SEPTEMBER 17 - 26, 2009

The next morning we boarded the bus bound for Petrozavodsk, a five hour journey. We suspected that intercity travel in the former evil empire would not without incident and this was no exception. When the driver made an unscheduled pit-stop on the shoulder of the road, the bus sank axle-deep in the sand, and it was only by luck that another passing bus managed to haul our bus out without it capsizing. There was a scheduled stop at a roadside snack bar that served a lukewarm bowl of something that no one could find any reason to taste. The road is well-travelled and an enterprising person could not fail to succeed with a real restaurant, a la MacDonalds. There must be a reason why there is none. However our hotel in Petrozavodsk was very nice as was their restaurant where we dined several times. Donna gave her outstanding presentation about some of Rusk Institutes's programs at the two-day symposium which Norbert attended. Our Russian hosts arranged a dinner at an excellent restaurant as well as a tour of the city and a side trip to Kizhi. There were 17 of us for the return to St. Petersburg and we boarded a van with exactly 17 seats. The "adventure"on this trip was a flat tire. But, not to worry, we were stopped at another roadside rest where conveniences abound...much vodka and an outhouse. At St. Petersburg the group broke upůsome going back to Norway and Sweden, the rest, including us, staying in the city for a few days.

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