On the Volga

July 12, 2014

The State,of California should covet the water in the Volga. It is wide and plenty deep. We have been sailing all day except for a few hour stop in Uglich. We are approaching the statue of Mother Volga and I will need to take a break to se the 236 foot tall statue. It is a kind of Statue of Liberty constructed by a Liberty free regime to celebrate the completion of the Rybinsk Reservoir. It is one of the world’s largest man made lakes.

In the meantime, let me recount today’s experiences. We spent the morning basking in the sun and the warmth of our sub-Arctic voyage. We passed by plenty of campers in tents and fishermen in boats as well as by a variety of River front cabins and Dachas. The scene could have been from any river vacation spot in the US. The water still looks awfully cold but plenty of people were swimming and splashing.

After a boring lecture on the Romanov Dynasty we had lunch and
Related to disembark in Uglich. The lecturer needed some pointers but I refrained. He passed over all of the salacious stuff I would have used. Too bad. We sailed past the bell tower of Kalyazin Church of the Trinity. It is the only part of the church still above water. It was flooded when the Rybinsk Reservoir was filled.

We reached the town of Uglich at 2 and climbed aboard an ancient jitney bus that quickly turned into an oven. We visited the home of a family that show their domicile to cruise visitors. As it is summer, I was comfortable and warm. I just couldn’t stop imagining the house in winter. Visions of Doctor Zhivago and Lara in the icy cottage kept coming to mind. We joined in with a traditional toast of homemade moonshine then another and another. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Our host filled us in on the economic hard times in Uglich after the state watch company that had employed 10,000 of the 40,000 residents shut down in the early 90’s.

Uglich survived as did our hostess and her family who still manage to live well. They are helped with an extensive garden, sauna and 60 liter batches of moonshine. The homes in this town looked like my National Geographic memories and was a nice contrast to Moscow. The town could use a lot of paint but we were there on the anniversary of its founding in 1148 and there was plenty of celebrating.

We visited several small churches including the one built of the site where Ivan the Terrible’s surviving Son was murdered by thugs hired by Boris Godunov of opera fame. Poor nine year old Dimitry had his throat cut but was made a saint and is buried with Dad back in the Kremlin. The town built a church featuring a slice by slice retelling of he murder and the stoning of the perps by the townspeople. It was a bit gruesome.

We were told that Uglich would be great for souvenir shopping. They were right. We found he treasures that we were looking for at realistic prices that were achieved with a minimum of negotiation. We headed back to boat and were offered Russian punch which had to have some active ingredient since we almost slept through dinner.

Dinner was a quiet affair for a change but I am now on the rear deck getting ready to sample some Crepes Suzette. It is 10 and the sun is still well up in the sky and it is warm enough for T-shirts. This is one of the annual 68 frost free days.

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