Don't Miss a Trip To Sergiyev Posad

In the summertime, a lot of people head to the country, many of them by car. Based on my personal experience, the most interesting area in the Moscow region is to the northeast -- in the direction of Sergiyev Posad, an early 17th century town about 54 kilometers from Moscow on Yaroslavskoye shosse.

On a one-day road trip to Sergiyev Posad I would recommend that you see the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra. Lavra in Russian means the highest rank of monastery, and this one was once the headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church before it was moved several years ago to the Svyato-Danilov Monastery in Moscow.

You can't miss the lavra, which will be on your right as you enter the town.

There are plenty of parking places around the monastery and you should not have any trouble there, as long as you remember not to leave anything -- clothes, briefcases, bags etc. -- in the car.

On the way, however, it is possible to stop in a small village called Arkhangelskoye, which is a famous late 19th century artists' colony. The village is just off Yaroslavskoye Shosse, about 45 kilometers from Moscow. There are plenty of signs -- just follow them.

If you decide to take such a trip, you should remember the following simple rules:

1. The speed limit in Russia is still 60 kilometers per hour and many traffic police patrol Yaroslavskoye Shosse on the weekend. The most dangerous areas are the first 10 kilometers after the Moscow city limits, in and around the small town of Ivanteyevka -- 20 kilometers from Moscow -- and the area near the Arkhangelskoye turnoff.

2. On weekends, traffic jams are common on Yaroslavskoye Shosse, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The best time to start out is 8:00 a.m.

3. You should have an extra wheel and an air pump with you -- the roads in Sergiyev Posad and the village of Abramtsevo are not very good.

4. There are many small cafes on the way, but I wouldn't recommend them. It's better to pack a lunch -- then you can stop and eat wherever you want.

Have a nice trip.