Tuesday, October 15, 2019 5:27 p.m.
Sailing Volga River, #Russia, Viking ship Rurik stateroom
Today we went to Yaroslavl, and it was the first day I’d call cold. Before the tour started, I went into town and saw a statue to Vladimir Lenin. According to one Moscow tour guide, the communist party is still the second most popular party in Russia. So I was unsurprised to find flowers at the base of the statue.
When we met up with our guide, we all walked to The Church of Elijah the Prophet.
Then, we saw the WWII memorial for the many Soviets who lost their lives. According to a 1993 report by the Russian Ministry of Defense, 8.7 Million Soviet service men and women died during WWII (26.6 Million when including civilians, according the a 1993 study by the Russian Academy of Sciences). By comparison, the United States lost 407,316 service men and women, according to a 2010 Congressional Research Report.
Next, we walked to The Church of the Ascension of Christ where we saw a priest ringing the bells.
The tour guide gave us some free time to explore a market. The merchants were very pushy here, and I somehow ended up with a bag of cashews… Next, we went to the governor’s house, which was turned into a museum. Here, we learned about how lacquer boxes are made (hint: they are papier mâché!). I was excited to see a zhar-ptista on one of them. This firebird of folklore is something referenced in Sasha’s story. Isn’t it beautiful?
When we got back on the boat, we had lunch with two couples from Wisconsin, just like us! Next, I went to a history lecture on Russia’s 20th Century. Just as we were sailing out of the Volga, we saw the Monument Mat’ Volga, a monument to Mother Volga.
The water started to get choppy when we entered the Rybinsk Reservoir. I had to take a Dramamine to deal with seasickness. This is exactly why I don’t usually do anything but river cruises.
Later in the evening, before dinner, we went to a special cocktail party just for people who have traveled with Viking before. Here, I met the captain. Apparently, the ship we are on was the first of all Viking cruise ships, and our captain was its first and current captain. Knowing I was in such experienced hands helped me deal with the waves a lot better.
Tomorrow, we go to the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery.