The sleeper to Vladimir

Vladimir - our first stop on the Trans-Siberian, Russia's former capital.  Vladimir is a picturesque (in parts) hilltop town with an historic Kremlin surrounded by pine forest.  Snaking up the narrow roads to the top of the town we noticed charming wooden houses dotted through the trees from our old but hard-working volga taxi.  
We arrived in Vladimir in the middle of one of Russia's greatest celebrated weekends - Independance Day.   For a moment I wondered who would Russia need to be independant from exactly? 'From herself, of course!' laughed the receptionist in our guest house.

On this warm Sunday evening, the 12th of June, interspersed with windy and rainy outbursts, we discovered a raucous party on Vladimir's streets - musical performances, DJs, open markets and drunken teenagers and pensioners alike, crawling over monuments, perched on bridges, belly dancing on the main boulevard and enjoying beer while strolling down the street (although we noticed this in Moscow too, it seems to be quite a social thing to do, especially hanging out in groups outside Metro stations doing so).

Reaching the very top of the hill, behind the Assumption Cathedral, we got lucky with an amazing view of the seemingly endless surrounding countryside of forests and rivers, and the massive bridge crossing over the Volga into the city - an absolutely eye-catching structure in the midst of the pine forest! 

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