The highlight of our trip to Russia was an excursion planned for us by Larisa, the destination to be to one of the most sacred and ancient of Monasteries in Russia. On Divine Island Valaam! The overnight boat trip was very interesting: I saw for the first time in my life the Schlusselburg Fortress which I read a lot of, to be situated just in the waters:an ending of the Neva river and the beginning of the lake Ladoga, the largest one in Europe. Our arrival at the Valaam was on early bright sunlit morning, which promised to be a very spiritual uplifting day. On leaving the boat, we got together with a tour group guide who accompanied us to the religious sights of the Island. All of this was very valaam-ladybeautiful but I must say for Janko self, that most inspiring experience was the sound of violin music which resonated throughout the forest. Where did it come from? And from who? The answer came as we turned the corner and in front of us a lady whom you see on the picture she was playing this wonderful tune. The tourists who were in our group completely ignored her and walked past. We stopped to chit chat with her and found out that she lived on the island with her family, music teacher by profession she composed the music and put it on CDs. Unluckily we never got to know her name but the memory of that special moment in time lasts with us even to this day. The Russian Orthodox monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior has existed on these islands from time immemorial (even competent church historians still can’t tell the exact date of its foundation).
Upon leaving Valaam there was beautiful Chaikovsky’s music playing from the boat radio, because he himself visited this island very long ago and left a memory about it. Listen, please.You Tube-Valaam

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