S: Falling in love with Russia
FC: Falling in love with Russia.
1: When I went to Russia I really had no idea of the wonderful country I was about to discover The Russians surprised me as people with a huge sense of humor, very disciplined, charming, highly educated (most of the Russians I had the pleasure to meet had at least two degrees, spoke English and other language, loved their country and were eager to tell you about it and as a plus, they have he cleanest country I've ever seen! | As the days passed I felt as if I have lived there my whole life, hearing the history of Russia and people personal histories too, I got the pleasure to share glimpses of their childhood and family life as well as having the experience of a "one day in a Russian Life Style". Also visited the home of a family, even if at that moment it was only a one family member family. | This mirror is the floor of one of the Moscow metro station | Visit to a home
2: To the passengers I am a tourist too. Please open your mind to a whole new concept of how life was under the former government. Enjoy your trip as if your were a child, allow yourselves to be AMAZED by everything, this IS our first time in Russia, so everything IS NEW!
4: Russia through my eyes At the airport I had the help from an unknown taxi driver who showed me where to change dollars in rubles, waited patiently my comings and goings, took care of my luggage and drove me to the ship. By the way, he also spoke English so much better than I do. He was kind of confused by my answers with a "Yes, nonono" in the same sentence and answer. Go figure!
5: Arriving at the ship everything was ready for me, my luggage sent to my room (319), I was BLUE, a note telling me what to do....
6: Next day we all were instructed by our captain Boris and by Olga about safety measurements. You know...just in case we are forced to swim in the river | And after that our meeting with our Program Director. Oohhh how lucky I was! I wrote my whole family that my guide will be the same for the whole trip and I liked him very much! How lucky I felt, good looking guy, very intelligent, gave precise instructions, just like I like it! Perfect!
7: So adventure begins
8: Moscow.... Traffic? (so what!?) I'm in no hurry, Red square. beautiful!, Cathedrals, roads, metro, galleries, circus, veteran's visit, Kremlin, show, pictures taken.... Four days passed and the ship starts its journey entering the Volga river First time I see a LOCK!! and another and another and another....all different and SPECTACULARS
10: UGLICH walking tour, there I bought the only souvenir of the whole trip and everybody loved it! Pay attention to your Program Director, if he/she says this is the place to buy, then THIS IS THE PLACE TO BUY!
11: GORITSY... a day as a russian... KIZHI, it was a lovely rainy day...no white deadly poisonous viper snakes on sight! "I could live here!" I told my Program Director who kindly shooed me away with a "Uhumm! how about winter?" | PETROZAVODSK, city tour, Karelian show..I heard the most beautiful singer with an angelic voice...even if I didn't know what she was saying I felt it was about love... SVIRSTROY Visit to a home, Interactive discussion with Program Directors, Russian song lesson with Julia | HIGLIGHT of the day for the staff was seeing this sister boat pass by... I think specially for my Program Director
12: St. Petersburg | It welcomed us with a fog that had us anchored in something very likely the twilight zone. We could not see beyond our nose! All visits were rescheduled...to my advantage because I wanted the boat tour at night! There I saw the most beautiful cathedral in the whole world, and the the Hermitage museum that is breathtaking, and Peterhof, and.....
13: Catherines's palace and its gardens, Went to a ballet at the Mikhailovsky theatre.... Ok It is clear that I loved St. Petersburg.
14: Someone once told me that I draw a lot of attention... maybe... Anecdote I was on my cabin with the window open and I see these guys trying o seduce me with a Vodka bottle and telling me to go to their boat. They were dying laughing. So was I. I took my camera I took pictures of them, they did the same. We all decided to go on the ship's deck to talk, it was funny, all those young guys trying to pick me up. So we just say hello and pretty soon bye bye since their ship left all the other way mine was going. None of us ever left their own boat by the way. And that's the story.
15: <-------The "bait" | the gallant ----> | <---The farewell
16: About the staff I will leave my Program Director for last. OK? | IVAN I loved your food but most of all I loved the way you pronounced my name and was delighted that you KNEW it!
17: Sergey Maxim & Dmitry u r the best! | Each one of you is so special! You made me feel like a star taking pictures of me always! Thank you for downloading my pictures on the memory stick which I keep on calling Pen Drive. Sergey, Maxim and Dmitry, I really enjoyed your company and I still laugh when I remember the four of us rolling on the floor laughing on the stairs of the President bar while the meeting with the PD was still on and on and on... it did take a little longer than expected! And here is the picture of that day. Maxim you gave me the balalaika, Dmitry, you put the hat on my head, Sergey you took the picture. Love you guys!
