[ Aug.2017 ] We were in Saint Petersburg for two nights staying on the moored ship, but on the third day at 7 pm, finally we started sailing.
The water of the Neva river was inky because of the soil on the riverbed and the bad weather.
The view around there was all grey.
According to Lev, the guide the day before, they have only 60 – 70 sunny days a year in Saint Petersburg, so many of them are melancholic and the number of the suicides is high.
And the soil of the land is mostly swamps.
There are so many bad conditions, but Peter the Great decided to build a new city here only because it is close to Europe geographically.
When I thought of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the two main cities in Russia, I always felt that Saint Petersburg was prettier and more sophisticated, but Lev said “If you are transferred from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, it definitely means demotion”.
After seeing the grey view of Saint Petersburg moving away, which was beautiful in a way, we attended a cocktail party at 7:15 pm.
They introduced the captain and some of other crew members.
Apparently there were as many as 64 crew including a doctor, musicians and so on, though we saw only a few of them.
Because this trip was from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, we had to go up the river going through 18 locks.
I said river, but in fact we went on not only rivers but also lakes and canals.
For example, on the first night of our sailing, after 10:30 pm we went into Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe, from the Neva River.
At the entrance of the lake, they said that we could see Fortress Oreshek in Shlisselburg, which was originally built in the early 14th century and listed as the Unesco World Heritage, so we went out to the deck to see it.
The fortress was profiled in the complete darkness by the light from our boat.
Lake Ladoga is famous not only because of its size, but because it was the only way to bring foods to Leningrad which was under siege during the second world war.
Our boat only crossed the south part of Lake Ladoga, so when we woke up next morning, we were already on the Svir River.
The riverside was green with colourful wooden houses, which reminded me of the view along the fjord in Norway.
While it was sailing in the morning, we had a lesson of Russian language and songs.
There were many events on the ship everyday.
We learned Russian village dancing too, and we had some lectures about Russian history.
And we had to perform our singing and dancing later in the journey at the event called “Talent Show”.
When we had “Russian Night”, we attended wearing sarafan and rubashka, which we had prepared in London.
There were some music concerts, too.
So we did not get bored at all.