A view of the charming Novgorod Kremlin from my balcony:
I've been feeling a bit guilty, because... (well, because I'm good at feeling guilty), but really, because I had been getting pretty down on Moscow and Russia in the last few weeks, which certainly crept into this here blog. My observations have been a bit severe and mean-spirited. But in my defense, an "eyes wide open" stance can be tough here in Russia.
But, Novgorod has saved me (if you'll allow me to dramatize a bit). The town is simply lovely and I've thoroughly enjoyed exploring its history and delving more into aspects of my research that up to now have remained vague or opaque. I plan to write more about all of this next time, including details of my participation in an archaeological dig (!!) and decoding of 800-yr-old documents written on birch bark (!!).
For now, I'm still a bit busy with various things going on here so I'll cut this entry a bit short and leave you with a few teaser photos...
Inside the Novgorod Kremlin: the famous 11th century St. Sophia cathedral and a monument to, uhhh... the Millennium of Russia (thanks Wikipedia!).
...Hey, cool -- this is the same view that's on the 5 Ruble note! (which is about 16 cents; it's no longer in circulation, replaced entirely by a coin, I think).
Here's me digging for buried treasure at the excavation site in Novgorod:
Last, but not least: buried treasure itself -- a letter written on birchbark from the 13th century (or earlier!):