18: Julia You have the most beautiful face I've ever seen! Thank you for the Russian language classes and also for the singing lessons | I enjoyed them and will always remember them dearly. You also happen to be the sweetest person I ever met, taking care of those babies and finding a home for each of them...that is something out of this world! Life will find a way to retributed you all the good you spread. | Some people make the world more special just by being in it!
19: Evgeny You too impressed me in such a lovely way. I died laughing with your presentations and jokes and was deeply moved when heard you talking about the social work you do with the teenager girls of your country. What a wonderful and complete human being you are!
20: Anna, Natacha and Violeta I didn't get the chance to be with you very much, but even though all of you shared part of your family life with me unintentionally Anna I saw your beautiful baby with you at your hometown, and the love of that moment made you glow...I will always keep that instant of you and your child on my mind. Natasha The games you and your brother used to play do not differ too much from the games I use to play with my two brothers, listening to you tell these stories made me recall those precious moments I also had in my life and made me see how children are so alike no matter from where they are Violeta I listened to you the day of the Interactive discussion and I agreed with you in so many things! Sometimes people are to quick to judge others without taking a moment to put themselves on someone else's shoes, so..... I know it is easy to say and difficult to do, but do not get upset by their comments and take your time to make them understand your point of view
22: Igor, my Program Director... I am really sorry that he first few days I caused such a havoc on your itinerary and discipline way of life! I think most of the times you wanted to strangled me :( One of the first things I remember you telling us was that no matter what we all think we DO NOT LOOK LIKE RUSSIANS! Well I do!, if not why everybody was talking to me in Russian? I know you were trying to protect us from pickpocketing, etc, etc. I even rewrote my family telling them: Oh oh! this is not working... I think my Program Director HATES me... and here is why I thought so... In a very NICE way, after me being late twice and waiting on the wrong spot once (next time draw and X on the spot please :) so I will know) you told me to THINK and LOOK AROUND before doing anything...OUCH! that hurt me! .It did not ended there, oh nonono, every opportunity you had you made sure that I will LISTEN that if anyone is late, SHE would be left there because you were NOT GOING TO WAIT for anyone (meaning ME :( ) I took your words very seriously. Starting: I did not trusted my friends and their time management anymore... So I was always on TIME and in the correct SPOT.. It also helped that I never lost sight of you. I was determined you would SEE ME AS I am.
24: Then I bough a watch! On the exact town and place you said watches should be bought if you wanted one...and I made sure you would get informed about this event. | You also made me "walk the line" and follow orders and keep me waiting! WOW! That's a first! I was feeling like a Penelope, always waiting...and right were I was told to! | And then days passed away and and guess what?! you still kept me under your radar... Really! Please! I was OK by now! But I loved it! I was always safe because my Program Director was always watching me! Now I was happy...you talked to me really nice, noticed me :)...... Mission accomplished | The trip continued and you kept me under your constant surveillance. I was behaving like a STAR STUDENT! and I loved the feeling of being the FAVORITE :) Truthfully I LOVED IT! | ...And then I wrote again to my family telling them that my Program Director now likes me and that I really really loved him! And that my Program Director is THE BEST, and he is this, and he is that, and blah blah blah... Now that I was afraid no more of being abandon in an isolated island or metro station all by myself and becoming a local, I started noticing what a wonderful person you are Igor... I am impress by your intelligence, your sense of humor, amazed by your knowledge (still afraid of your quizzes). It killed me when you talked about your childhood, mentioned your little brother, were I being there to play with you I would have played being a knight with you both! (wish I could say that I would be a princess and you my knight but that would be a lie since at that time I liked boys games over girlie's boring ones...
25: ...and I would have given you my bubble gum too, the one that makes huge pink bubble gums! I have two brothers and I know how deep the love between siblings can be. I am impressed by all the languages you speak and how quick you started learning Spanish, to the point I was quite concern you might understand everything I was saying. Also I noticed how handsome you are!!! Being your girlfriend I would marry you right right away! | This is ME watching YOU now
27: But time to say goodbye did come and by this moment I want to believe that I meant to you as much as you meant to me, and I am thankful that Life gave me the privilege of knowing you. So, this is my album to you my Igor, with my insights of the cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, feel free to share with your colleagues if you wish. With all my love, to all the Program Directors and crew members and in special to my Program Director of the Blue Ski, Igor. Elizabeta
28: My trip to Russia marked a milestone in my life because of the beautiful people I met during my trip especially the staff on board to whom I will always keep into my life. Lisa