Monday, June 30, 2014

A Home Visit in Svirstroy

As we were coming into Svirstroy, we passed through another lock. The dams that are built to make the rivers navigable create large lakes. In cases where several rivers flow into the lake, a hydro generating station is installed to use the excess water.

This shows how quickly the water level in the lock drops...riveting movie!

video

No wonder we can’t read anything--the alphabet is so different...

Today we were in the village of Svirstroy, population 1,000. It is 100 miles from St. Petersburg and this would be our last chance for shopping before hitting the big city. We were going to be visiting a village home and learning about their way of life.

A nice bench to sit on...

Our hostess, Luba, waiting at the pier to bring us to her home.

A lot of little shops for a town with such a small population...

The colourful Russian traditional dress...

This little shop looked like a church, complete with gold dome.

Here we are traipsing down the road looking more like a group of refugees. There were seven groups, all visiting different homes.

Luba’s house...there were four flats in the building.

Luba leading the way...this flat belonged to her parents, and when they were growing up there were six of them living in it. The flat had a larger living area, a tiny kitchen, one bedroom and a small bathroom.
In the living area, the table was all set and waiting for us. At the head of the table is Luba's sister, Natalia. We had pastries, and tea which was quite good, considering I'm not a tea drinker.

Natalia was proud to show us a picture of her son and granddaughter...

Jim with Natalia...the ladies didn't speak any English, but they quickly answered any questions we had through Sergey, our translator. They are both pensioners. Luba has a pension of 6000 rubles (less than $200) a month; Natalia was a teacher so her pension is about 8000 rubles (about $225). They pay 5000 rubles a month for utilities, leaving them 9000 rubles to live on. I am sure these home visits really help them financially.

This was the local grocery store that carried everything, including medication and liquor.

This statue isn't of Lenin, although that would have been my guess. It is a statue of Sergei Kirov, who was assassinated in 1934. He was a prominent early Bolshevik leader.

A curious puppy hanging around the shops...

This building had a bit of a wow to it...

Even though we swear we aren’t buying any more art, somehow this watercolor made it back to the ship with us. It’s called Troika, for the three horses drawing a sled, an iconic symbol of Russia.

The next day we would be in St. Petersburg with a busy schedule. We decided we weren't going to the dance party that night, but somehow with all the free flowing wine at dinner, those resolutions went out the window. Marg, Yvonne and I were the first ones up to dance.

Yvonne and Andre...the dearest couple.

Mike and Marg, me and Yvonne...

Sergey asked me to dance. When I saw this picture after, I noticed all the staff people dancing with the guests. I think this was their obligatory "ask someone to dance"...

Yvonne told us she had won a Macarena contest once. While the rest of us tried to remember how to do it, Yvonne just jumped right in...

And to top it off, I had to start a conga line. Oh, there were going to be some big heads tomorrow!

The sun set on another great day...

Tomorrow we will be in St. Petersburg...


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