After two busy days we had some more time to sleep on Sunday, as our departure was scheduled for 10:30 AM. However, the whole day was shaping to be as exciting as previous two. We were heading toward Izborsk, a 14th century stronghold. Right now the inner part of the castle is closed due to repair works going on, so we only briefly walked around its walls.
In addition, we went hiking on a short trail through the fields. The nature is really beautiful in this part of Russia. For some reason, it seems to me that it conveys optimistic high-flying spirit, because this is the place where Russian state originated from about 1000 years ago. There is a special place named after Truvor, one of the early rulers of Russia.
Then, after lunch we proceeded to Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery, a very important place in Russian Orthodox culture! This is the only monastery that stayed open through Soviet era. This was partly due to the fact that it was located in Estonia after October Revolution, until Soviet Army invaded Estonia in late 1930s. Then the WWII broke out and the monastery went under control of Nazi forces. They did not close it either. The following Soviet rulers tried to close it, but all of them failed.
I expected to see monks in the monastery, but I only saw hundreds of tourists! I spent about 10 minutes staying in the middle of the main square, and saw just 1 monk far away. Apparently, they do not like to mix with tourists, this is too distracting for monks. Another problem was that only 1 church was open, the others were closed due to construction works, or for some other reasons.
Then we headed back to Pskov, to catch the evening train to Moscow. I arrived to Moscow the next day at 6:30 AM in a rather cheerful mood. This was because on that day I was going to meet with my sister and her family. I have not seen them for more than 5 years! Now I finally had a chance to see my two little nieces, the first time in their lifetime. So we met with my mom and with uncle Sergey at Kursky railway station (my mom arrived from home), and all of us went to the airport to pick up my sister and her family.
Every day of my vacation was different from previous ones, and exciting in its own way. I will keep posting about my vacation!