Day 100. Still Petrozavodsk.
Day 100. Time flies. Only six days to the half way mark.
We started the day with Viktor Dimitrev and his maritime museum.
It is an impressive undertaking. Over the years he has built more than 30 traditional ships, and counting. We saw one which was almost ready to launch and one in its initial stages.
Viktor and his team not only build the ships, they sail them as well. To Siberia. To Svalbard. To Egypt. Participating in the tall ships race. And more.
Their next plan is to sail from Onega and around Scandinavia next year. We got a Russian version of the prospect that we need to get translated to understand the details.
During our tour of the museum an increasing number of journalists from Karelian TV showed up, and eventually they were adequately manned and we were interviewed and did a short “paddle for the press”. If they got anything usable from this, the plan is that we will get a link. Which we may or may not share…
A young couple, Mila and Sergey, were mobilized as interpreters. Both were musicians, studying at the conservatory in Petrozavodsk.
They offered to show us a little of Petrozavodsk in the evening.
We met up as planned, but the evening became more about a conversation across cultures and generations, than about sightseeing.
Throughout our weeks in Russia, our feeling has been; yes this is Europe, but different. Same, same but different. Today we finally found something that was same, same and same: Harry Potter! And Lord of the Rings. Same discussions about books vs. Films, Tolkien vs. Rowling, that we have heard at home. So there’s a point of seamless connection between east and west at least for our children’s generation.
By comparison Tolstoy, Dostojevskij, Bulgakov were quickly dealt with.
We also discussed the ever present topic of the second world War. Sergey’s grandmother had been a prisoner in a Finnish prison camp, and his grandfather part of the soviet forces that liberated them.
Sergey reflected on what he observed as the turning away of the focus of the 9th of May celebrations from Victory and the peace that followed, toward more of a show of military might, and was quite sure his grandparents would not have approved.
One important take away for us is that here in Russia there is an unbroken emotional relationship to the “Great Patriotic War”, through the generations all the way to the generation after us.
Our two days in Petrozavodsk have been very fun and interesting, but we need to move on. So tomorrow we leave Petrozavodsk and head for Kizhi, which we hope to reach Monday evening. Weather Permitting.