This last Sunday was a fine day for waking up at 6 and going for a quaint jaunt through the Russian tundra on a charming little train. We shouted for joy at the pretty sight of the hard orange plastic train seats. “What fun! They’ll be so comfortable to sleep on,” we exclaimed. We were soon snuggled down on our chilly seats to peacefully slumber away the hours until we reached приозерск, 160 km north of St. Petersburg. “That grinding and jolting of the train is so soothing,’ Houss commented with pleasure, ‘like a lullaby.”
We brightly hopped off of the train refreshed from our naps and gazed in rapture at the beauty surrounding us. The lake! The trees! The snow! The frigid air playfully nipping our cheeks! Here at last was the Real Russia: far from the skyscrapers and traffic, far from the metros and beggars, far from the noise and pollution–THIS is what is good and pure in Russia. This is where people have made a life for themselves amongst the wolves and the elements.“Wow, it’s cold!” we shouted gleefully. We decided to get away from the hustle and bustle of the railway station and find a nice little cafe where we could thaw our numb toes and fill our bellies with some Authentic Russian Cuisine. We didn’t make it as far as a cafe before a graceful little church met our eye. “That sure likes like an interesting and culturally informative place to get warm!”We pressed onward after a hearty lunch and made our way to the touristic lure of the Old Fortress. Such sights we saw along the way! Such laughter we shared! By happy chance we stumbled upon the local market and made our ways through the stalls with wonder and elation. At long last, our journey culminated at the Old Fortress; guarded by the proud remains of Soviet tanks. The site is a photographer’s dream, and we were blessed with bright sunlight and a crisp blue sky.“Surely we haven’t seen EVERYTHING in the town? Surely there is more to see and experience?” But, wait, young explorer! There was yet one more thing to see! With relief pouring from our hearts, we hastened to the next attraction. Quickly! Before the sun goes down and we should be forced to go home! We gazed in awe and wonder at the artistry and craftsmanship of the Mowgli statue adorning the place of honor in a dandy park. Then, with light hearts and chilled bodies we made our way home, satisfied with a day well spent in good company.