Day 99 – 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 – 8 June

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!

4 Thoughts

  1. HI Erling and Stein
    Its good to see that you are enjoying your travel and the kindness and hospitality of the Russians. I bet they haven’t come across strängers like you before. Enjoy you trip up north!
    Brgs Sture

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very, very interesting report. To arrive by kayak and with basic Russian seems to be the perfect icebreaker. Thank you very much for bringing the readers face to face with the people and culture on the banks of Onega. I have been to Karelen by passenger vessel visiting Kizhy Island. The guides were professional and gave the passengers a brief introduction concerning the area’s history and the old day’s way of living. That was a valuable access to North Western Russian history, but nothing like these report’s mixture of historic and contemporary Karelia. Thank you!


  3. Hi Erling and Stein,
    We are Eugene and Sophia, whom you met on the embankment of Petrozavodsk with a kayak.
    We were glad to meet you!
    We found your blog and read carefully about your journey. We want to wish good luck in such a good deed!
    And we want to warn you – there are bears in those parts, we met one in the Kizhi skerries, crossing a strait not less than a kilometer wide. So they are great swimmers 🙂

    Here is a picture of a bear


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