Happy New Year, dear readers! At the request of my reader Irina – a little about Karelia. Where can you have a good and high-quality rest in Karelia? What to do? And so on… We will talk about Russian winter rituals, and first of all – about ice fishing.
According to the statistics of the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, most Russians still prefer to escape in winter (for example, on New Year’s Eve) somewhere where it is hot. Away from the dank metropolis everyday life. To the sun, sea, palm trees, coconut milk and tropical fruits. At the same time, the popularity of such a “winter” holiday among wealthy people has naturally declined in recent years – they were the first to try a winter getaway and realized that there is nothing more senseless than the new year in a T-shirt and shorts on the veranda of a hotel villa on the ocean. In warm regions, the atmosphere of a winter holiday is simply impossible, there is no New Year’s entourage, which is embedded in the genetic memory of any Russian person – there is no frost, snow, a fully decorated Christmas tree, and even, as a rule, there is no president’s televised address, which is imperceptible (because we actually we never listen to what he says there, but quickly think of something to think of) would turn into a chiming clock. Wealthy people began to go to ski resorts in Europe. But there was also something wrong. Indeed, what kind of winter can it be in France or Switzerland? All this is nonsense. The real Russian winter is only in Russia!
Therefore, now all these apocryphal wanderings in search of a better place to celebrate New Year’s Eve are gradually ending. Firstly, because decent hotels appeared in the Russian outback (although, alas, there are still few of them), and, secondly, people finally began to understand that real winter, the one that Pushkin and Vyazemsky called nothing else as a “sorceress”, it happens only in Russia. Russian winter is such a strong and effective (albeit very ancient) myth. This myth is described in detail in Russian folk tales, as well as in Russian poetry. And this myth undoubtedly lives and acts in the souls of the Russian people. Russian winter is not even a season. And it’s not climate. What is it? I will answer this: it is a metaphysical state of nature, a state between life and death, between two worlds. Shaman state. In the icy stillness, real witchcraft is manifested.
Bewitched, the forest stands –
And under the snowy fringe,
He shines with a wonderful life.
But enough metaphysics. I think I have explained enough now why I did not go to Courchevel this year. And I went to Karelia.
Imagine an ice-covered lake and a snow-covered spruce forest. There is a ringing silence all around, which suddenly, quietly rustling, is broken by a squirrel jumping through the trees. You hold out your hand to her with a piece of bread, and she comes down to you without any fear. The lake is called Onega. The forest stands not far from the town with the brutal name Medvezhyegorsk, and if you take it more broadly, then this is the Republic of Karelia, a mecca for fishermen, artists and just lovers of Russian nature. In winter, fans of the Northern Lights, snowmobiles and snowshoes also join them. And, importantly, there are absolutely no mosquitoes here in winter!
Someday this must be experienced. In winter – a real Russian winter … Frost, from which it is no longer cold, skates sliding on a frozen lake, steam from the mouth, snowballs, spruce aromas. Sauna in a black way with indispensable diving into the snow. Miraculous patterns on a frozen window. And after a good hunt in a snowy forest, long conversations over a cigar and cognac (I took a bottle of Otard with me) by a warm fireplace.
150 km from Petrozavodsk, near Medvezhyegorsk, there is country club “Malaya Medvezhka”. The present Place of power! On the territory of the club there are hotels “Medvezhka” and “Zaimka”, as well as six comfortable cottages made of Karelian pine, lined with healing natural stone – shungite. The cottages can accommodate up to eight people (each) to use the sauna, pools with hydromassage (artesian water), mini-gyms, living rooms with a fireplace and other amenities located in them. And all this with views of Lake Onega and the forest. Everything is quite simple, wooden and somewhat lurid, very rustic atmosphere, eco-friendly. In addition, on the very shore of the lake there is a Russian wood-burning sauna – the same one, “in a black way”. The club also has a cafe-bar where native Russian and Karelian dishes are cooked, for example, bear meat “Taiga-style”, with lingonberries and nuts. It is worth adding that there is Wi-Fi on the territory of Malaya Medvezhka, so you can safely take a laptop with you.
The main entertainment here is ice fishing. It looks like this: you rent a snowmobile or an airboat (if there are many of you) and, together with an instructor, ride it on the ice of Lake Onega. You reach the place, make a hole and almost immediately – peck. Perch or pike – it does not matter, because in such fishing the process itself is more important than the catch. Vodka, snacks, concentrated meditation over the hole – all this, of course, is a whole ritual. By the way, you can also go fishing on the White Sea, which is covered with ice for about six months of the year. It looks amazing in this state: such an endless snowy desert, sparkling with a myriad of sparks, along which you can race on a snowmobile for a long, long time, breathing in the fresh sea air and enjoying complete freedom. And then catch a large marine fish.
Another theme that I really like here is the variety of skiing opportunities. There are both classic skiing and mountain skiing. There are 4 ski slopes within a 15-minute drive from the club. For lovers of extreme sports – a snowboard (there is a downhill track, 400 m, with two drops and springboards), for children – a gentle slope. Or you can just wander through the snowy forest on snowshoes.
You can get here on the highway M-18 St. Petersburg – Murmansk (560 km) to Medvezhyegorsk, then drive through the whole city along the main road in the direction of the city of Pudozh, and then to the right to the lake. And… you still have a chance to catch a real Russian winter. This beauty is now in her most perfect, best form. Share a hello!