Sadly we had to leave St Petersburg (and you can read my post for how I spent ’48 Hours in St Petersburg’ right here) and set sail, but many wonderful sights were in front of us as we travelled 1,3221 km and through 17 locks in 5 days to take us along the River Volga to Moscow onboard the luxury MS Volga Dream ship with Cox & Kings. Our first stop was Svirstroy, a popular stop for river cruises lying on the banks of the Svir River which connects 2 of Europe’s largest lakes: Onega and Ladoga.
I booked my trip to Russia through Cox and Kings who offer a vast variety of wonderful Russian Itineraries. This series of travel posts will document my adventures travelling down the Volga River with Volga Dream cruise.
Svirstroy’s pretty centre, as seen here, is characterised by authentic wooden kiosk shops, some of which sell traditional Russian handicrafts and artwork (they saw me coming!). This is then set against the stunning riverside views where Svirstroy has truly retained the feel of a typical, unspoilt village in rural Russia making it a great place to wander around and experience a life completely different from that in St Petersburg.
For over 300 years this area was important for shipbuilding. In 1927 a huge hydroelectric station was built in and Svirstroy was established for the workers. Today it is a small village of only 1000 residents and we were privileged to visit a local resident’s home.
During this extremely special experience of having Russian tea and sweet treats with one of the warm and welcoming residents of Svirstroy, we were also given a fascinating insight into Russian life today alongside traditional Russian tea and “pirozhkies” which are their local pastries. These are basically a puff pastry which consists of individual sized baked or fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings with origins in Russia and Ukraine. Some sweet and savoury they are extremely popular with a cup of black tea!
I cannot begin to explain how enriching and memorable my time was in this lovely ladies home truly putting my Russian to the test, and realising how many core special beliefs were shared between us all.
Russian School Visit
After our wonderful Russian afternoon tea, I had the complete and utter joy of watching a unique Russian dance performance at a local school for the arts in the nearby town of Lodeynoe. I’ve longed loved Russian dance so it was such an incredible experience to see this being performed by such talented, young bright souls full of love for their craft.
After setting sail from Svirstroy it was off to the next adventure: Kizhi Island. This spot is one of my absolute faves so I’m so excited to share the next set of photos!
How many of you have also been to this charming town? Do you love Russian Tea as much as me? I really hope you loved the first of my adventures through Rural Russia. Svirstroy was just utterly charming and I’ll never forget