Russia: Svirstroy (or Svir Stroi)

On day 11 we awoke to rain.  Mom was feeling better but AC was down for the count.  This was our last day of sailing as tomorrow we would reach St. Petersburg.

On day 11 we were going to stop in Svirstroy which was a "real village in the Russian north" and have a home visit with tea and pirozhki hosted by a babushka (a babushka is a Russian grandmother or an old Russian woman).  It was grey and raining when the ship stopped in Svirstroy.  I wondered around a bit before we met our babushka for tea.

The tea at the babushkas house was nice but I go back and forth on if I liked it or not.  The reason is that this was part of the Grand Circle itinerary and I feel like it wasn't 100% authentic.  I mean our babushka hosted our Purple Group of 45 (in two shifts) that afternoon.  The other groups were hosted by other babushkas.  These women were paid to host us in their homes.  That is the not authentic part.  The part that was really cool is that we got to ask her (through Konstantin) all kinds of questions.  We asked about her life and how it was to living now versus during Soviet times.  She was very candid and honest with her replies.  One thing she said that stuck with me was that during Soviet times there was a lot of money but no goods, now there are a lot of goods but no money.  She didn't see that much of a difference between the two government structures that shaped her life.  She was charming and even showed us her garden after tea.

Here is Mom chatting with the babushka.

Mom, J-her, Babushka, and Mo's Mom outside the house.

Me and the Babushka.  Can you believe she is 76?!?!?

Some of the Purple Group exploring the garden.

Onboard the ship later that evening we had the Captain's Farewell Cocktail and Dinner as this was our last day sailing.

The Captain and I.  They always called him, "The Smiling Captain". His name was Konstantin too!

Mo and I during cocktail hour.  AC was still sick....  

Dinner was charming as always.  The group of nine of us (Mo and her Mom, AC, Me and my Mom, the friends of Mo's Mom, J-him and J-her, and R and S) all would eat dinner together during the trip.  We called it "Family Dinner".  We were in the middle of "Family Dinner" when the ship went through it's last lock.  I had yet to take a picture of a lock so I excused myself and ran out.

Here is a picture of J-him and Mo at the table for Family Dinner through the window.

Here is the last lock we went through.

When I got back to the table I was just in time for my two desserts!  I was so spoiled on this trip.

Next stop: St. Petersburg!

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