Day 87 – He walked us to the local “magasin” were we bought piroges and ice cream and M bought ice cream and some more vodka – 27 May

Day 87. 27th of May. Siasstroj to Staraya Sviritsa. 49.8 km, 6.5 km km/hr average speed.

As we tried to go to sleep last night the party on the second floor of the cafe decided it was time to turn the disco up to max volume. At least it drowned the sound of the trucks passing on the bridge… In short our makeshift campsite wasn’t the best imaginable, but it was the best available. And just 20 meters to walk to breakfast.

The wind had picked up overnight, about 5 m/s headwind was blowing when we started paddling down the open river at 0920. With almost 50 km to paddle it would be a long day unless the channel shielded us from the wind. Fortunately we were mostly shielded for most of the day.

We decided to make it a long first leg to reach the village Voronovo. It took us about two and a half hours before we pulled up the kayaks close to the pontoon bridge. Several fishermen greeted us at the bridge. The most eager was M. He was visibly drunk and eager to talk. He walked us to the local “magasin” were we bought piroges and ice cream and M bought ice cream and some more vodka.

He talked without stop in Russian for the half hour this took, never giving up on a miraculous improvement in our Russian. M was nothing but friendly. But we still felt this was complicated terrain. It takes so little for some miscommunication to be interpreted as disrespectful, and with the inhibitions of one party severely impaired, things can escalate quickly.

We got back to the bridge and the two “bridge watchers” offered us to sit at their out door table for lunch. They seemed to have easy days. Presumably waiting to open the bridge for the legendary but still unseen St Petersburg boat. As it was getting time to leave M. came back and begged us to stay just another five minutes for dialogue. Meaning his Russian monologue. Apparently the vodka bought at the “magasin” had been consumed.

Now it was an advantage to speak a language almost no one understand a word of: Norwegian. Stein led the way to the boats while Erling kept the “dialogue” going. The bridge watchers also helped defuse any friction. So we got in the boats without any incident, and bid an amicable farewell to M. and the fishermen on the bridge.

Note to self: Be a little aware on weekends. Note to self number two: This was the one and only incident of this kind after two weeks in Russia.

We paddled on for about three hours to reach Zagubye. By the looks of it a small agricultural village with cows roaming the streets, but with an asphalt road connection to the outside. The first asphalt road we have seen for some time.

After a short break we were ready for our last leg on the Ladoga channel. At about 1930 we were out in the Svir River and shortly before 2000 we literally docked at the hotel.

The impressive Ladoga channel has come to an end. We’ll stay for two nights and have a rest day tomorrow, before we start up the river Svir (and later to Petrozavodsk).

Day 86 was updated with photos this morning, and the last photos beeing uploaded just now.

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