Krok is an International animation festival that takes place on a riverboat in Russia or Ukraine or, in the past, both. Political issues have recently forced it to sail in Russia only, even as it continues to be organized by animators in both countries. This year it cruised from St. Petersburg to Moscow, making various scenic stops along the way. I was invited to lead the jury and watched lots of films between taking photos, trying to use the insecure internet in the bar, eating, rehearsing a song for “Carnival”, pretending to drink vodka, and sleeping.
On the drive in from the airport.
Our boat, the Konstantin Simonov, docked in St. Petersburg.
My cabin’s little bathroom.
A good omen: a rainbow the day before departure in St. Petersburg.
About 800 rubles (approximately $12.50) worth of snacks and provisions I purchased up the road from the boat in St. Petersburg. Those “CHAKA” peanuts-and-mixed-nuts snacks were the best. None of the energy bars tasted good, but I kept one on my person at all times to keep low blood sugar at bay.
A visit to St. Petersburg prior to the Festival Opening.
Distinguished jury members doing the mandatory lifejacket safety test.
Our first stop, Mandrogi. Someone called it “Russian Disneyland”. Yes, it’s a tourist trap, but a rather charming one.
Mandrogi’s “Art Saloon” included this Matryoshka doll painting studio, proudly displaying photos of Putin’s visit a few years ago with his resultant masterpiece in the center.
I rented this bike for a few hundred rubles. Fun, and the only biking I got to do my entire trip.
The world-famous Vodka Museum. Every Russian tourist trap needs one, but Mandrogi’s was recently upgraded at great expense. I didn’t go inside because they charge for entry now. (I visited Krok in 2000, and Mandrogi and other tourist stops have been massively developed since then.)
Next stop: Kizhi Island and its magnificent wooden cathedral.
I remember this structure from 19 years ago. They’re doing a lot of reconstruction now.
Tourists everywhere, including me.
I thought this log “staircase” was cool.
Wood architecture on Kizhi.
I wanted to walk more on Kizhi, but had to turn back so I wouldn’t miss our departure.
Fellow juror Isabelle, her Mann Jochen, and fellow juror Daniel “posed” for this photo in Petrozavodsk.
My Lovely Horse in a toy shop in Petrozavodsk.
A cold and rainy morning in Vytegra.
Animators just have to “pose” for every photo. On the right is fellow juror Svetlana, with her signature leg move.
Wood construction in Vytegra.
Our boat went through a lot of locks.
Deck view from inside a lock.
The scenery from my cabin window was ever-changing…
Out on Lake Something-or-Other
On Goritsky I took the tour of the monastery.
The monastery is on a small lake. I went off-tour for a while and passed this local who’d dismounted her bicycle to go fishing.
Back to the tour herd.
Back on board, we passed this church tower of a sunken city buried by a dam.
We all went out to take pictures of it. This was a rare moment the sun was out too.
A bit soured on tours after Goritsky, I didn’t keep up with the group in Dubna. This was my loss, because this tour was necessary and interesting, and I missed it. After getting lost, I found my way back to the boat and looked it up on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubna
Finally, we neared Moscow. Here’s fellow juror Ãœlo at breakfast.
After much deliberation, we made our selections as best we could and then signed a pile of certificates.
Then, Red Square w00t! I’d been to Red Square just a few months earlier, but was happy to see it again with my new friends.
You can’t have too many pictures of yourself standing in front of St. Basil’s cathedral.
Lenin’s Tomb was closed that day. Even a corpse needs a day off.
Moscow. I loved this Art deco building at the end of the street Ãœlo is walking down.
And finally, the Moscow Airport, where I departed for Helsinki and then France. My next installment of photos will document the latter!