Novgorod, Russian Federation
After spending the late morning and afternoon at the Novgorod kremlin I sat on the banks of the Volkhov River to feast upon my decidely non-vegetarian survival food: Russian black bread, local SPb cheese and a lovely looking Latvian salami stick! I then found the number 7 bus south out of town to a place dedicated to the ancient art of wooden architecture, with a whole village reconstructed using the log cabin style of construction. From the 9th century Novgorod served as the centre for the infant Russian state, influenced greatly by the Viking invaders from the north and northwest. The village was dedicated to the architectural style from the 16th to the 18th centuries. There were agrarian folk houses and amazing churches. And inside women in 16th, 17th or 18th century period dress (depending on the building you were in) completed the picture. They served as caretakers of the exhibits which displayed period family household and stable / barn items. A couple of young local women were in the same bus out as I and we ended up walking around the site at the same time. It turned out that they had just come to use the beautiful wooden buildings as mere backdrops for their portraits. I secretly smiled as they each took turns to position themselves in various poses on the bleached wooden steps or the verdant grass lawns, while the other took their photo. After an hour or so the swamp land that surrounded the site came alive with mosquitoes and as the welts grew large on my neck and shoulders I raced back out to wait for the old bus again to take me back into the town of Novgorod.