SARA and MACK in


July 11-26, 2006


Leaving St. Petersburg, we sailed past one fort on an island.

One of the lectures (Russian politics, history, government and economics) on the ship

Another lecture on the Russian Matrioshka


In addition to providing a unique opportunity to behold the rural landscape of Russia, our journey also offers an education of more technical nature: on the process of locking, as our ship will pass through a total of 18 locks on route to MoscowISt. Petersburg.

Standing on the decks of the ship while we are in a lock, it is easy to witness the process for yourself. However the apparent simplicity of the process, which takes only 20-30 minutes to complete, belies its awesome dynamics.

Locks are automatic, but communication is held between onshore operators and crew on board. The ships, of course, must be maneuvered through as there is very little space to get things wrong. The ships are 54.8 feet wide and the locks are 59!

Upon receiving the go-ahead signal from the lock operator, the ship enters the lock, occasionally accompanied by other vessels, depending on their size and the size of the lock. The lock might be thought of as a rather large concrete chamber with doors on each end. Some of them are 66 feet wide and 656 feet long, so more than one vessels can pass through it at a time. The ships are lowered or raised an average of 26-39 feet.

The entrances of the locks, called heads, consist of two gates, each weighing as much as 123 tons. Red light warns that the lock is closed, green light allows ship to enter. Once the ship is completely inside the lock, the gates winches, enclosing the ship within the lock. On the other side of the heads, an additional set of gates, each weighing as much as 175 tons and made of wrought iron, is closed. Electric winches are then again employed, this time to raise special shields from 23 colossal water pipes through which water rushes at the rate of 325 cubic yards per second.

Ship is attached by chains, fastened to a rail and the rail moves up and down to help keep the ship in place and to stop it from knocking against the walls of the chamber. The ship will either rise or fall, depending on its orientation, until it rests at the same level as the upcoming waterway.

To Descend: Gates at "B" lower level, are closed and gates at "A" open, allowing water to flood to level outside. Then gates at "A" are closed. Water is allowed to go through sluices in lower level. When levels in lock and lower level, the ship sails out.

To Ascend: Gates at "B" open, allowing water in the lock and canal to be the same. The boat then enters the lock and the Gates at "B" close. Water level in the lock fills through sluices until it is level with the upper level. Then gates at "A" are opened and the ship sails out.

The first lock


Mandrogui is one of the most popular tourist stops on this cruise. This toy-like village offers all kinds of entertainment: souvenir shops, the Vodka museum, and a little zoo. Step into the village’s artfully decorated handicraft center and you will find artisans in traditional Russian costumes practicing their crafts as they have for centuries. You will be fascinated by the distinctively Russian, homey feel of this lively and colorful village.



The first Russian nesting doll (matrioshka) was born in 1890 in the workshop "Children's Education" situated in Abramtsevo estate new Moscow. The owner of Abramtsevo was Sava Mamontov -- industrialist and a patron of the arts.

The end of the 19thcentury was a period of rapid economic and cultural development in Russia. Mamontov was one of the first to patronize artists who were possessed by the idea of the creation a new Russian style. Many famous. Russian artists worked along with folk craftsmen in Mamontov's workshops.

Once at a traditional Saturday meeting somebody brought a funny Japanese figurine of a good-nature bold head old man Fukuruma. The doll consisted of some other figurines nested one into the other and had 7 figurines altogether. There was a legend that the first doll of such type was made on Honshu Island by an unknown Russian monk. And this type of nesting toys really existed in Russia and was well known before - Russian crafters used the method for making nested Easter eggs.

Russian wooden dolls with smaller dolls within were called matrioshka. In old 7 piece matrioshka "Fukuruma", Russian among peasants the name Matriona or Matriosha was a very popular Japan.Late1890s female name. Scholars say this name has a Latin root "mater" and means "Mother". This name was associated with the image of a mother of a big peasant family who was very healthy and had a portly figure. Soon it became a symbolic name and was used for the brightly painted wooden figurines made in a such way that they when taken apart could reveal smaller dolls fitting inside one another Sergiev Posad was a place where the first nesting doll was made. This old Russian town is located about 45 miles away from Moscow. Arts and crafts flourished in the towns and villages which surrounded the monastery. Wooden toys, known as "Trinity" toys, became particularly popular. According to the legend the first "Trinity" wooden toy was made by the Prior of the Monastery, Sergius Radonezhsky himself. Professional artists made the first painted matrioshka of Sergiev Posad just for fun. That is why these dolls are so expressive and won admiration of adults and children. At first particular attention was paid to faces of matrioshka, clothes were not painted in details. Such dolls depicted different characters and types: peasants, merchants, and noblemen. Sometimes matrioshka portrayed the whole family with numerous children and members of households. Some matrioshkas were devoted to historical themes. The matrioshka of Sergiev Posad consisted of 2 to 24 pieces. The most popular dolls consisted of 3, 8 and 12 pieces. In 1913 a 48-pieces matrioshka made by N. Bulichev was displayed at the Exhibition of Toys in St. Petersburg.


Back to school; we learned how to read and write the Russian language.

The Russian Alphabet

'Sara Harris' in Russian (blue name) has completed the course.


Straddling the Lososinka River where it enters Lake Onega, the city of Petrozavodsk occupies the site of a 17th-century settlement called Olonets, an administrative center of a region known for its iron forging and smithing. Petrozavodsk translates to “Peter’s Factory-town,” as it was created in 1703 as an iron foundry and armaments plant for Peter the Great. Factories were later converted to the manufacture of construction equipment for large-scale civil engineering projects, and by 1940 the city featured 46 major industrial enterprises and a host of educational and research institutes. World War II bombing resulted in the loss of 60% of its buildings, but post-war reconstruction has allowed it to remain as the economic and cultural center it was designed to be. Petrozavodsk does offer the visitor some interesting sites, and a simple walk around the city and along the waterfront allows the visitor to get an authentic glimpse of typical Russian life. The Petrozavodsk Museum of Fine Arts on Kirov Square is its most educational exhibit, and the Geological Museum at the Russian Academy of Sciences houses a rock collection that is interesting enough to attract even non-geologists. There seems to be an endless number of curiosities: from the 1960 statue of the seated figures of Marx and Engels having a little chat on the city’s main street to the statue of Peter the Great tucked back in the trees of the park near the river terminal (displaced to make room for Lenin’s statue in Round Square).

    Peter the Great Monument

A monument of the founder of Soviet Union, Vladimir Ilitch Lenin

Memorial site honoring the Russian soldiers who fought and died against the Nazi occupation


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