|Onega and distant Petrozavodsk from "the Devil's Chair" side|
|Ode to a Lada|
Finally on the number 4 marshrutka we experienced a properly bumpy ride which was made all the more comical and hair-raising ride because the tallest one of us was forced to double over and squat by the half open door for the first five minutes of journey due to a lack of seats and a capitalist driver. We soon ended up on a country road approaching a pretty old church near some wooden buildings. This part of town is a kind of mini village which seems to be populated half by permanent residents and half by dachas (Russian holiday homes) of various sizes and builds. Crusty men prodded smokey barbecues in their front yards, dogs barked excitedly over picket fences, children rode bicycles through muddy puddles and women chopped firewood as we walked down the mud tracks towards the woods. We picked up the trail to "the Devil's Chair" just as the sun came out. The smell of the wood stoves and cooking meat hung in the air and everything felt like the end of a long and beautiful summer. The whole dacha ideology began to make more sense.
|A pier in the village and a couple of dachas|
called "chair" is a kind of natural "throne" eroded into this cliff face although it certainly doesn't look comfortable and I'd recommend beezlebub a decent chiropractor after an extended sit in that...
Legend has it that two fishermen saw the devil here one night when out in the woods. Either that or they had drunk slightly too much "Karelian Balsam" (a local Jaegermeister-style herb spirit) and run into a bear. On this topic we successfully created a self-styled "Jaeger-bomb" out of a liberal share of it mixed with the Russian energy drink ominously called "BURN." Of course, we have ceremonially dubbed the new drink the "Karelia-bomb" although we doubt it'll catch on in the UK without a severe relaxing of import/export laws. Shame.
To be honest, i'm not sure if "Lonely Planet" know about this place. This is a lovely and beautiful part of Russia. Certainly if you ever get the chance to visit Petro this is well worth your time. Pack warm clothes, some ok-ish boots (the trail is muddy), but other than that all you need is a camera, some great friends, some emergency Pushkin and a picnic to get close to the beautiful Karelian soil! A quality Saturday all round! More soon x
|The woodland trail|
|Onega from atop the Devil's Chair|
|The beauty of Northern Russia|