The cruise left Moscow on Tuesday and arrived in St. Petersburg on Sunday, Mother's Day, with four travel days in between.
We traveled 1000 miles down (or up?) rivers, through 18 locks and canals and across two of Europe's largest lakes. We traversed an interior waterway system that dates back to the 19th century when efforts were first made to link rivers and lakes with canals and locks and create a path to the sea from Moscow. They claim the scope of the construction exceeds that of the construction of the Panama or Suez canals. It wouldn't surprise me if it's true.
We have visited the small town of Uglich and the large city of Yaroslal. We stopped at Goritsy and visited the ancient monastery of Kirillo-Belozersk. It is interesting to compare the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Moscow with the more traditional style of the smaller towns and villages. It is like comparing New York City with the small town of Malta, Montana. There is a certain "flash" to the former and a rugged independence to the latter.
Some things have not changed since our Moscow departure. The people we meet are friendly and the villages are clean an orderly. The recent villages, being further north than Anchorage Alaska, show signs of the harsh winter weather they endure; wood is weathered and country roads need repair from the frost damage.
The land is very flat and forested. That has been a surprise. I expected more topography.
Now we are moored along the banks of St.Petersburg's Neva River surrounded by the bustle of a city of over 4 million. Our water travel time is behind us. The Hermitage awaits.