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Pole to Pole

Day 30: Leningrad to Novgorod

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleThe bus is comfortable. There is even air-conditioning, though when I adjust it the ventilator falls apart in my hand, so I have to content myself with opening the window, which is what everyone else has done anyway. Pass a sign reading 'M20. Kiev 1120 kilometres'. Kiev is another city on the thirty degree meridian but on the way is Novgorod, 117 miles from Leningrad down the main road to Moscow. One of Novgorod's eternal claims to fame is that it is twinned with Watford and I have been charged with helping to cement the relationship by taking Novgorod a gift from Watford. (How do these twinnings work? Is there an agency? Maybe they advertised: 'Handsome walled town, icons, gilded onion domes, seeks English town/city with railway connections, pref. handy for Gatwick/ Heathrow'.) Most of the traffic on the single carriageway south consists of noisy, smoke-belching trucks, and the scenery consists of flat fields, interspersed with birch and poplar trees and occasional small settlements, some of which boast brightly painted wooden houses, surrounded by allotments and beds of sunflowers. We've been travelling south for over a month, and I'm tempted to think we must soon be in Mediterranean climes, but in fact we are still at the same latitude as the Shetland Islands.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 30
  • Country/sea: USSR
  • Place: Novgorod
  • Book page no: 66

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