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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Khizi and Goritsa

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Friday, 21 August 2015 | Views [230]

Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi

Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi

TEARS RAN UNABASHEDLY DOWN DAVE’S CHEEKS as the champagne cork popped.  He and Margaret are celebrating their 50th anniversary on this cruise.  Table mates Marianne from Scotland and Aussie Penny shouted them to some bubbly — Connie and I are lucky beneficiaries.  Dave teared up again when Anastasia appeared with a heart-shaped cake.  The rewards of perseverance.  

nn

   5o years

Passengers to the Chernyshevsky have been funneled from several different tour operators, birds of a feather who speak the same language; French, Italian, Chinese, Russian, English in all its varieties, and even Norwegian.  We all have the same itinerary but stick pretty much with our own kind.

nn

    priest and icons

This morning we reached the World Heritage settlement of Kihzi Pogost, the northernmost point on our trip at 62°N latitude up Lake Onega, one of the largest lakes in Europe.  We spent a couple of hours exploring the transplanted and reconstructed medieval Orthodox settlement and its famous Church of the Configuration with its 22 bulbous cupolas.  People would travel from small settlements widely scattered around the area to this religious center by boat in the summer and by sleighs over the frozen lake during the winter to bask in the holiness of its icons.

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    Khizi

In addition to the Church of the Transfiguration there is a typical house/barn, a windmill, the Church of Lazarus and the ubiquitous bathhouse.  The residents had to be self-sufficient, fishing and farming, spinning flax and wool for cloth, and making everything they needed by hand.  They spent the long winter hours in the single room above the barn, in almost total darkness.  It is sobering to remember that nearly 85% of the Russian population lived like this until the break-up of the Soviet Union. 

nn

    Goritsa

Last night we passed through a series of locks on the Baltic-Volga Canal, raising us 80 meters between Lake Onega and White Lake.  Today’s schedule defies all logic; breakfast at seven, vodka tasting at 10:30, land excursion at noon and lunch at 3 PM.  Dinner tonight has a pirate theme, whatever that means.  ARGH!  We back-tracked across the lake overnight, eventually arriving in the walled 15th Century settlement of Goritsy (or Goritsky, or Goritsa — whatever) for more Orthodoxy.  The Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery and the Goritsy Nunnery are very photogenic but Natasha, today's guide, nearly drowned us in minutia about the saints vernerated on the icons.  The day's highlight was ten minutes of song by a trio called White Lake Swans.

 

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    Goritsa

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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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