Trip Start Jul 24, 2013
Trip End Aug 06, 2013

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Flag of Russia  , Saint Petersburg,
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today once again, we have had marvellous weather. We have just returned to the ship from Kizhi Island, "a World Heritage site" I believe. But first, last night . . .

We went down to the plated dinner last night and we both had Wild Russian Rabbit. It was just OK, but in the end they should have let the rabbit run wild. After dinner there was a Folk Music concert in the lounge and it was quite good. The band consisted of two female singers and and a male who plays something similar to an accordion. They were very passionate about their music. We both had trouble sleeping last night, but while a little tired no worse for wear.

Kizhi Island is an "open air" museum and is officially called State Historical Architecture and Ethnographic Preserve". Now that is a mouthful. It features a number of interesting buildings made in a northern wooden style. The actual construction of most of these buildings have no nails used except to attach decorative pieces and shingles. The major architectural feature here is the Transfiguration Cathedral. It was built in 1714. There are over 30,000 shingles attached to 22 separate Cupolas on 5 tents. The shingles are made from Aspen wood which is weather resistant responds to aging very well and reflects many different colours.

Last night we passed partially through Lake Onega, the second largest fresh water lake in Europe. There are over 1300 islands and the shoreline is mostly pine trees. We will cross it completely today.

We have just returned from a tour to the ship's Bridge. It was quite interesting. Discussions included a description of the various instruments, the dimensions of the ship (I remembered that the ship is 13M high 123 M long and 15M wide and has a draft of 4M) navigating canals, rivers and lakes, crew size (100) and speed of 14 Knots or approx 26 MPH, and in general how the bridge runs. The ship was built in 1980 and refurbished in 2010. MAny questions wer asked and answered in our allotted time frame. The Captain and mates speak little English resulting in one of the crew translating all questions and answers.

We have heard comments from some of the guests concerning the quality of the cruise as compared to other European Cruises. Jill and I don't quite understand this as we knew when we purchased the cruise that we could not expect the same quality as the cruises that go through Germany, France, Holland, Etc. Essentially all of the cruise ships are owned by the Russian government and we believe that a similar standard exists with whomever you choose, here in Russia. The ships look vary similar, and seem to dock at most of the same ports. Anyway, we have not been disappointed so far. There is a Russian name for the ship and AmaWaterways assign it the name AmaKatrina. When we transferred from our hotel to the ship we could not find the AmaKaterina as it is known to other ships and ports and is listed under it sailing schedule as a completely different ship name.

We also went to a lecture on Russian Tea that was held by our Cruise Director Inna. It was quite entertaining, but not particularly educational.
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