Two winter days in Karelia.
Photographs from trip
I planed this trip at the end of summer. My aim was to take days off which I worked during my vacation time. I also want to add my collection with new winter photo of waterfall Kivach. Unfortunately, I had very small budget for such trip. And I visited only Kivach and town Kondopoga during the trip.
I started at early morning of 2nd January. My route was Pushkino - Moscow Ring Road - highway Moscow - St. Petersburg (M10) till Zuevo - Kirishi - Volkhov - Issad - highway St. Petersburg - Murmansk till Girvas. I planed firstly to have a night's lodging at Volkhov and make another part of my way next day. INTERNET gave fifteen hours for that way but I planed to make it in twenty because of winter road and shortage of my winter driving up North. However, holidays and early morning with absence of snow on the roads till Leningrad region let me to reach Volkhov only at 2 p.m. And I only visited my colleague and agreed with him about night's lodging in Volkhov during way back.
I left Volkhov after 3 p.m. and drove along right bank of river Volkhov.And I could see towers of town Staraya Ladoga only from opposite bank. After thirty minutes I was on highway M18 and could run very quickly along it due to the highway was cleaned from snow. Dark had come soon and snow began to fall. Snow became more and more on the road and I had to reduce speed of my car. I didn't drive there more than 80 km/h. Town Lodeynoe Pole I passed in the deep dark. Bridge across river Svir was repaired this time with good asphalt and nice light. And permitted speed was 40km/h instead last year's "10".
I drove along Leningrad region and as Karelia was becoming closer as road was becoming worse. Sometimes it was not made out from snow. I dreamed about another near meeting with Karelia and had got trouble soon. Car skidded on the left - I abruptly turn steering wheel to the right, left accelerator and, as result, rushed out from road. I was lucky, because my little light car couldn't pierce snow bank along the road and got stuck in it. Engine turned off itself and I turned on it after I had calmed down. I get off into deep snow from car and had saw another car which stopped near. First phrase of its driver were: "Do you have a tow-line?" When I answered yes, he said: "No problem, then". Another car stooped near during we clutched tow-line. It was some kind of Russian jeep - UAZ. His driver was conducting the process of pulling my car out. That process ended successfully and my car had stood on the road soon. I thanked my "rescue party" and all we drove. Of course, speed of my car was not very fast then.
After the board of Karelia road was better but I was so afraid to press accelerator. When policemen from road police stopped me and asked what had happened with my car I had seen that front part of my car was in snow. I honestly told him about my accident. Then I had a look under bonnet and find much snow there. It was anywhere there like big iceberg, especially in the right part. I removed part of snow and had drove again. I was at Girvas only after midnight and spent to the road from Volkhov more than nine hours!
There was not sun on the sky and weather was wet and warm next day. I started to waterfall Kivach. There was not long road from Girvas to Kivach but last eight kilometers I had to drive along snow road. Sign "40" (km/h) was at the beginning of that road and another sign said: "Speed due to conditions of road". I met the big tourists' bus and I had to clasp my car to edge of road. I was soon at the cabin with turnpike where cashier sold me ticket (about $0.70) and gave note with rules of behavior into park. Then I drove to the ground with car parking. There were many people here and I had seen even Ded Moroz (Russian Santa Claus ) and his granddaughter Snegurochka who entertained children. A couple of cars arrived during I was parked car and got my camera and another accessories. Then I started to make some photographs of Kivach. Firstly I came to the middle of waterfall. Then I raised to observation ground. Almost all place where I could make photos at summer were sunk at the deep snow. I finished my "photosession" at the beginning of waterfall. Waterfall looks great even at winter. I was only sorry that sun couldn't pierce heavy gray clouds. Waterfall and its snowy banks on my photos would look better in sunlight.
I went to museum where had a chat with custodian and presented one of my Kivach photos to museum. I made photo of custodian who was also seller of souvenirs. When I went to porch I made photo of very black cat. Then I had to go to Girvas because I had felt that I caught a chill. I suppose it was when I jumped around my car after rushing out. I had to drive very careful during the way back because snow was falling. I went to bad after I returned to Girvas. Dream is one of the best medicines against a chill.
Next day I planed to be at Kondopoga at 11 a.m. I want to take some photos there. But my car engine refused to work and I lost about an hour to check ignition and fuel feeding. Then I turn on my engine by towing behind jeep. There was enough 50 meters to do that. I bought bad fuel, it seems. Of course, I was late to Kondopoga.
