7.05.2012

Russia: Uglich and the Volga River

Day 7, I was up and out of the room at 5am. I had been waking up fairly early, between 4:30 and 5 each day and gone running or exploring when the boat was docked in Moscow. Now the boat was sailing along the Volga River so there was no place to go. I grabbed a hot chocolate (there was always tea and coffee on the boat) and watched the sunrise over the Volga River.

There is something amazing about sailing on a river. I had never done it before, but sitting there that morning I kept thinking about Mark Twain. Homeboy knew what he was talking about! There was a quite slowness about the river that seeped into my soul. I felt like we were slipping by a dream as dawn warmed the sky.

Some years ago my Grandmother had wanted to take a river cruise with the girls on the Mississippi River. She mentioned it, and my sisters and Mother said we would love to go. I remember talking about it a few times and ultimatly my Grandmother said she couldn't go because she didn't want to leave her husband to fend for himself. At the time that really made me angry because I didn't like that she was putting someone else's happiness before her own. A few months later she told us she had cancer and within a year she was gone.

Sitting on the deck of the boat that morning I thought about my Grandmother. She would have loved that Mississippi River Cruise. She would have thought everything was a "hoot" and kept up with the Middle Sister at the bar during cocktail hour. There was something charming and elegant about her and at the end of the trip she would have been the queen of the ship.

The filtered light of the dawn and the gentle sound of the river soothed my saddness as I thought of that trip not taken. It made me glad that I was on this trip with my Mom. That we could share this together. It reinforced my commitment to live my life with no regrets. To find the balance between what I need and what I want. To just live.

The ship continued north on the Volga River and we passed the flooded Belfry of Kalyazin (above). This is a sad (typical) story of a lot of towns along the river. This belfry belonged to St. Nicholas Cathedral and was bulit in 1800. In the 1950's, with all the cannals and dams being built in Russia, they decided to flood the city of Kalyazin. Now most of the city is below the water with only the belfry, the highest part of the cathedral marking the city like a gravestone.

In good news, today we had our first Russian language class. Mo (above) was happy about that even though the wait staff in the dining room had been teaching us Russian all along. The class was fun with a few cheat tips. One thing I remember is that when you cheers with someone you say "nice driveway" really fast and it sounds close to the Russian for "to your health and happiness". Nice Driveway!

After lunch we arrived in Uglich. I was a little grumpy about Uglich. It was the first time I felt like Grand Circle had kind of dropped us off at a place to shop. Now don't get me wrong, we had a tour of whatever the church is above but not before we were taken to a place that sold very expensive lacquered boxes and then to a church to hear people sing who sold very expensive CDs and then to this church where they charged you to take pictures. I was playing by the rules that day and stayed with the group but was a little disappointed at the end of our stay in Uglich. It really got me thinking about the way I travel and what works for me. Here is a picture of the "Purple Group" in front of the church.

The meal that night was a "Russian Dinner". You were supposed to wear your best Russian costume if you had one. Mom and I had taken a nap before dinner and got there a little late. We missed the photo shoot but loved the pictures we saw the next morning.

AC and Diana. Here you will see some of the language teachers/ wait staff in the red costumes.

Mo and Pavel.

I don't remember being a huge fan of the Russian Dinner but I was a huge fan of the ice cream!

The day ended with the sun setting on the White Lake. We had left the Volga and passed through a few more rivers and locks before sailing across this lake. As we moved north the sunsets got later and the sunrises were earlier. I think this sunset happened about 11pm. It had been a long day and I was not sure what the next day would bring. Should I play by the rules and stay with the group or set out on my own? What to do, what to do? Guess I will wait and see what day 8 has in store.

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