Suzdal, Russia

The Suzdal Cucumber Celebrations

Tiredness in shades of green
Child tired of his participation in the festival's inaugural parade.
record-breaking cucumbers
Winners of the biggest cucumbers contest with their prized fruits.
weeping session
Friends are photographed in costumes depicting the fruit that inspires the festival.
little cucumber surprise
A man in a uniform is photographed next to an embalmed and cucumber bear
Fair on the Kamenka River
View of the small businesses that set up in Suzdal on the occasion of the Cucumber Festival.
Accordion Partners
Women in traditional costumes play traditional music from the region.
pillow fight
Two boys confront each other on a log with the arbitration of a picturesque judge.
in tandem
Cucumber twins try on stilts, two other children wait their turn.
new dose
Seller presents fresh cucumbers ready to eat.
Artistic showcase of a seller of cucumbers in syrup.
multi-cucumber expression
Russian seller displays cucumbers during the respective festival.
Rain dance
Friends dance under a deluge that irrigates Suzdal in the late afternoon.
ready to eat
Festival visitor buys a simple snack of boiled potato and cucumber.
nationalist happiness
Couple celebrates an afternoon well spent in Suzdal, one of the emblematic towns of Russian history.
With summer and warm weather, the Russian city of Suzdal relaxes from its ancient religious orthodoxy. The old town is also famous for having the best cucumbers in the nation. When July arrives, it turns the newly harvested into a real festival.

It's Saturday morning.

We enjoyed another one of the rice porridges that Dona Irina Zakharova had prepared for us for breakfast.

We had been massacring Russian guide Alexey Kravschenko with early awakenings for several days. That morning we left him alone in his seventh sleep. We left on foot.

We had arrived on the day of the Suzdal International Cucumber Festival. The date had long conditioned our itinerary in those parts of Russia. And we were more intrigued than ever by what such an eccentric celebration would turn out to be.

We crossed a long path through a sodden moor, with vegetation up to the neck or higher. When we leave the trail, we approach the city kremlin and the wooden bridge that connects to a street called Pushkarskaya.

Shortly after, we came across a fair installed on the slope that leads to the entrance to the local Museum of Architecture wooden.

Fair on the Kamenka River

View of the small businesses that set up in Suzdal on the occasion of the Cucumber Festival.

Snack stall owners grill and promote shashliks tasty, others, dried and wild fruits, cotton candy, caramelized apples and a myriad of Russian or international gastronomic specialties typical of those popular events.

In addition, small entrepreneurs in the recreational sector impose appealing pastimes.

At the entrance to the museum, old ladies, who had passed by dozens of times, announce the most emblematic souvenirs of Suzdal and its abundant handicrafts, but also cucumbers.

multi-cucumber expression

Russian seller displays cucumbers during the respective festival.

Cucumber's Food Protagonism in Russia

In Russia, common everyday vegetables are onions, cabbage, carrots and cucumbers. Russians consider the latter to be the most nutritious and important. They use them in thousands of dishes and recipes.

They can be consumed in a pickle (or half pickle) with salt, vinegar or eucalyptus leaves, usually accompanied by vodka, pollute (traditional rye vodka) and the like. Also in several soups, such as borsch, the most popular in the country.

Cucumbers are also used in sweets, pastries, in sweetened meat and in the preparation of various liqueur drinks, but not only that.

Whatever the circumstances, Russians always have cucumbers in their town houses or in the dachas, their country houses.


Artistic showcase of a seller of cucumbers in syrup.

They are sold in impressive quantities right up to the entrance to the metro stations and markets of Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

The people of Suzdal, in particular, boast of having the best cucumbers in central Russia. It carries out the most prestigious cucumber festival in the Tsar nation which, like so many others, takes place in the middle of the harvest season, during the summer when the heat is on and the days seem to have no end.

In the Suzdal area, many households earn significant income from growing and selling. Some seriously prosper: “I paid for my two children's school, our house, the car and much more, all with the crops we have.

For us, cucumbers are almost sacred!” So precious that a traditional belief in the area claims that green goblins protect them.

Tiredness in shades of green

Child tired of his participation in the festival's inaugural parade

Rompante entry at the Cucumber Festival

When we entered the event area, we quickly confirmed, at least, its obvious protagonism as well. gastronomic In the event.

Dozens of producers and sellers arranged in two slightly straight and divergent lines, display, in small stalls, cucumbers of different types and sizes, raw or prepared. The fruit appears in sandwiches, soups, salads and complete dishes. Preserved in pickle-style jars or generous marcs.

