This day we were to finally enter the Volga River, sailing a bit east up one branch to one of the largest and oldest cities, Yaroslavl. Docking would not be until around 3:30 pm so again there were various shipboard activities scheduled. Also, the schedule had some times when we would be passing interesting sites.
Right after breakfast we reached a lock in Rybinsk and passed by a huge statue of a woman commemorating Mother Volga. This lock brought us down rather than up. We sailed through an urban area. We haven't been through much urban territory. There are a lot of smokestacks, bridges and churches. I never get tired of seeing the onion domes.
Did you know the number of domes indicate to whom the church is dedicated? One dome is Jesus Christ. Three is the Holy Trinity. Five is Jesus and the four evangelists. And 13 is . . . You guess.
Tanya gave us a talk about Yaroslavl and tomorrow's stop, Uglich. Near Yaroslavl are the only four villages where authentic lacquer boxes are still made. The boxes on the streets are wood with postcards glued on. The real boxes are papier-mâché and hand-painted. Tim always gets himself one memento that represents the place we visit and this time he wants a lacquer box. Part of the tour will be to an art gallery that sells them.
By the way, we do know that the tour guides are receiving a commission for taking us to the art galleries in the cities. But Tanya has been very honest about when to buy things and when to be wary. We trust her and know she's not taking advantage.
We took in the last segment of the documentary on the tsars. Another fun fact (which I knew from reading historical fiction) is that the word "tsar" or "czar" is derived from the Roman word "Caesar".
We sat on the deck watching the scenery after lunch. We are still seeing a lot of forest and fishermen on the banks or in dinghies. At one point up ahead I could see domes on both sides of the river. We were passing Tutaev and I counted no less than eight churches of all sizes and colors, that could be seen from the ship.
We finally reached Yaroslavl and jumped on buses for a quick ride to St. Nicholas Church where we saw beautiful iconography. Yaroslavl was founded about a thousand years ago. It's a large city of 600,000 people and the capital of Yaroslav. It was extensively developed starting in the 16th century. The avenues where this part of the city lies, where the Kotorosl River flows into the Volga, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. That's where our tour stayed for the most part.
After the church they dropped us at a shopping area with banks, cafes, shops, a market and liquor stores. Guess which one we hit fIrst?
Clinking bottles now secured in Tim's bag, we had about 30 minutes to look around. We browsed a little, ducking into a shop here and there. There was a large open air market but we didn't have much time. I did stop in a food market where all the stalls were different foods. There were two women selling fresh cheese out of buckets. Local women were getting tastes before deciding to buy.
I did the "moo" or "baa" thing since I don't care for goat's cheese. It was moo. It was soft and very mild with no salt. We bought a container and at another stall we bought crackers. Then we had to run to the bus.
Next stop was a park with a WWII memorial in front of a large church. The church was only six years old but built in an earlier style. We could go inside but there was a service going on. I grabbed Tim's baseball cap and ran in. I try to light a candle for my grandmother at every church we enter for the first time. It's really for everyone that has passed in our family. My grandmother always lit a candle so I like to think she knows where we are when the flame is lit, and she's proud of me for going to new places. She loved to travel. This cruise would have been right up her alley.
The guide helped me get a candle and it turns out that the next day would be Pentecost, so the censers holding candles for the deceased was right up front where the priest was. He said it was ok for me to go up there. The priest was in a white robe and faced the altar. There was a deacon or priest in a gold vestment near the censer, also facing the altar. The worshippers stood as there were no benches or chairs. The priest was chanting the service with the women responding. I lit my candle and wished I could have stayed.
Back on the bus, we drove around a bit in the UNESCO area and that's when they took us to the art gallery with the lacquer boxes. They were magnificent. Delores and Cathy each bought something (don't want to spoil any surprises). Tim could hardly decide which he wanted but settled on a winter sunset scene. They also had chocolate bars for a great price and a couple of those found their way into our bags.
We went back to the ship to set sail for Uglich. After dinner we enjoyed a bottle of wine on the deck, and offered See's Candy to a few of the French group strolling by. Again we are among the more popular passengers.
In the morning we arrive early for a quick stop in Uglich.