First Days in the field

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

First Days in the field

We set off just as the intense heat of the Russian summer was abating. 50 friends on horseback joined us for the first part of the ride to Borodino Battlefield where Napoleon fought Kutuzov in 1812. For a battle in which so many soldiers died, the site is extremely peaceful, with fragrant flower-filled meadows and eagles gliding in the sky above. We toured some of the monuments and then set off to the Spaso-Borodinsky monastery to pick up some silver crosses for the journey ahead. Mother Valentina blessed us for the journey and wished us God's speed to Transvlvania where we plan to arrive just under three months from now.

The following morning, we washed in the river Koloch and set off. Quite soon after setting off, we were joined by Dog Friday, who looks set to be with us for the journey. A gift from Mother Valentina. Dog Friday will be a great help to us camping in unknown territories as we travel to Belarussia.

We're travelling slowly at the moment not to wear out the horses and to avoid the heat of the day. People on the road are being extremely kind, providing water and apples for the horses, sausages for Dog Friday, and tea and cake for Andrey and I.

The fields and woods are alive with life with deer darting around, and wild boars eyeing us suspiciously from a distance. As we travel further, we hope to see Elk, Bears, Wolves and Wild Cats.

We're travelling at a good pace of around 20 km per day and tomorrow we expect to reach Gagarin, named after Yuri Gagarin, with its famous market and much more famous son!

For tonight, we're camping next to a lake. The horses are munching their way through oats and grass, Dog Friday is snoozing and Andrey and Slava are catching up on sunbathing, smoking and iphone messages.

It looks as if the weather will hold for the time being. The weather forecast predicts 30 degrees tomorrow.

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