And, less noticeable, in sweets, jams and chutneys. Other merchants have been displaying posters and postcards, magnets, bracelets and other forms of traditional jewelry, as well as works of art that surprise us with their creativity.

little cucumber surprise

A man in a uniform is photographed next to an embalmed and cucumber bear

We were examining this interior fair when we came face to face with the procession that officially opened the festival.

A philharmonic band plays the dedicated anthem. Hundreds of participants in costumes inspired by or alluding to green cucumbers and holding green fluttering balloons follow it.

Other extras roll an ox cart in a careful country arrangement, featuring a pair of cloth cucumbers sitting back to back on a mound of dry grass.

Nearby, proud citizens of Suzdal wield a Russian and an Italian flag, representing the invited nation.

The band and the chasing parade conquer the gentle slope. At the top, the musicians climb onto a stage and continue the show, now facing an enthusiastic audience that applauds them.

Accordion Partners

Women in traditional costumes play traditional music from the region.

The Inescapable Political Intervention and Thanks to Sponsoring Entities

But, as might be expected, also in Russia – or above all in Russia – events have their political obligations. One of Suzdal's leaders takes the makeshift platform and speaks vigorously. From what he exposes, we only notice the repeated spasibas finals to the entities that supported and made the festival possible.

Soon after, the mayor gives the prominence to a new musical group that is in charge of reanimating the spectators.

By then, there is already fun everywhere, among the museum's churches and traditional houses. We embark on an uncommitted tour to investigate the action.

From an early age, Russian children learn to value the cucumbers they see their parents consume – and help them to eat – in industrial quantities.

in tandem

Cucumber twins try on stilts, two other children wait their turn.

The Children's Entertainment at the Suzdal Cucumber Festival

The festival is also for them a special moment in their young existence. A moment that you live with the maximum intensity possible. We choked on straw when we decided to photograph the battles of some golden kids on a pile of dry hay installed for the purpose.

We also follow pillow fights on a raised bar, in which others perfect their warrior skills, under the mediation of an eccentric lady-referee.

pillow fight

Two boys confront each other on a log with the arbitration of a picturesque judge.

Personalized memories are equally disputed. Adults, children and seniors alike put their faces in humorous panels and incorporate cucumbers flown by bees and butterflies.

Or they visit the costume stands dedicated to the theme and disguise themselves as different variants of the fruit, to the delight of family and friends who see them.

weeping session

Friends are photographed in costumes depicting the fruit that inspires the festival.

We mess with four foreigners who speak English with an Aussie accent. When we explain to them what we do, Miah Gibson is both proud and apprehensive. “Very well, but they don't publish these images in Russia, OK?

I work at the Australian consulate in Moscow. Seriously, diplomatic staff can't see me in these figures.”

In the image of what happened in previous days, the end of the afternoon brings high and dark clouds.

Suzdal's Typical Summer Evening Water Load

Until then, Suzdal had been spared heavy rains but no cucumber grows without water.

The meteorology took care of the irrigation and how. The deluge and the frightening thunderstorm make the enthusiastic public take shelter under the trees with denser canopy, the eaves of churches and houses and mills scattered around there.

Protected by the stage cover, the musicians on duty ignore the elements, intent on livening up the party. It's still hot and stuffy and some of the spectators are already too excited or drunk to care about the wetness.

Rain dance

Friends dance under a deluge that irrigates Suzdal in the late afternoon.

They remain stoic between the stage and the seats in the audience and improvise a strange rain dance with pre-guaranteed results.

Gradually, the downpour fades away. The event's presenters call the audience back to the stage and inaugurate a hefty awards ceremony. There are rewards for a number of gastronomic categories and sweets.

The Inebriated Winners of the Biggest Cucumbers Contest

How do they win the first place in the cucumber eating test, in which they are supposed to bale as much as possible in a given time. The most prominent competition is, however, that of the biggest cucumber.

The winner and second place competitor receive due recognition and gift bags. We caught them going down to the back of the stage.

When we ask them, they pose for us in a good mood and surprisingly at ease. The winner is visibly drunk.

record-breaking cucumbersOnce again, the runner-up is not far behind. After a minute or two of ordinary mime with the huge cucumbers, they allow us to take decent pictures. As a reward for the patience they felt they should recognize us, they still offer us the hyperbolic fruits.

All of a sudden, without any warning, we find ourselves grappling with the two huge triumphant cucumbers and we postpone as much as we can the fate we were about to give them.

We leave the museum space with the festival about to end. On the way home, a puzzled crowd tries to understand what two strangers with such contrasting looks are doing carrying cucumbers from Russian Entroncamento.

