121014 Vytegra 14 October Sunday

We awake to another very heavy fog and a stationery ship.  If we are to move in a fog, the captain receives an appropriate fine for putting lives at risk, so we stay put.  Our program is altered and we cannot make it to Kizhi, a small island at the western side of Lake Onega.  Other activities planned for the afternoon are moved to the morning.  The visit to the Captains Bridge is interesting as our ship is the most modern ship in Russia and is the first ship registered in the country in 25 years.  Finally, at 10:30am, the fog is lifting and we can start to edge our way westward.

After going through 5 lochs, we call in to the village of Vytegra at 3:30pm.  In some ways, it is very much the outback village of northern Russia.  The town is not expecting a shipload of 90 tourists so there is no coach to meet us to show us the lifestyle of the village.  We walk through the ‘country’ lanes of the village to get a ‘rough’ idea how the people live.  The houses are very basic, and often not painted.  One has a satellite disk attached to a nearby tree. You can tell that winter is intensely cold.  Each house has a large wood stack to take them through coming freezing conditions.  There is evidence of snow damage to the road surface with many potholes.

We wander through the quaint town taking photos.  Most of the leaves have fallen ready for another intense winter.  This enables us to see through the trees where the 15,000 inhabitants reside.  There is an abandoned Russian submarine close by the wharf to view and inspect.

When we get back onboard, the sun is low and is shinning into our suite.   It is very comfortable watching the final of the Ladies tennis match in Linz, followed by the World Cup weightlifting for ladies.  Soon the sun sets, and we are treated to another northern sky as we enter Lake Onega.

One of our ambassadors gives us a 90-minute talk on modern Russian and the effects each leader has had on the country since 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution.  Lenin, the start of the communist party, Stalin, Troski, the second World War, Khrushchev, the second World War, Kosigan, Gorbachev, the drunkard Boris Yeltsin, Putin; all have had marked effects on the country.  Russia has had a tough time in the past negotiating with many other nations.  Despite its forced autonomy, it joins the ideals of the west.  Mention is made of the catastrophic nation debt of over 100 billion.  (I mention to Vadim later that Julia has increased national debt to over 250 billion and he is horrified.)

After another 4-course dinner (I have reduced my meals to a maximum of 3 courses – some can be duplicated, of course, and I’m not saying which one) we enjoy some social time together.  This includes a ‘Liars Party’ and a ‘Mister Cruise’ competition.  We make it into bed again around 11:00pm.

We have had no internet access for over 48 hours and so you are receiving two posts close to each other.

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