My Dear readers,
In summer 2018 I made three trips. Two short ones in Russia and one long one in England/Ireland. In Russia I rode bike along Eastern shore of Ladoga lake from Lodeynoye Pole to Pitkaranta. It is least populated part of Ladoga shore. And it is mostly covered by magnificent Karelian forest, which I admire. Huge granite boulders quite often peppered this forest, see picture. I mostly slept in tent. I traveled through some villages and small towns. To my surprise I have not seen any chickens, geese, pigs or cows, which usually are roaming in village country. The only explanation I could have is this: There are many decent food stores there, many of them chain stores. And they are pretty well stocked. So people prefer not to bother with raising their own food, as they can buy it in stores. People there are not rich, but also they are not desperately poor either. They are the people who provide 80% support for Putin. They are not concerned much about human rights. But as far as they can put food on table, they will support the government. Another observation: it were few restaurants there, almost none. I prepare my own food with electrical spiral or on the fire, when in forest. And one more: all country covered with growth of borshevik (heracleum). Nobody risk to touch it as it is very poisonous.
My another trip was through half of Golden Circle, from Yaroslavl, through, Myshkin, Uglich, Borisoglebsk, Pereslavl Zalessky to Sergiev Posad. Most of churches there are perfectly restored, I had strange (fake) feeling toward them. Imagine if Roman Coliseum would be perfectly restored. Wise Italians do not do it. So, I was mostly impressed by Borisoglebskij monastery which is not restored, see picture. But Sergiev Posad, monastery complex with source of holy water inside is very impressive. Signs in souvenir shops are in Chinese by the way, as most of visitors are Chinese, and they are so loud!
I started my England/Ireland trip from London on Aug 4. It was unbelievably hot there. London is not ready for global warming. There are no air conditioners there. From London I went to Bath. It was freezing cold there. Weather extremes are incredible. I visited Stonehenge also. It was even more impressive than the pyramids, because it is so mysterious. It is clear why pyramids were built. It was pharaohs tombs. But why they erected this huge stones in Stonehenge 5000 years ago without any machinery. This is a puzzle.
From Bath I went to Cardiff and then to Liverpool.There is very good, efficient and inexpensive bus system in England. I like trains, but buses were 3 times cheaper. Ferry to Dublin was not easy, so I flew to Belfast instead. I visited Giant's staircase, similar to Iceland's one. In Belfast I tried indoor skydiving. A powerful fan blows air vertically to the speed more then 100 miles per hour. And at that speed your body gets lifted from the ground and you fly! I have certificate stating that I was flying in the air at 120 miles per hour (192 KM per hour). Now I know exactly how the people caught in Hurricane category 3 feel. You may see video at: https://youtu.be/mNkjL9NLajw
From Belfast I went to Dublin and stayed in a hostel near very impressive sculpture of victims of the great hunger of year 1845, when 25% of Ireland population died from hunger. I also went to Killarney for the Ring of Kerry, which did not impress me much. Three days before my departure from Dublin I attended Pope Francis' mass on Aug 24 2018. Pope repeated seven times word forgiveness. It was not clear, if it is related to Catholic priests, or to their molested victims. The roots of this problem is clear. Catholic priests are not allowed to marry. Some of Catholic priests cannot resist "the call of nature", this is why they molest children. It doesn't happen with muslim, jews or russian orthodox clergymen because they can get married. Church should permit them to marry. It will solve the problem.
Old wooden house
Source of holy water
Giant's Causeway, North Ireland
The Great Famine Memorial, Dublin
PS: On request from Igor G. I added picture of poisonous borshevik (cow parsnip). Sign in Russian means "be careful borshevik"