Day 99. 8th of June. Petrozavodsk.
Today was a busy day even without any paddling.
First appointment was at 1000 at the university, for an interview and for Anna to show us her small museum of Karelian culture. She heads up that department at the university, and does a dedicated job of preserving and revitalizing Karelian culture.
The University is a cornerstone “enterprise” in Petrozavodsk, with international renown and many foreign students bringing cash. Teaching language is Russian though, so it’s a steep start for a foreigner to study here.
Today was the Karelian Republic’s national day, and on our way from the University we saw a ceremony marking the day by laying red carnations on at the eternal flame commemorating the “Great Patriotic War”.
We have been told the colors in Karelia’s tricolor flag is green for the land, blue for the lakes and red for the blood spilled in the War.
We continued to the “enjoy Russian language school”, where Erling tried a crash course last autumn.
We met with his teacher Alina, who must have been sorely disappointed in the lack of effect of all her hard efforts. Still she put on a brave face.
And one consolation was that the little Russian Erling knows has served us well. It is just enough to make an effort that helps trigger Russian hospitality.
Today a lot of kids were there to study English. They jumped at an opportunity to speak English to two scruffy old men. What are your favorite movie? Book? Do you like bananas? Do you like Harry Potter?
They also took an interest in our paddling trip with Stein drawing and explaining at the whiteboard.
Next we did some shopping, before we had an appointment to show the outdoor group at the University our equipment.
That appointment had to be postponed though, because Stein saw a parachuting competition underway not so far from our hotel and disappeared in full gallop. Stein is a very experienced sky diver and would have loved to jump here as well. But he is a bit late to sign up for the ongoing Karelia Cup.
Eventually we got to the boats and the members of the outdoor group was an interested audience. We unpacks most of the boats and put up the tent.
They have similar equipment, but mostly not the same brands over here.
So it was a good and interesting day and the day went fast. So fast that we will stay for another day.
Tomorrow’s plans are another interview at the maritime museum. Television this time?? And then to visit the museum for ourselves. And then a “colleague” of Erling from Rosneft is in town and we will try to meet up.
But Sunday there will be no mercy!