First Day on the Volga River

Trip Start Sep 18, 2012
Trip End Oct 06, 2012

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MS Tolstoy

Flag of Russian Federation  , Moscow,
Sunday, September 23, 2012

Today is our first day on the MSLev Tolstoy cruising the Volga River. The Volga, widely viewed as the national river of Russia, flows through the western part of the country. It is Europe's longest river, with the length of 2,293 miles and it forms the core of the largest river system in Europe. The largest estuary in Europe, it is the only place inRussia where pelicans, flamingoes,and lotuses, may be found. The Volga freezes for most of its length for three months each year. The Moscow Canal, the Volga-Don Canal, and the Mariinsk Canal systems form navigable waterways connecting Moscow to the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

On our way to our first port of call, Uglich, we pass the famous bell-tower of Saint Nicholas's Cathedral (built in 1800) which rises high above the surface of the Volga River. Uglich is a city which has a population of about 38,700. It was founded in 937 and noted in the chronicles in 1148. Uglich is known for its Chaika watches. Since ancient times Uglich has been proud of its craftsmen, blacksmiths, and jewelers and their traditions are still alive. Chaka watch factory came into existence in 1940. These distinctive enamel-plated watches are very popular.

Uglich is one of the ancient towns of the Upper Volga region. The name of Uglich perhaps derives it's name from the Russian word "ugol" meaning angle or corner; the Volga River makes a sharp angle here - the City of Uglich lies around the bend, around the corner.

The city has survived tremendous devastation from war, siege, and fire and was favored in the 16th century by Ivan the Terrible. Not only did Ivan use Uglich for his campaigns, but he selected the city as the location of his seventh wife's honorary exile from Moscow.

His son Dimitry joined his mother here, only to be brutally murdered. His death is shrouded in mystery; did it happen before Ivan the Terrible's death, after his death,did he have epilepsy, did Ivan kill him,or did he at the age of 8 stab himself during an epileptic fit - who knows!

Today it is slightly overcast and cool. The homes set back from the river banks are large and well kept. The Russians call them summer cottages. There are many people tent camping along the river. We had our first Russian lesson this morning.

We learned some basics:

Spa'siba. Thank you. Good morning. 'Dobraie 'Utra
Yes. Da. Good evening. 'Dobry 'Vecher
No. Niet. Beer. Pica
Expensive. 'doraga. Okay. Tak

We went through the first lock. I think we will be going through about 17 locks.

We had a Safety Drill! Good thing we did because I had no idea how to put on the life jacket.

We docked in Uglich at about 6:30 pm and began our land tour. We went to the Church of Saint Dimitry or known as Church-on-Blood, also known as Church of the Spilled Blood. Most churches do not allow pictures to be taken or do not allow pictures to be taken with a flash or charge you at least 100 rubles if you want to take pictures with or without a flash.

We had a fun evening with our host family :-) !
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DC on

Once again, awesome pictures and a great story with each one. The host family looks to be very warm, friendly and eager to go out of their way for the "travelers".

DC on

The concert came out perfectly on the video. The singing was great!!

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