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On the Volga...Ples, Russia


In the Ivanovo region sits a cozy little town called Ples. Full of bright colors, empty streets and lots of birch trees scattered through the forest areas, where walking paths are constructed at the top of the hill. I spent a few hours here at the end of winter last year, when there was still plenty of snow on the ground and the village was almost completely deserted. Only weak, old pensioners walked the icy streets, trying to maneuver through the slippery sidewalks without falling. Let's briefly explore this town through a few snapshots I took.

1. I met with a local resident and his young daughter. She was only 12 years old, but so bright and friendly, speaking perfect English. The dad and Sasha went off on their own and left us women behind. So we had a nice leisurely stroll at the top of the hill, chatting about life in the small village, American rock music, and boys. :)  I'm always grateful when I can meet with local readers in any of the towns I visit. So, if you see that I'm coming to your region, and have the time to meet, walk and share insights about your area, please don't hesitate to write me!


2. There's a small church at the top of the hill, but I can't remember the name and didn't photograph it because it was boring. White, with no interesting architectural features. It seemed almost invisible, blending in with the powdery white snow beneath and above it. But how I love to walk through the forest, especially in winter time! :)

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3. My local guide. I already told you about her in this post, when we discussed the crazy things her teacher tells students about the USA.  She's smart enough to not believe the nonsense. First, because she has actually met and spoken to Americans, and not only me. Second, she is curious about the world, and reads a lot of English language websites to get diverse opinions and outlooks about world affairs and various cultures. She currently is vacationing in Bulgaria, and we remain in touch via VK and postcards.

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4. The small town was totally empty in the afternoon. I don't know what people do for work in this region, but I noticed no industries or factories anywhere near Ples. Perhaps it's just a place where pensioners go to retire, or Russians have winter or summer vacation homes?


5. In early March, all restaurants and cafes were closed. The yellow church to the right of the white building can be seen almost anywhere in the city, with its classic golden domes.

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6. I can see striking differences between the elderly in Russia and pensioners in the USA. Honestly, I rarely encounter old people in Russia at any restaurants or cafes, and mainly see them walking on the streets, in the outdoor markets, and usually struggling in the process. I closely watched this woman for a long time, concerned about her fate as the sidewalk was a complete sheet of ice. I slipped and fell on my ass twice...well, her fate was what I expected, as you'll see later in the post.


7. In general, Ples is very neat, almost no garbage thrown about, but there are problems with craters in the road, uneven walking paths, and hilly landscapes that make it challenging for the elderly to move about.


8. And how did my travel companion expect me to get out of the passenger side of the car, with such a huge mountain of snow greeting me? Well, it was not his concern, so I pushed the door open, crackling through the ice-covered snow, and carefully slid my way down to the level pavement. The preferable option, of course, is to pull away from the sidewalk, or stop in the empty street to let the passenger out before pulling up to the curb to park...but apparently he had other ideas. :)

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10. I love the houses here, almost all of them are classic wooden architecture with the decorative windows. Every color imaginable, and in winter it creates a vibrant scene when contrasted against the ivory backdrop of the sky and ground.


11. My favorite! I would like to live in such a gingerbread house, with a picket fence and green trees beneath each window. :) But not in Ples, as there is absolutely nothing to do here. No mountains to explore, and the Volga was still frozen in early March.

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12. There are a lot of small art galleries and nice statues spread throughout the village. I imagine the area is much more lively in summer time, when cafes are open, the river is thawed, and natives and visitors stop by for a short visit. I don't know if Ples is a common tourist destination, but I doubt it. It seems most foreigners are spending time only in Moscow, St. Petersburg and perhaps Golden Ring cities like Suzdal and Yaroslavl.

Warning: consuming too much wine can lead to decapitation. :)) This snowman met a tragic ending!


13. I can hardly imagine Russia without snow on the ground, as all prior trips have been during winter months. I guess at some point I should make the effort to visit the country during the summer and compare the landscapes and activity levels during this season. In winter, there is absolutely nothing going on in these villages. Almost no life, no movement, just stillness, and a sort of eerie silence. I find beauty and comfort in such desolation, though I understand it leads most ordinary people into a state of depression and despair.

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14. I can't find the name of this church through English language google searches. Maybe someone can find it, and tell me in the comments so I can read more about the church and its history.

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15. One of the few locals I met on the street. He was a very grumpy, unpleasant old man, but I like his hat. :))

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16. Friendly older woman.


17. So, I patiently watch the old lady struggle down the street with her cane, and knew she would fall because her legs were unsteady the whole time. My prediction came true, and I'm grateful Sasha and our local guide were there to help her up. Otherwise, I don't know how long she would have laid there in such a fragile condition. We spoke to her, and she was on her way the the banya to bathe, as she has no running water in her home.


18. One more view of the city from the top of the hill. It's quite nice, don't you think?


That's it. Not much to say about this small town, except that I liked it. Afterward, we hopped in the car and journeyed forward to Yurievets and Totma, two very different cities, and two very different experiences in these towns as a foreign visitor. But I'll tell you about them in separate posts. :)

What do you think about Ples? I recommend a visit, if you have the time and desire!


( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 5th, 2016 12:24 pm (UTC)
как вам так удаётся фотографировать даже красивые города, чтобы туда совершенно не хотелось приехать? какие-то фильтры на красоту?
Jul. 5th, 2016 12:31 pm (UTC)
Я бы спросил по-другому: как Плес можно так сфотографировать, чтобы туда захотелось приехать?
По-моему, это задача для мастера-фотошопера 80-го уровня.
(no subject) - chuk_and_gek - Jul. 5th, 2016 12:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 12:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - romanovz - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chuk_and_gek - Jul. 5th, 2016 12:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 5th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC)
What do you think about Ples?
This Ples looks more like a viilage not a town.

