September 21, 2005

Throughout the night we went up the Neva River and entered the first of several lakes, Lake Lodago.   Russia has an abundance of lakes and rivers, more than I would have imagined.   The Neva River is 46 miles long with an average depth of 33 feet, the deepest being 65 feet.   Lake Ladoga has a surface area of 11,420 square miles.   Our trip across the southern end of this lake took 6 to 7 hours.   We then entered the Svir River.   It is a much longer river at 133 miles with an maximum depth of 29 feet.   Shortly we came to the first of 18 locks.   At this first lock we had a change in water level of 39 feet.

The one thing that stuck me was the pollution in or on the waters.   This is really evident when looking at the sides of the locks.   The black coating on the wall is oil.

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An hour or so from this first lock, we arrived at Mandrogy.   This little town was built and is maintained as a model of an old Russian village community.   The people here, for the most part, are craftsmen producing typical Russian souvenir items.   The buildings were unique and enjoyable to walk among.   There was a vodka museum where there is 2,460 different kinds of vodka on display.   There were a couple available for tasting and the one I tried had a pickle in it.   Later, at a vodka tasting on the boat, I learned that pickles are ideal for eating while drinking vodka and is commonly done in Russia.

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This woman in the first photograph was making a delicate lace.   When I took this photo she got very, very mad.   From her reaction you would have thought that I had the flash right in her face.   It took her the longest time to get her eyes back where she could go back to work.   Maybe doing this type of work the pupils of the eyes enlarge and there was a blinding effect.   I think it was more put-on.

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This photograph above is of our boat.   Once everyone was on board we left for an overnight trip to Kizhi.   We were able to get a glimpse of the rural life of those who live along the banks of this river.   The tankers carrying petroleum products were numerous as well as many boats loaded with birch, pine and aspen logs.   Logging is a huge industry.   Our guide told us that they say in Russia that there is plentiful water and plentiful trees.   Continuing up the Svir River we arrived at the next lock just before sunset.   This time the rise was 60 feet.

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The entertainment on board this boat was not extensive.   No big shows with lots of dancers and singers accompanied by a medium size band.   There were two singers and the young woman had an exceptionally good voice.   Accompanying them was keyboard and guitar.

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Near midnight, we left the Svir River and entered the Onega Lake. It covers an area of about 6,000 square miles making it the second largest lake in Europe.   The island of Kizhi would be our next stop.

Next   —   Kizhi