Day 13: Riga

Today was a relatively slow day as most of it was spent in transit. We were still in St. Petersburg and needed to get to Liepaja for the first annual International Bell Ringing Festival in Liepaja, Latvia, starting the next day. We had a few spare hours in St. Petersburg in the morning, which Peter,…

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Day 11: Saint Petersburg to Pechory

After Matty and Jessica left for the airport in the morning, it was time for Alex, Jeffery, and I to head to Pechory. At the time, here is what I knew about Pechory: it is a five-hour drive from Saint Petersburg; Father Roman was not with us; and we would be relying on a taxi…

Day 10: Arrival in St. Petersburg!

Greetings from Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg! Matty and I are flying back to the states today. (Today is technically Day 11, but the following is a recap of yesterday, Day 10.) We began Day 10 with only five bell ringers since Aaron left us to return to America. We briefly stopped at the Tikhvin…

Day 9: Rostov and a Long Drive

Hello! We've been on a long road trip today. Arrived at 1:15am at our hotel, so this entry is only a sketch for the moment. We travelled from Rostov to Tikhvin today: check out the map! (it includes the leg from yesterday and tomorrow as well) In the morning we had a breakfast and visit…

Day 8: Vladimir, Suzdal, Arrival to Rostov

Today marked our departure from the Danilov Monastery and Moscow to the city of Vladimir, located about three hours to the east. In the city center, we visited the Assumption Cathedral, one of the most ancient cathedrals in Russia dating to the 12th century. The interior features golden decorations, icons, and frescoes. As the frescoes…

Day 7: Kolomenskoye Estate and Our Last Day in Moscow

Hi y’all! Today was our last day in Moscow, and as usual, it’s been pretty awesome. Our day began with a visit to Kolomenskoye. Kolomenskoye was a former royal estate that was inhabited by Russian dukes beginning in the 14th century and later the residence of Russian tsars. We saw some interesting architecture, including the…

Day 6: The Litex Bell Foundry and SPA DAY

Greetings from our last day in Moscow! Will be moving westward bright and early tomorrow, onto to Rostov, Tikhvin, and then St. Petersburg. Either way, we had a nice trip yesterday to the Litex foundry outside of Moscow, where we get to observe real Russian bells being manufactured! After a fairly long drive, we arrived…

Day 5: Ropes, Ladders, and Palaces

Our fifth day in Moscow was par for the course: we saw a mind-blowing assortment of bells and Russian history. We started off the day with a road trip to the St. Lavva Monastery. This was one of my personal favorites from the bells trip in which I participated two years ago. The monastery has a…

Day 4: Journey to the Center of the Russian Orthodox Church

Today we visited St. Sergius Lavra, one of the most important sites of the Russian Orthodox Church and an epicenter of Russian bell ringing. A lavra is a type of monastery "consisting of caves or cells for hermits" (Wikipedia). This lavra, however, consists of a number of ornate churches and belltowers overflowing with visitors and tourists…