I recommend a visit, if you have the time and desire!
No, thanks.
I would prefer vacation in Bulgaria like your little female-friend.
Jul. 5th, 2016 12:35 pm (UTC)
Where do you want to visit in Russia, or nowhere? :)
(no subject) - mjol1nir - Jul. 5th, 2016 01:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 01:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mjol1nir - Jul. 5th, 2016 03:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mjol1nir - Jul. 5th, 2016 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mjol1nir - Jul. 5th, 2016 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 5th, 2016 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thousands of people come there in summer season, and that's when the locals make the money for the rest of the year, mostly. Souvenirs, local goods (like smoked fish and stockfish, home-woven shauls, and etc. Tourists come here not only because it is such a picturesque little place but also because Levitan, a famopus landscape peinter, used to live and work here; artists find it "lucky" to spend some time in the town (and they sell their works to the tourists, too). Some rich and important people have summer houses here, and some less rich and less important people try to do the same, in order to get new connections :) - therefore, settling here can cost some money...
Jul. 5th, 2016 12:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, then it explains why there is so many artistic creations and sculptures in the village. I did not know about the artiest named Levitan. Yes, it's very picturesque and colorful! Nice place to visit and spend a day.
Isaac Levitan (1860-1900): - phd_paul_lector - Jul. 5th, 2016 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Isaac Levitan (1860-1900): - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 5th, 2016 01:11 pm (UTC)
Небольшое уточнение. Плёс - это город в Ивановской области, а не в Костромской.
Jul. 5th, 2016 01:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I corrected the text.
Jul. 5th, 2016 01:27 pm (UTC)
The church you wrote is the church of the Resurrection. It was built in 1817, in the classical style in honor of the victory over Napoleon at the place of two wooden churches.
Jul. 5th, 2016 02:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I did not go inside the church, and only viewed it from a distance.
Jul. 5th, 2016 01:29 pm (UTC)
>>Maybe someone can find it, and tell me in the comments so I can read more about the church and its history.

Church Of The Resurrection
Jul. 5th, 2016 02:07 pm (UTC)
Yes! This is the church. Thank you! :)
(no subject) - yarowind - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 5th, 2016 01:31 pm (UTC)
Town vies looks like complitly classical town of the end of 19th c , as I imagine them by pictures
Jul. 5th, 2016 02:09 pm (UTC)
I like villages filled with colorful houses, and not boring apartment buildings, which are are often grey and boring. However, I noticed that in Moscow many of the new high rise residential buildings are more colorful. I think this is a good thing. :)
Jul. 5th, 2016 02:01 pm (UTC)
in THE Ivanovo region?

Что-то все больше сомнений в происхождении носителя, и это помимо кальки и школьных оборотов в тексте.
Jul. 5th, 2016 02:04 pm (UTC)
А как нужно писать?
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - real_marsel - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - myth_neues - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 5th, 2016 02:03 pm (UTC)
I am on the Volga now.
Jul. 5th, 2016 02:06 pm (UTC)
In what city?
(no subject) - real_marsel - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - real_marsel - Jul. 5th, 2016 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 5th, 2016 06:56 pm (UTC)
I've been in Ples several times while I been a child and grew up in Ivanovo. Beautiful place. Btw I heard this girl was in trouble because of befriending you. Isn't it?
Jul. 5th, 2016 07:04 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think she got in trouble. From whom? Her father is also intelligent, kind and walked with me for short periods of time. However, I couldn't communicate with him very well because of language barriers.
(no subject) - kremlin_curant - Jul. 5th, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 5th, 2016 07:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Jul. 5th, 2016 07:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kremlin_curant - Jul. 5th, 2016 08:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 5th, 2016 06:56 pm (UTC)
I doubt many Americans have been there. In some areas of life you are unique

Jul. 5th, 2016 07:03 pm (UTC)
Only "some" areas? :)) I don't really strive to be unique. I am who I am....nothing more, nothing less. :)) I like such places in all countries, far away from the chaos and crowds. Are you a city boy?
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Jul. 5th, 2016 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2016 01:43 am (UTC)
You know what? I like your style. Even dough everything is covered by snow, I feel warmth!
Good luck! God bless you!
Jul. 6th, 2016 01:53 am (UTC)
Thank you! Snow is good. :) Winter is my favorite season!
Jul. 6th, 2016 11:50 pm (UTC)
what a cute town. Must be idyllic in the summer.
The slippery sidewalk situation is concerning.. hope they will get that under control soon.
Jul. 7th, 2016 05:36 pm (UTC)
I don't have hope they will get the slippery sidewalks under control. The poorly maintained/icy walkways exist everywhere in Russian winter, even big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. But this town is really lovely! I think it must be even more charming in summer time. :)
Jul. 8th, 2016 09:37 am (UTC)
I especially watched some of the summer photos links to which were given in one of the first comments to this post and, frankly speaking, your "winter" Ples gave me the same impression as their "summer" one - there are cozy things and depressing ones, and like Soligalich (btw have you seen a comment I left to that post?) Ples reminds me of my childhood...
Jul. 10th, 2016 04:57 pm (UTC)
I don't know why that person felt compelled to post the links to all the summer photos? For me, this city is more beautiful in winter, with the snowy landscapes, and I don't like big crowds of people. So, I prefer my winter pictures honestly. :)
Jul. 21st, 2016 07:13 am (UTC)
A nice town, have never been yet
Jul. 21st, 2016 02:49 pm (UTC)
It is one of my favorite small towns in Russia! :)
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