Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lake Lagoda

Today, we took a trip to Lake Lagoda, also known to Russians as the "Road of Life" (more on that later).

We caravaned there with the CG and her navigation system, and another Consulate family. As it took almost an hour just to get out of Piter proper, and we turned around four or five times, Terry questioned my desire for a GPS system. I decided MAYBE it wouldn't be a good value investment.

We did finally arrive at the museum on the Lake, and between passing the baton of Alex back and forth Terry and I each got to hear about half the curator's spiel about the siege of Leningrad (Petersburg). You can read all about it here. The short story is that the Germans and Finns were able to completely blockade Leningrad in 1941. Rations became in such short supply that the daily ration of a non-worker/non-soldier was 125 grams of bread. I approximate that to about 2 pieces of regular sized sliced bread. The good/bad thing about that winter was that it was particularly cold, and Lake Lagoda was completely frozen by November. The Russians realized they could drive provisions across the Lake and fortify the city, which they proceeded to do that year as well as the next. Had it not been for this "ice road" it is unlikely anyone in Leningrad could have survived the 29 month siege.

After the tour, we went to picnic on the museum's grounds, where a table had been set up for us overlooking the lake. We grilled shashlik (super-yum!) and feasted on foods both Russian and American. The wind coming off the lake was a little chilly for me in the shade, but it was perfect in the sun. We basically just hung out at the picnic area for the rest of the afternoon. After we ate, the curator's wife came over with this amazing samovar - I'm calling it the campfire samovar - there is a "hole" for lack of a better word in the center where you put the burning wood to heat it up, and we had chai (tea. yes, it's called chai in Russian). I want one so badly! We'll definitely be on the lookout for this thing.

I was holding Alex and the curator's wife came over and said "Give her to me" in Russian (rough paraphrasing). I handed Alex over, she got a look of alarm on her face and handed her right back. She then said something in Russian, laughing as she walked away, and I was laughing with her ... as she walked away I turned to the rest of the group and asked what she was saying. The gist was "She looks so small but she's so heavy, what do you feed her?"

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