Russia: Vacation on the Volga

For those in search of what travel writers call the truly unforgettable vacation, Moscow's Literaturnaya Gazeta had the perfect answer: a trip for "rest and relaxation" down the Volga in the time of the inventarizatsia, or inventory taking, as the season ends and the Volga excursion boats batten down for the winter. But as Writer Natalia Ilyina made clear, the adventure is not for the weak or querulous.

First Day. The night, as she puts it, was "rather cool because the stewardess had brought us very damp bedding. But by morning it is absolutely dry." All over the ship, stewardesses and...

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