Start: Viny, Russia
End: Veliky Novgorod, Russia
Elevation Gain: 314ft
Elevation Loss: 467ft
Reading Material:A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II – Gerhard L. Weinberg
Audio Material: This American Life; Nerdist (Jeff Bridges interview)
Erg, today should have been an exciting day. The last major stop before St Petersburg but I finished feeling irritated. I think it was mostly related to riding the motorway the entire day and an especially brutal stretch which had been torn up in preparation for paving but without shoulders. So, I had to ride the main lane getting buzzed by trucks. The riding wasn’t difficult (nearly all downhill) but it was hard to relax. Anyhow….
Got a close up view of the famous marsh and swamplands which surround Veliky Novgorod and kept the Mongols from invading the several times they razed Kievian Rus. While Veliky Novgorod (“Novgorod the Great”) stayed out of foreign hands (most famously thanks to the efforts of Alexander Nevsky who fought off both the Swedes and the Germans) it was routinely captured by other Russian principalities eventually becoming subjugated to Moscow and losing influence during the rise of St Petersburg. Novgorod was occupied by the Nazis during WW2 losing many historic buildings and artifacts. I’ll spend a few days here and then only two more biking days until St Petersburg.