The soul of Karelia, or where you can sail on the “Frigate” from Petrozavodsk …

Luxury Travel Tips

In any of my journeys, I seek the Soul of the Place. But since I went to Karelia not to rest, but to work (we organized an Odgers Berndtson corporate party on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the company), it was almost impossible to feel the soul of Karelia while at work.

Only a fleeting glance caught and hid in the heart pieces of the Karelian mosaic: the grass reddish from iron in the Marcial waters, the inukshuk pyramids on the Kivach waterfall, snags and boulders in which the silhouettes of animals were read, the ice that had not yet melted on the dormant Girvas volcano, a girl and a young man in skins that seem to have descended from the pages of Kalevala to Mount Sampo or the roof of a mill that grinds the happiness of the Karelians, the water of Onega, Suna and Shuya changing from gray to silver and from blue to blue, features of all shades of orange in local sunsets, silver of the morning and gold evenings, and marvelous fogs creeping from evening to morning …

Our choice fell on the four-star Fregat Hotel located in the building of the former river station on the shores of Lake Onega, one of the finalists of the Russian Hospitality Awards in the Best Mice Hotel 2019 category.

Rooms of various categories, each of which is made in a modern original design, multifunctional halls for holding ceremonial and business events, a fitness room.

And, of course, it is worth noting separately the fish restaurant with a large assortment of the freshest local fish on the menu, a panoramic view of Lake Onega and a summer veranda, where it is especially pleasant to see off the sun.

To get to know Karelian cuisine better (and the main Karelian ingredients included in almost all dishes are game, mushrooms, fish, cloudberries, cranberries, lingonberries, reindeer moss), I would recommend visiting the restaurant “There is in Karelia”. Assorted fish soup and dessert “Shaman’s Pain” with reindeer moss are especially good there.

And, of course, kalitki (Karelian open-top pastries of all kinds) deserve special attention: both salty ones with caviar, potatoes, millet, and sweet ones – lingonberries, cloudberries, cottage cheese, cranberries.

From the pier, a minute from the Frigate, comets leave for Kizhi Island. After escorting the group, I went to Kizhi to exhale the work, inhale the essence of the island and finally feel the Soul of Karelia.

It turned out to be impossible to spend the night on Kizhi, so miraculously I ended up on the neighboring island – Bolshoy Klimenetsky, belonging to the group of Kizhi skerries and famous epic storyteller Trofim Ryabinin.

In winter, 50 people live on the island, in summer about one and a half thousand. But at the end of May, the season had not yet begun, and I was practically alone on the island, and the peace of these places was disturbed only by boats passing along the Onega.

She lived alone in a 100-year-old house. Of the neighbors – only the owner, St. Petersburg journalist and writer Viktor Tumanovsky, in the house opposite. Hearing from him that the house is “alive”, the first thing I left for the brownie was sweets on the stove so that it wouldn’t bother me at night.

I woke up in the morning from the buzzing of bumblebees that flew in through the open windows. I pumped for half a day on a swing on the banks of the Onega. I watched how boats and comets pass by, and the wave from them reaches the shore in 2-3 minutes. She walked along the mowed paths, and in the forest – in rubber boots, so as not to step on the snakes inadvertently. There are many snakes on these islands, including poisonous ones.

There are few sights on the island, but they are: you can walk to the wooden chapel of Iona Klimenetsky, you can take a boat trip to the Holy Trinity Monastery. And also walk through the forest, enjoy mossy boulders, feast on resin and hare cabbage. This is perhaps the only thing you can eat on the island at the beginning of spring – there is no shop here, the nearest shop and cafe are on Kizhi.

In the evenings (and the evenings on Onega are blue) you can take a steam bath in a bathhouse and pour water from the lake on the pier. And then sit by candlelight, drink Ivan-tea with cloudberries and look at the month.

And, of course, take a ride on the owner’s boat along the Onega and go to Kizhi for the whole day. At the beginning of spring, there are few people here, the comets have just begun to walk, and they leave at 16:30. The whole island is mine.

She walked around the island, went around the sleeping villages. I passed a couple of villages – there are few people left to live here. Those who remain are mostly Old Believers. Perhaps that is why time on Kizhi seems frozen, frozen, frozen …

The road led me to Narina Mountain through the local cemetery. While I was looking at photographs of the sleeping inhabitants of the island on the monuments, I was attacked by seagulls that hatched their eggs on huge boulders. Not afraid, she went to the nest and noticed that the eggs of the gulls were gray-green, speckled. The hare Nikolai and the jackdaw Yegor also live on the island. Zaitsev used to be two – Nicholas and Nicholas II. But the second one was eaten. And the jackdaw is ready to eat everything that you have brought with you: it walks along the wooden railing behind you and pecks almost from the hands of the hotels taken from the cafe on the pier.

Miraculous winds blow on Narya Mountain and black ravens sit on the cross. From there I kept my way to the church on the northernmost outskirts. On the way I saw several vipers, a couple of them crawled under the wooden steps of the temple.

And at sunset, I went up to the bell tower to see the sun off, looked around the whole island and thanked for the gifts.

If you want to feel the Soul of Karelia, then you are clearly in Kizhi. And preferably for a couple of days to slowly absorb the peace of these places. If you want to visit here and live on Bolshoi Klimenetsky – write me a letter, I will share with you passwords-appearances.

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