To Russia with Love (of Yarn)

We had another day at sea, now all the knitters are getting to know each pretty well and have projects on hand that can be knitted through classes.  We explored Japanese patterns – armed with some symbol interpretations, we learned that there is more standardization in these patterns than in Britain or the US, so its not horribly difficult to figure out most of them.  I need to find a way to get Barbara to give up the Japanese pattern book we used, there was a sweater in there designed just for me!

Sometime the next morning, I became aware that we were surrounded by ice:

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Not inspired as much with the ice as the sea foam, but the sound was really cool

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Our visit to Vladivostok included an excursion to a recently restored church, a school, and lunch. The church had the loveliest collection of modern stained glass windows I’ve seen:

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I can’t say that the city of Vladivostok was picturesque – at least not the parts I saw. There were some lovely buildings, especially the interiors, but there was also plenty of evidence of poor housing and poverty. I imagine it would not be easy to live in a house like this as cold as it gets here:

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I saw this huge pipe running through the city – not sure what it is, maybe gas? It had a lot of sloppy-looking repairs on it:

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Seems like I didn’t have to walk far before I could see the port & get my bearings – for someone with no sense of direction and even less ability to read Russian, that was reassuring:

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The school visit was a little bizarre – I understand that it may be special to have a Catholic school here, and appreciate the value of education, but I felt like I was intruding. This was the only time in the whole trip that I felt I was in the wrong place:

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I was impressed with the variety of crafts taught to the young students – something in a large cupboard caught my eye:

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Lace making! The teacher pulled some projects out for me to see:

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Our lunch was in a large, faded, hotel. They barely had room for us at the tables – the food was delicious. My first genuine Borscht soup was comforting – the preserves served with little pancakes & sour cream was intensely tasty, aaaand, I finally got a superb cup of coffee (did I tell you the only thing that sucked on the cruise was the coffee?)

Back near the ship, we set out for a department store that should have yarn for sale – you know you really can’t rely on those out-of-proportion maps, and it turns out that both times we tried to follow instructions given to us by a couple (you know, where one person slightly disagrees with the other’s directions) were not productive. Having traipsed up & down ice-littered streets, we called it a day….only to decide that we should probably check out the train station next to the harbour.

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Good move – it is very pretty inside:

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We wandered into some shops right next to the train station and found a yarn shop! So I finally got to spend my roubles. I got a few skeins of yarn, a lovely bone china cup & saucer, some pretty carved birch bark boxes, and a couple of bags.

All that walking on steep hills had me thinking a long soak would be good for my muscles – so SisterFriend & I soaked in the mineral spa tub on top of the ship (which was delightfully hot) while just a little snow fell on us (or rain, I don’t remember too well but it was refreshing). We could see the city night lights over the top of the ship as we pulled away… what a wonderful way to end our day visiting a very different land:

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2 Responses to “To Russia with Love (of Yarn)”

  1. Purpleworms Says:

    How wonderful to see what people saw on the excursions! Did you get to see them making lace? Did you get any pictures of hte projects?

    Glad to hear you found some good coffee – for me this had to wait until I got home!

    …and what a gorgeous Kakelsteinofen (The green tile oven) – They are ecologically superior to other stoves too because they absorb heat and then release it slowly over time! (Wendy)

    • chrisabbott Says:

      I didn’t see anyone making lace – I think they were protecting the students from all the strangers wandering through. I got great coffee at Shanghai airport too….it cost equivalent of a dollar more than the meal! (It took 2 days, and 6 pots of coffee to get over my withdrawal from the good stuff).

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