take-out food to have a picnic in an unusual place.
A worker's village in the Novgorod region decorates such a temple. Active parish. And on Easter, if you wish, you can ring the bell, remembering the sounds of Valday. In addition, the bell tower offers a beautiful view.
On top of the hill there is a church forgotten by the restorers. Unfortunately, the paintings and the interior have not been preserved. From here you can throw a farewell look at Novgorod.
Perfect place for an outdoor dinner. The sun peeking through the arches of ruins. Casarmen complex. Once a colossal architectural structure. A.K. Tolstoy and A.A. Fet served here.
Six such military settlements are scattered across the Novgorod Oblast. Unfortunately, after the end of the Great Patriotic War, the reconstruction never took place. Even in the form of ruins, combined with nature, leaves a strong impression. And in these barracks served M. Lermontov.
Wooden two-storey house by the river, near the garden. In these provincial museums, it's not so much the influence of this or that writer's work that matters, as the atmosphere and mood that is given inside these little houses. It is interesting to listen to the guide and guess what is embellished, what is obvious fiction and what is true, surprising fact.
The end of our journey in the city of Pushkin. In the warm season is popular among St. Petersburg citizens for its close location and beautiful landscapes. Museum-reserve "Tsarskoe Selo". You can look at wooden architecture, temples and palaces from the side of the Leningrad region.
There are a lot of cafes and restaurants in Pushkin, and we chose at random and did not lose. The atmosphere here is interesting - there is something from both the loft and the interior of the Russian hut. Generous, delicious, fragrant - that's what makes such a rich journey complete.