I don't know why, but when I was at Kondopoga in 1981 I remembered it as very big town. And I was amazed when drove through it in ten minute! I passed the new Ice Palace, which was built by Kondopoga
cellulose-paper industrial complex. Then I drove along Proletarskaya street and stopped at center where was bookshop. Alas, I didn't find there any guidebook of Kondopoga. But then I saw a booklet of Uspenskaya church. I bought it and seller told me how I can reach church and I started there. Firstly I visited railway station. Karelia began for me from that place many years ago!
Way to Uspenskaya church took only twenty minutes. Church stood on the high shore above the lake covered with ice. Sunshine pierced clouds and lighted up opposite part of lake. There was little cabin for custodians behind the fence. I saw the price list on the wall of the cabin. It cost about $0.33 to watch the church inside. Custodian cabin had little lobby and little room with sofa, table, a couple of chairs and old TVset. Also there were two electric heaters. Each custodian had an 24-hour shift and also must cleaned path to church from snow. I bought the ticket and woman leaded me to the church. it was locked by two locks and it was very dark inside when we entered into church. Then custodian opened shutters and let go daylight into church. Icons in church are glued with thin flimsy seven years yet. Though they must be revived four years ago... Also left only a half of panels of "sky" - ceiling of church. Rich American presented 25.000 dollars and another half was given for reviving to Petrozavodsk. Priest serves here only at summer time and his wife painted two new icons. Custodians have very small salary, tourists visit church rarely, authorities didn't also give enough money for maintenance. Industrial complex is situated too close to church and heavy chemical smell often flows here. Water is bad too.
I made some photos of church and lake then had a conversation with custodian. Then I visit my acquaintances in Kondopoga and gave them photos I made at home. We were drink tea and conversed. I started to Girvas at the evening.
Next morning I was at way home. I didn't hurry because I had an agreement to have a night's lodging in Volkhov and also I dream to taste baked bream there. I met a group of cars stopped near town Olonets. Another car which rushed out from road was cause of their stopping. Those cars couldn't pull it from snow and went again soon after I came. They rent one tow-line yet. I conversed with driver and gave him some hot tea from thermos. His friends were driving for him yet. He drove in north direction on the left side of road. His car rush out in south direction and on the right side of road! We worked with my little shovel cleaning snow around his car and I started my way again. North roads demand seriously attitude to themselves at winter!
I was in Volkhov at 7 p.m. It was very dark there at that time. What is the long night at North! I had nice supper in Volkhov and night's lodging, visited place where my colleague works and started home after 10 a.m. There was snow during night and road up to Kirishi district was hard. As a mater of fact there was no road - there was just a rut through the snow. I had to turn car right each time when car arrived from opposite. And right wheels of my car run through the snow. But road in Kirishi district was cleaned and, it seems, salted because only wet asphalt run under wheels. Snowfall had ended and sun looked through clouds sometimes.
I took "on board" woman with her daughter. They had to stand near road about an hour because they were late to their bus. Nobody, exclude me stopped to take them. They were from St. Petersburg and asked me to give them to Kirishi. They were going to take a local train there. Of course, train had come yet when we reached Kirishi! Then I conveyed them to highway Moscow - St. Petersburg in settlement Zuevo. I thought that they had to spend too much time near highway but it was the day of Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve and wonders would have a place then. They were at home after three hours - they made a call to my mobile phone. They met on the road their closest neighbor who drove big lorry. He took them and conveyed just to home!
Then it was too many hitchhikers I took "on board". There was one young tramp who goes through Russia and seeks any work and meal and finds them in villages and churches. There were two women with little baby - they wanted to visit grandma. My last fellow traveller was woman-gipsy who was saying about my health and spoiling during road. I was happy when she left my car.
I had several stops during way home that day. One of them was stop near river Volkhov. It was not frozen and dirt-yellow ice-floes floated under bridge. Blue sky and diffused sunlight gave nice river view. Another stop was in the deep dark when I was passing Tver. I made photo of night town with high TV-tower. Road became very good after I passed Tver and my car run very fast. Last stop was in Khimki - road policeman stopped all traffic and we had seen as Putin's motorcade sweeped over opposite side of highway. President harried to church where was Eve serve. Then I reached Moscow Ring Road, drove along it till Yaroslavl highway and was home soon. There was about 11 p.m. when I came in.