Moscow to St. Petersburg - 2011

Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery

Lake Siverskoye

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The ship docked in Kuzino this morning.  We boarded buses and were driven to the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery.  It was founded in 1397 by St.  Cyril, because the Virgin Mary told him in a vision to go to this area and build a monastery.  The outer walls are about 20 feet thick.  It is on Lake Siverskoye, and legend says you will be 10 years younger if you swim in the lake.  We saw many 15th-17th century icons and frescoes in the museum.  There are 11 churches within the monastery walls, but only one has services.  Many Russians were exiled and imprisoned in this monastery over the centuries.  This part of Russia is known as the Lake Region, and it reminded us a lot of Minnesota.  The Russian Santa Claus, known as Father Frost, lives here and children write to him just as they write to Santa back home.  Fishing, including ice fishing, is popular here.  The population is older, mostly retired people, as the young people move to the cities as soon as they can.  The homes are very modest, and most of them have saunas.  After lunch, we had time for a rest, and we watched a little of the movie “War and Peace.” The ship has a Russian movie and a non-Russian movie showing each day on the TVs in our cabins.  Today’s movies are Anastasia and The Phantom of the Opera.  We’ve never had time to watch more than a little bit of the movie.  Late this afternoon we passed another sunken ruin--this time the Church of Krokhino.  Shortly after that we entered White Lake.  It takes about two hours to cross it.  We had Russian tea time at 4:00 and tasted different Russian cakes and pastries.  At 5:00 we attended a lecture about Gorbachov, perestroika (rebuilding) and glosnost (openness).  Olga told us that while Gorbachov is popular outside Russia, the majority of Russians (about 68%) view him very negatively.  Viking does a good job on the lectures.  At 7:00 we had a Russian dinner with a couple from Stillwater MN and another from Salem OR, We had borscht, which was very good.  There is a choice of two entrees each evening and Jay ordered chicken and pork meatloaf and Barbara ate black cod.  Both were excellent.  At 9:30 about 90 passengers went to the Panorama Bar for vodka tasting, or as our Russian expert called it “wodka tasting.” We sampled 6 different Russian vodkas--4 clear and 2 flavored.  The group got a little noisy after about the 3rd shot.  Jay drank his as the Russians do, bottoms up, but Barbara did a little more sipping.  They served bread, olives, capers, tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms and other items with the vodka.  We were shown about 5 different ways to hold the shot glass and made lots of toasts.  The restaurant manager, Andreij Antonov, hosted the event and was very funny.  He told us that when Russians plan a party, they buy 1/2 liter of vodka for each guest.  We all had a good time--Barbara thinks Andreij looks like the actor John Goodman.


Today was very chilly, with highs in the low 50s.  We’re getting farther north and aren’t spending much time out on the decks.

Kirillo-Belosersky Monastery

Kirillo-Belosersky Monastery (poster)

Kirillo-Belosersky Monastery

Lake Siverskoye

Kirillo-Belosersky Monastery

Along the Sheksna River

Goritzy Convent

Krokhino Church

Vodka Tasting