You can take the girl to the city but you can't take the country out of her soul! The advertisements you hear and see about Russia are the bigger cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. The beauty of this trip is that we got to go to those endearing and overwhelming places: the Kremlin, The Hermitage, the many glorious churches, Catherine the Great's Winter palace
and more. On the other hand because it was a smaller river boat cruise we also stopped at small villages and countryside locations. The place I met Olga is Mandrogy. It is mainly known for the Matryoshka painted dolls, you know the ones that snuggle into each other. Anyways, at first glance there was not a lot there. My first impression was "oh my, what are we going to do here all morning" but then we started exploring and found "historical crafting shops" that kept us busy. Of course we had to pick up a linen woven tablecloth and napkins. We admired the works of the blacksmith and potter. We then walked into another room and I took a picture of this wall with lots of handpainted paddle type objects thinking " well those are interesting, someone liked painting Russian motifs on wood".
For some odd reason I didn't think of functionality, just decoration.
We kept on walking through and there before us was Olga the Russian fiber enabler. Well after a conversation with her about the paddles it turned out they are actually called divets and their purpose is to steady and rest your fiber on while using a drop spindle. It turns out they are a kind of wedding present. The man would decorate through carving or painting and then give it to his beloved the day of the wedding.
Certainly a man that would give you that knows the way to heart!!! The other item she introduced us to was Russian wool fluff which is actually made from goats. They had numerous sweaters, shawls and socks and gloves made of this fiber. The aura was so beautiful I couldn't help but admire. No, sorry I didn't bring any back they were only selling finished pieces. I was in my comfort zone here...there was something about the organic nature of this place that just made me breathe good clean living(even if it was historical!)