We both had a good night’s sleep. The noise from the nearby M7 was reduced sufficiently by the trees. It was also cool (7 deg) at night so sleeping was easy. At 8:15 hrs we were on the road for the 180 km to Vladimir. This is the oldest previous capitals of Russia (1157) and is part of the “Golden Ring” of old towns around Moscow. It therefore attracts a lot of tourists. It has again some interesting churches as well as a “Golden Gate”. The most interesting church is the white marble Cathedral of St.Dimtry (1197). The ruling prince used Italian craftsmen to design and build the church. The intricately carved stones on the outside look a lot like the decorations of the Venetian churches we saw in Croatia. The larger Assumption Cathedral (1180) is more built in the traditional Byzantine style of that time and still has a few old frescos.

From Vladimir it is only some 40 km to the village of Suzdal. This town still has a bit of a medieval feeling to it. The sun was shining and we had a lovely stroll through the tourist stalls in front of the old trading arches before we entered the walled enclosure of the Kremlin, which again was built on the banks of a (small) river. The old Nativity of Virgin Cathedral (1220) has lovely blue/golden stared onion shaped domes. Inside there are 2 old brass doors with very detailed engravings. The bell tower and Archbishop’s chambers house a museum that includes the only surviving mid winter baptism tent. This wooden tent was raised over a cross cut into the ice into which people submerged for their baptism.

You notice that we are moving closed to Moscow (200 km) not only are there busloads of tourists but there is also a official campsite with showers and Wi-Fi at which we are staying.