Sunday, October 18, 2015

From Russia With Love, Part 5

Another lovely small town was Uglich.  Here's what the guide book says about Uglich:

Though remains of a 10th-century settlement have been found here, the first record of the town dates to 1148.  In 1584, after Ivan the Terrible's death, his son Dmitry moved to Uglich with his mother and was murdered seven years later, probably on order of the boyar, Boris Gudunov.  The resulting uprising caused great destruction, but the 17th and 18th centuries saw restoration when wonderful architectural buildings were constructed.  Among these are some of the most beautiful churches and monasteries in Russia.

Here is the view when we docked.  This is the Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, where it is said the young prince's body was discovered.  In all the historic stories we heard, it is sad how often a person or whole family was killed to prevent them from claiming the throne, or taking power from an incumbent.  The sight of these cathedrals takes one's breath away, they are so beautiful!

Here is another - the Cathedral of Our Savior's Transfiguration.

And yet another.

In Uglich we were invited to a private home for tea.  We were ushered into the home where a table was set for all of us, with tea, homemade cake, and, of course, homemade vodka.  We toasted the traditional three times.  (I actually downed three shots of vodka - a first for me!)

Our host spoke good English and first he introduced his wife and said they have a 16 year old daughter, who was in school.  They showed us some of her art work, which was good.  He explained they were both jewelers who had worked in the watch factory in Uglich until it closed several years ago, leaving one-third of the town's workers unemployed.  He and his wife found work making silver filagree frames for icons which are used in the restoration of many churches in the area.  They work at home, and in their spare time they are paid by Viking Cruises to host groups such as ours.

The amber-colored liquid in the fancy bottle is homemade vodka.  It must have been pretty smooth for me to get three shots down without choking!  The cake was fresh and spongy and delicious.

I think our host was named Vladimir and I remember his wife's name was Rita, for Margarita.  She stayed quiet and pretty much in the background while he told us about their life.  The paintings on the wall were his.  He said after working on the silver very close up, he liked to paint at arm's length with a long-handled brush.  They were pretty good!  Here is a sample of their work.  It was very intricate and beautifully done.

Before we left home, I had read in the guidebooks that it is customary to give a gift when you visit someone's home, so after much deliberation and Googling, I had bought some marionberry syrup made on Lopez Island and a small package of Jelly Bellies, as I knew we would have a home visit on our tour.  I gave them to Rita as we left, saying the Jelly Bellies were for their daughter Elizabeth.  She seemed pleased and I was glad I had done it.

Here we go into their home, and later, out to the yard, where they had a big garden.  You'll notice the two dish antennas.  They had no running water, but everyone has TV.

They had a big garden in back and canned and made jams and preserves for the rest of the year.

Our ship then went on toward Moscow, with more to see on shore as we got closer to the big city.

I seem to have been remiss in remembering to photograph my meals, but not the desserts, they were so beautiful.  Here are two.  You can see why I couldn't pass them up!

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