We took advantage of the camping grounds to update the blog as well as to have a nice hot shower in the morning. We also went back into town to see what was open on a Monday morning. Since Suzdal has several walled in Monasteries there were 2 of them open to visit. It is obvious that money is flowing in since most of them are being renovated. The walls are restored and painted (mostly white) and the churches are redecorated. There are so many monasteries that recruitment of novices must have been a competition. “Come join my order and you get a direct link to the Lord… “ Just like joining a student fraternity. We had some lovely strolls through the river valley and in and around the monasteries.

We followed a small winding road towards the outer ring of Moscow and then drove on it to Sergie Posad. This town has the largest most important monastery (1340) of the country. There were lots of “pilgrims”/visitors and monks everywhere. One of the oldest churches (1420) has only a few windows and is light in the inside primarily by candles. There is a 24/7 service going on and there seem to always be volunteers to do the chanting of the bible text. In the corner is the grave of the Russian patron St. Sergius who help Prins Dmitry beat the Tatar (1380) and as such keep the area Christian. We spent quite some time there listening to the chanting and observing the pilgrims queuing to kiss the grave and ask the priest of his prayers. On the premise there is also a well sprouting holy water.

After this last touristic excursion the serious driving out of Russia started. We continued on the Moscow ring road and took the M9 towards Latvia. After some 492 km we turned in to one of the marked bush camps at Zubcov. It was already getting dark (21:30) but the gateman still opened up the barrier and allowed us to cross the dam and park on the other side of the lake on the waterfront. We however hardly made use of this nice spot because it was cold, wet, windy and dark. Such a pity! Since we had stopped and cooked dinner at the roadside we could straight away relax (= Rudy read a book on his e-reader and Jamaliah play games on her iphone or ipad) before going to bed.