One after the other, they point us to their phones and ask if they can photograph us or they photograph us without ever asking, as is supposed to be done when spontaneity in the photos is required. We were not used to role reversals, but along the way, we took the lead with the fun and laughter that the dazzling festival deserved.

When we arrive at the inn, Dona Irina can hardly believe what she sees. Soon, he laughs and laughs at the explanation that Alexey translates for him. We offer you the cucumbers and suggest that you serve them in a salad or make pickles.

new dose

Seller presents fresh cucumbers ready to eat.

Much more knowledgeable about the agriculture and cuisine in question, the lady informs us that, from those exaggerated and worn specimens, she could only use the seeds. We remind her that, at least, the genetics were guaranteed, that if she planted them, she would have a strong chance of winning the grand prize at the next festival.

For a moment, Irina Zakharova ponders the suggestion but leaves us with the impression that such glory intimidates her.

Winter would soon claim Suzdal and cover her in white. With or without Irina, as soon as the snows and ices of that Russian interior gave up, several of its competitive farmers would take up the new challenge.

In a July as sultry and verdant as the one in which Alexey Kravschenko introduced us to Suzdal, the townspeople would once again praise their succulent cucumbers.

Rostov Veliky, Russia

Under the Domes of the Russian Soul

It is one of the oldest and most important medieval cities, founded during the still pagan origins of the nation of the tsars. At the end of the XNUMXth century, incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow, it became an imposing center of orthodox religiosity. Today, only the splendor of kremlin Muscovite trumps the citadel of tranquil and picturesque Rostov Veliky.
Cape Coast, Ghana

The Divine Purification Festival

The story goes that, once, a plague devastated the population of Cape Coast of today Ghana. Only the prayers of the survivors and the cleansing of evil carried out by the gods will have put an end to the scourge. Since then, the natives have returned the blessing of the 77 deities of the traditional Oguaa region with the frenzied Fetu Afahye festival.
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Novgorod, Russia

Mother Russia's Viking Grandmother

For most of the past century, the USSR authorities have omitted part of the origins of the Russian people. But history leaves no room for doubt. Long before the rise and supremacy of the tsars and the soviets, the first Scandinavian settlers founded their mighty nation in Novgorod.
Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Saint Petersburg, Russia

When the Russian Navy Stations in Saint Petersburg

Russia dedicates the last Sunday of July to its naval forces. On that day, a crowd visits large boats moored on the Neva River as alcohol-drenched sailors seize the city.

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
Suzdal, Russia

Thousand Years of Old Fashioned Russia

It was a lavish capital when Moscow was just a rural hamlet. Along the way, it lost political relevance but accumulated the largest concentration of churches, monasteries and convents in the country of the tsars. Today, beneath its countless domes, Suzdal is as orthodox as it is monumental.
Solovetsky Islands, Russia

The Mother Island of the Gulag Archipelago

It hosted one of Russia's most powerful Orthodox religious domains, but Lenin and Stalin turned it into a gulag. With the fall of the USSR, Solovestky regains his peace and spirituality.
Saint Petersburg, Russia

On the track of "Crime and Punishment"

In St. Petersburg, we cannot resist investigating the inspiration for the base characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's most famous novel: his own pities and the miseries of certain fellow citizens.
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Suzdal, Russia

Centuries of Devotion to a Devoted Monk

Euthymius was a fourteenth-century Russian ascetic who gave himself body and soul to God. His faith inspired Suzdal's religiosity. The city's believers worship him as the saint he has become.
Bolshoi Zayatsky, Russia

Mysterious Russian Babylons

A set of prehistoric spiral labyrinths made of stones decorate Bolshoi Zayatsky Island, part of the Solovetsky archipelago. Devoid of explanations as to when they were erected or what it meant, the inhabitants of these northern reaches of Europe call them vavilons.
Bolshoi Solovetsky, Russia

A Celebration of the Russian Autumn of Life

At the edge of the Arctic Ocean, in mid-September, the boreal foliage glows golden. Welcomed by generous cicerones, we praise the new human times of Bolshoi Solovetsky, famous for having hosted the first of the Soviet Gulag prison camps.
Moscow, Russia

The Supreme Fortress of Russia

There were many kremlins built, over time, in the vastness of the country of the tsars. None stands out, as monumental as that of the capital Moscow, a historic center of despotism and arrogance that, from Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin, for better or worse, dictated Russia's destiny.
Kronstadt, Russia

