With a little bit of trepidation, I agreed to get on a boat with a new friend, Olga (I don’t even know her last name), and travel 2 1/2 hours up the Volga to her home in Zol’noye, a small town (I would call it a village) right on the riverbank, where people live quiet, peaceful lives away from the noise, heat, and general stress of the big city.
My trepidation had two facets–one, that Olga speaks NO English. Zero. That put the burden on me to communicate and comprehend. No easy task, I guarantee you. And she LOVES to talk. The other facet was just not having any idea what to expect. What I did know was that in our two or three previous meetings, she had been a super sweet, open, and generous person. Also carrying some hurts — especially concerning her son, Maxim, who has relapsed badly into his drug addiction. Ugh.
Anyway, as it turned out, I had nothing to fret over. Yes, my Russian was horrible, but she made the best of it. Even when I didn’t fully understand her, she pressed on. She showed me around her village, shared the bounty of her garden with me, and gave me her room to sleep in (because no mosquitoes had made their way in there.) I thought I’d share some pictures of this delightful, PEACEFUL, and restorative time with you. It was absolutely what I needed now that I’m halfway through my time in Samara.
We stopped at the local market for ice cream bars. (It’s never too early for ice cream, right?) Then proceeded past the “Palace of Culture” to the fish market.
All too soon it was time for me to leave on the 2:15 river taxi. Olga and her neighbor, Sveta, stood on the shore and waved until the boat was no longer in sight. Cuz that’s what you can do when you live in Zol’noye.