Monday, October 3, 2016

Volga (not Volga) Cruise

Of all the afternoon excursions in the Russian summer school program, the most anticipated one was the 'Boat Trip on the Volga River'. Doesn't that just sound cool? Who wouldn't want to go on a boat trip, and one that might actually be a booze cruise at that? And maybe a little bit educational too, if someone were to point out certain sights?

Well, spoiler alert: I slept through most of the cruise. And there was no drinking on the boat!

It was fun to get out on the river, that's true. And you should have seen the look the Russians gave us when we all crowded onto the boat two minutes before sailing, most of us talking excitedly in Chinese. That look of horror was priceless! (To be fair, I give that look too when a bunch of 20-somethings show up late and loud. Or show up at all, probably.)

Our 'Boat Trip on the Volga River' turned out to be a 'Boat Trip mainly on the Oka River with a short ride on the Volga River'. It began here at dock #10.

The boat was docked on the Volga river. D's grandmother was born somewhere along this river, so it was cool to see the river in person and connect it with the stories. The river is over 2,000 miles long, though, so we probably weren't anywhere close to the place she'd been.

Allison and I got there early, so we had plenty of time to walk along the riverbank.

The riverbank was overwhelmingly gray and crumbly. We spotted a little tent that sold beer, but decided to hold out for the boat's bar. (Ha.)

Let's fast forward to the part where everyone else starts to show up, and we all get on the boat while trying to ward off the evil eye.

Okay, so the boat...

... looked deserted, right? Most people were upstairs on the second deck, at least for the beginning of the journey. Allison and I sat downstairs in the bow. A guy with a remarkable mullet ran the snack bar in the back, selling nuts, sodas, and stale piroshki.

The boat pulled away from dock #10...

... and sailed off on a route something like this.

We passed a couple of other boats-

.. and bridges-

... and a lone fisherman in an inflatable raft.

Of course, there's a chance we actually passed by something exciting, but I must have been asleep for that part. Old disco music played softly throughout the boat and I just felt soooo tired. When I woke up, we were back on the Volga for a few minutes, traveling past the red walls of the city's Kremlin.

So, yep, pretty much the most anticlimactic boat story ever. It had been so much fun to look forward to, though, that it didn't matter. Even just thinking about it now brings back really chill memories. I hope to someday take a more exciting boat trip, but this one will do for now.


  1. I've been on a boat tour in Ufa and it was literally like 20 minutes. I also saw nothing new. So boring, but I got to go for free so I guess I can't complain too much.

    1. Wow, that's quite short! But yeah, free is always a good price :)