The Autumn of the Russian Island-City of All Crossroads

Founded by Peter the Great, it became the port and naval base protecting Saint Petersburg and northern Greater Russia. In March 1921, it rebelled against the Bolsheviks it had supported during the October Revolution. In this October we're going through, Kronstadt is once again covered by the same exuberant yellow of uncertainty.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
by the shadow
Architecture & Design
Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
good buddhist advice
Ceremonies and Festivities
Chiang Mai, Thailand

300 Wats of Spiritual and Cultural Energy

Thais call every Buddhist temple wat and their northern capital has them in obvious abundance. Delivered to successive events held between shrines, Chiang Mai is never quite disconnected.
Table Mountain view from Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.
Table Mountain, South Africa

At the Adamastor Monster Table

From the earliest times of the Discoveries to the present, Table Mountain has always stood out above the South African immensity South African and the surrounding ocean. The centuries passed and Cape Town expanded at his feet. The Capetonians and the visiting outsiders got used to contemplating, ascending and venerating this imposing and mythical plateau.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Kigurumi Satoko, Hachiman Temple, Ogimashi, Japan
Ogimashi, Japan

An Historical-Virtual Japan

"Higurashi no Naku Koro never” was a highly successful Japanese animation and computer game series. In Ogimashi, Shirakawa-Go village, we live with a group of kigurumi of their characters.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
scarlet summer

Valencia to Xativa, Spain (España)

Across Iberia

Leaving aside the modernity of Valencia, we explore the natural and historical settings that the "community" shares with the Mediterranean. The more we travel, the more its bright life seduces us.

Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Zanzibar, African islands, spices, Tanzania, dhow
Zanzibar, Tanzania

The African Spice Islands

Vasco da Gama opened the Indian Ocean to the Portuguese empire. In the XNUMXth century, the Zanzibar archipelago became the largest producer of cloves and the available spices diversified, as did the people who disputed them.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Tongatapu, Tonga

The Last Polynesian Monarchy

From New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii, no other monarchy has resisted the arrival of European discoverers and modernity. For Tonga, for several decades, the challenge was to resist the monarchy.
Oulu Finland, Passage of Time
Winter White
Oulu, Finland

Oulu: an Ode to Winter

Located high in the northeast of the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is one of Finland's oldest cities and its northern capital. A mere 220km from the Arctic Circle, even in the coldest months it offers a prodigious outdoor life.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal

The Eastern, Somehow Extraterrestrial Madeira Tip

Unusual, with ocher tones and raw earth, Ponta de São Lourenço is often the first sight of Madeira. When we walk through it, we are fascinated, above all, with what the most tropical of the Portuguese islands is not.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
Natural Parks
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
Dominican Republic, Bahia de Las Águilas Beach, Pedernales. Jaragua National Park, Beach
UNESCO World Heritage
Lagoa Oviedo a Bahia de las Águilas, Dominican Republic

In Search of the Immaculate Dominican Beach

Against all odds, one of the most unspoiled Dominican coastlines is also one of the most remote. Discovering the province of Pedernales, we are dazzled by the semi-desert Jaragua National Park and the Caribbean purity of Bahia de las Águilas.
Zorro's mask on display at a dinner at the Pousada Hacienda del Hidalgo, El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico
El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico

Zorro's Cradle

El Fuerte is a colonial city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. In its history, the birth of Don Diego de La Vega will be recorded, it is said that in a mansion in the town. In his fight against the injustices of the Spanish yoke, Don Diego transformed himself into an elusive masked man. In El Fuerte, the legendary “El Zorro” will always take place.
Daytona Beach Portico, most famous beach of the year, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida, United States

The so-called World's Most Famous Beach

If its notoriety comes mainly from NASCAR races, in Daytona Beach, we find a peculiar seaside resort and a vast and compact beach that, in times past, was used for car speed tests.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Tawang, India

The Mystic Valley of Deep Discord

On the northern edge of the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is home to dramatic mountain scenery, ethnic Mompa villages and majestic Buddhist monasteries. Even if Chinese rivals have not passed him since 1962, Beijing look at this domain as part of your Tibet. Accordingly, religiosity and spiritualism there have long shared with a strong militarism.
The Toy Train story
On Rails
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Pachinko Salon, Video Addiction, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Pachinko: The Video Addiction That Depresses Japan

It started as a toy, but the Japanese appetite for profit quickly turned pachinko into a national obsession. Today, there are 30 million Japanese surrendered to these alienating gaming machines.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, streymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

Saksun is one of several stunning small villages in the Faroe Islands that more and more outsiders visit. It is distinguished by the aversion to tourists of its main rural owner, author of repeated antipathies and attacks against the invaders of his land.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.