|July 24th, Sunday, Svirstroy
Today we visit Svirstroy, a small village occupied by the Finns during WWII. The Finns, to my surprise, were allied with Germany during the war, and put many of these people in prison camps during the war. We had a home visit with a babushka and her family in this village. There house was of wood construction without running water and they hauled water from a well. They heated with a wood stove; recall that this is in very northwestern Russia, where they have much snow and temperatures are down in the -30-35 degrees C. We were able to ask her questions about how the collapse of the Soviet system affected their lives. Again we found out that though they all knew people or family members killed or imprisoned during the Soviet times, they also corroborated what we had learned from others, that they enjoyed more financial security then than now. They are grateful for their new found political freedoms, but also have more anxiety about economic survival, jobs, etc.
We enjoyed this little village with its simple houses, and lovely gardens. They all raise lots of potatoes and cold weather crops, but tomatoes usually don't ripen in this short growing season, so they pick them green and pickle them.
Tonight we will reach St Petersburg which will end our sail up the Volga-Baltic waterway, though we'll continue to reside on the boat for the 4 days in this city.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T