The longest river in Europe, the Volga-Matushka is among the greatest rivers of the world. About 3,500km long, it spans from western Russia, through Central Russia, right up to the Caspian Sea where it drains.
And my canoe will paddle down it telling some wonderful stories.
Volga-Matushka means Mother Volga, something that most Russians refer to the mighty river as a Mother. I guess for reason similar to what makes us Indians refer to the Ganges as a Mother.
Many of Russia's most important and interesting cities lie along the banks of the Volga - Tver, Dubna, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Ulyanovsk, Tolyatti, Samara, Saratov and Volgograd before discharging into the Caspian Sea below Astrakhan at 92 ft below sea level.
The Volga is really a series of lakes. Well, not really, but because of some of the world's largest reservoirs damming the river, the Volga is divided into large sections. Paddling the Volga is like paddling on a series of lakes. The reservoirs are Ivankovo Reservoir, Uglich Reservoir, Rybinsk Reservoir, Gorky Reservoir, Cheboksary Reservoir, Kuybyshev Reservoir (largest in Europe by surface), Saratov Reservoir and Volgograd Reservoir.
I definitely want to listen to the famous Song of the Volga Boatmen, one of the most popular traditional Russian songs, and maybe even make it the theme track for Canoe Stories: Volga-Matushka. I would love to visit all the cathedrals and churches dotted along the banks, visit the museums in the many cities. I do not know if a lifetime is enough to see all the wonders, but I will try and visit as many sights as feasible and and tell as many stories as I can.
There are obviously a lot of logistics that have to be worked out to make this expedition a possibility. But we have the tentative date of June 2019 in mind.
I am extremely thankful to Mark Kalch, an expedition paddler who paddled the Volga, source-to-sea, over 71 days, in 2014. Do visit his web site, it is truly inspiring.
Your help, support and contribution is solicited to make this expedition a success. You can make a contribution here.
Meanwhile, take a look at some of the awesome views that I hope to experience on this edition of the Canoe Stories.