We arrive at Yaroslavl at around midnight and anchor just near the port. At 5:30am, I get up to post the Uglich Day and we commence breakfast at 7:00am before disembarking and joining a bus tour of the city. It is hard to take nice photos of any city enshrouded with mist but we take a few walks around various monuments and yes, more churches.
Yaroslavl was founded in the beginning of the 11th century by Kiev Prince Yaroslav, the wise, as a fortress on the right bank of the Volga river at its confluence with the Kotorosi River. There is an old legend about the building of small wooden fortress named after Prince Yaroslav on the place of pagan settlement. It says that Prince Yaroslav was traveling around his lands with a large retinue and came to Bear Corner. The inhabitants of the settlement worshiped bear as a sacred animal. Local people let loose a bear. But the Prince fought the beast and killed it with his battle-axe. This legend explains why the coat of arms of Yaroslavl shows a bear and an axe.
The upswing of the Volga Trade Route, which took place after the disintegrations of the Kievan Russ, favoured the development of the town. In 1218 Yaroslavl became the capital city of the Yaroslavl Principality, and in 1463 the Principality joined the Great Moscow Principality.
By the middle of the 16th century Yaroslavl was transit trade points between Moscow and the countries of the East and the West. There were about 70 businesses in the city. Yaroslavl was also famous for its white wash and leather.
The first female Soviet cosmonaut, Tereshkova Valentina, comes from Yaroslavl.
At one of the museums, a brown bear is on display – she is BIG! We are treated to some bell music played by a guy who was clever but looked totally disinterested. At the toilets in the museum, we find what you never expect to see at a museum – the walls covered with pictures of toilets from around Russia. Lyn takes a liking to the picture above of the elephant enjoying a big piece of meditation. We visit a lacquer museum – the chocolate at 100 rubles is an acceptable price but the lacquer boxes at 300 to 3500 USDs do not make it to the credit card machine.
We are set free to roam the city for 45 minutes and find the local markets in behind a bare looking street frontage. The food hall is most interesting with colorful displays of food and produce. The dried fruit stall has some tasty items, which we purchase for nibbling later. Our ship leaves for tomorrow’s destination a little after mid-day while we are enjoying another Scenic Tours lunch of four courses.
Lyn gets in a little sleep before a session on Scenic Tours Destinations. I am able to enjoy the passing Russian countryside with sunshine, yes sunshine, streaming into our cabin. What a good choice Lyn made in upgrading our accommodation before leaving Melbourne.
This afternoon, we are given a demonstration on cooking Instant Russian Blinis. A Blinis is a pancake and some of you may be interested to try them out. Here’s the recipe. 5 tbls. Flour, 2 and ½ cups milk, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1/3 tsp salt, 2 to 3 tbsp. vegetable oil. Beat eggs, salt and sugar, pour in milk, add flour, and mix. Add vegetable oil, stir again and begin to bake blinis on a preheated pan. Grease the pan with butter before baking the first thin pancake. Wait till air bubbles appear and break and then flip the pancake over. Serve with jam, honey or cream, or as is suggested (this is for Sharon), serve instant blinis hot with red or black caviar or salmon, with butter, sour cream jam for tea or coffee or as an appetizer for vodka.
After another sumptuous evening meal, our Tour Guide and ambassador, dressed in Russian costume, give us a photo/commentary on the things Russian. This is followed by some Russian folk dancing.