(Above: Goritsy Resurrection Convent)
Thursday August 1, 2013
Well I am getting a late start on this post. As I start to write it, I am sitting at the very front part of the ship and we have just gone through a very large lock, actually there are two locks side by side. Enough of that for now as I will try to recall yesterday’s events.
We traversed a substantial portion of of the river and lake system yesterday morning before arriving at our port of call, Goritsy. I usually take a look at the view from our balcony when I first wake up in the morning and today I saw a very different look then the night before. Instead of blue open water we were in a fairly narrow portion of the river, with the banks lined with what we would consider rounded beach stones and the water was the colour of tanned leather. The rocks looked to be almost placed there however, it continued for miles and miles. I believe that this look may have been the result of dredging the channel. (Travel to Goritsy)
As we continued on our way over the course of a couple of hours the water lightened in its colouration and the stones gave way to forest that came right to the bank of the river. We did come upon some portions of the river that appeared to be small lakes followed by what appears to be river, but could be a lake dotted with many, many small and larger islands. We were informed by our Cruise Manager, “Inna” that we were a bit behind schedule because during the night we had to stop traveling because of fog. When in the river system the piloting of the boat is all done manually by the Captain or mates and while the ships have the Russian version of GPS and radar they pass many ships going the opposite way in very close quarters.
The result was we were delayed approx. one hour arriving in Goritsky We disembarked the ship to run a gauntlet of small shops until we got to the place where shuttle buses pick you up. With shuttle buses you cannot leave anything on the bus so we were advised to travel lightly.
After about a a 7K drive over a very bumpy road we arrived at the Monastery of St. Cyril and Museum.. This monastery began its life in 1347 and is essentially a walled fortress that does sit on a very large portion of water.
Our guide informed us that in addition to the high wall defense system,, soldiers would go out on the frozen water of the lake at night and cut large sections of the ice out creating open water that would then lightly freeze resulting in a thin layer of ice. The enemy soldiers would begin their attack and crash through the ice. Remember, a lot of these soldiers wore chain mail protection and would sink to the bottom of the river very quickly.
The monastery underwent serious reconstruction in the 1600s however it now needs a lot of work. Some restoration has been done and what has been completed looks very good. A very friendly cat, from one of the 5 monks who live here wrapped itself around my legs. (Monastery of St. Cyrl)
The museum was very interesting (no pictures allowed, with the lower floor featuring a lot of artifacts from the early years of the Monastery while the second floor housed many priceless icons that have been featured in museums all over the world. We also went into the working church (no photos allowed) and another hall with great acoustics where we heard a 4 man choir sing beautifully.
We returned to the ship and got changed to go to a cocktail party for past Amawaterways’ passengers. We then went to dinner the the two couples who travel together, Charlie and Martha from North Carolina and Melvin and his wife from Nottingham. We completed the evening with a classical piano recital in the Melody lounge that we liked very much.