The journey to the Russian North turned out to be exactly what one dreamed of, and completely not what was expected. The first impression of a meeting with a homeland - real, not a tourist one - is some kind of whirlwind, a curvature of the space-time continuum. You are driving through the Kostroma or Vologda regions - there is a forest on the right, a forest on the left, slender rows of ivan-tea approach the road - you think an hour has passed, - you look at the clock - only 15 minutes. And this introduces into a state of some kind of light trance, which, like any trance, expands the consciousness. And in it, in this expanded consciousness, which has opened some new cells and windows, new names and names begin to be placed. Where there used to be only "Brittany-Brittany", or "Provence-Provence", or "Umbria!" Tuscany! ”, Suddenly there is a place for Pichuga, Kekura and Ermakova Gari, which, of course, sound much more exotic to the ear of any Moscow sybarite. But in the current circumstances, when everyone went to explore their native spaces and Instagram filled the domes, platbands or crumbling Soviet sanatoriums at the most advanced, all these Russian toponyms are downright chic. Well, the main subject of irony for everyone else is that "Moscow hipsters are exploring central Russia instead of Venice." Not only hipsters, I want to say, but everyone - gallery owners, financiers, restaurateurs and other lovers of Venice lined up in a column and headed away from Moscow, so all the cool places are within a three-hour drive from it, of which, frankly, there are not so many. tightly packed until autumn. On the border of the Yaroslavl region The general principle of our trip was as follows: the further north, the better. Everything was getting better: somewhere on the border of the Yaroslavl region, the cow parsnip ended up - the size of a palm tree, approaching directly to the road - and the kingdom of Ivan tea began, which, of course, is the new Russian superfood. There were more and more houses of old, unpainted wood, which had acquired a divine gray color from snow and rains; less and less popular Golden Ring and more and more ordinary local life; all the brighter the sky, all the dense forests and all the uncompromising mosquitoes, hornets and horseflies. Every day we stopped for the night in a new place - and already the first one was a surprise on this trip. We arrived at the new hotel "Azimut", in the village of Ivanisovo, a 10-minute drive from Pereslavl-Zalessky, and it turned out to be a new, absolutely modern hotel in the middle of the fields - with a huge territory equipped with alpine slides and paths, with a central building in the form of a wrong tower , not a chalet, with wooden houses - each has its own parking lot, its own backyard, its own terrace and even its own touching sandbox. Ours had four rooms - each with a bathroom - and a huge dining / living room. Pereslavl-Zalessky This is what you expect to see somewhere in Norway, but not in the village of Ivanisovo, Pereslavl District, Yaroslavl Region. About Pereslavl itself, which has long been used by Muscovites, I can only say one thing: in addition to the outstanding Savior-Transfiguration Cathedral of the 12th century, where Alexander Nevsky was baptized, - the great white-stone monument of pre-Mongol North-Eastern Russia, there is the Goritsky Monastery, with its Passage gate with skates on them and views of Lake Pleshcheyevo from the bell tower, and the most beautiful Nikitsky Monastery, picturesquely standing in the field, with a descent to the source and the font next to it. Kostroma region The next amazing overnight stay took place in the Galich forests of Chukhloma, in the "Forest Terem Astashovo". It seems that my entire Instagram feed went to the tower this summer, and it turned out to be exactly as fabulous as it looked on Instagram. This is the estate of the millionaire peasant Martyan Sazonov, who made a fortune at the end of the nineteenth century with a joiner's team in St. ... None of this, of course, happened, and the house itself was on its last legs when Moscow businessman Andrei Pavlichenkov undertook to restore it. Terem - what was left of it - was dismantled, taken to Kirillov to the restoration workshops, they were reassembled there, retaining about 60% of the old logs, they were again dismantled and taken to reassemble in the same place. Everything that could be found and preserved from the decor has been preserved and restored, and to this day in the surrounding villages they see parts of the local platbands and the main staircase, which was pulled out from there already somewhere in the 90s. Now everything has been restored there, from stoves to interiors, furniture for which was bought and assembled in the surrounding villages. There are several rooms in the mansion, and around there are a few more modern wooden houses with terraces, both are wonderful. Downstairs there is a large Russian stove, at breakfast everyone is sitting at a large common table, upstairs is a veranda with stained-glass windows, through which the setting sun falls with irresistible Instagram potential with colored glare. And in general, all this looks like the very Russia that we lost and suddenly a wonderful imagem gained, although it should have disappeared without a trace. From Chukhloma to Verkhny Rystyug, Vologda Region After the Forest Tower, we had to spend the night in the village of Verkhniy Rystyug, and the guys from the tower said that you can go along the highway - this is about seven hours, or you can go through the forests along a country road, and this is about five hours, but the highway is so broken up by timber trucks that comfort about the same, only the forest is faster and more beautiful. And these five hours of the forest road from Chukhloma to Verkhniy Rystyug became the most picturesque, most striking and most memorable part of our nine-day journey. Broken planked bridges, which our Porsche drove on with inner trepidation, but confidently, and I went out and filmed this amazing sight on video. Gennady Josefavichus, who was driving, invented the #bridgesogrugachukhloma tag for these videos, showing off his cinematic experience and the journalistic skill of the title. Abandoned villages made of that very beautiful gray tree, the only village store that came across on the road under the sign of "Hermes", sawed-off trunks and their derivatives piled along the side of the road, houses with woodpiles and a vegetable garden, at which, however, we did not see anyone - it was Sunday and there were practically no people. At some point, we drove into the village of Ida - and found ourselves at a fork in the railway line, crowded with brand new, painted blue paint, platforms for the forest: there is not a soul around, everywhere there are mountains of cut wood, we are standing under a cell tower - there is no connection, the Internet no, the navigator for some reason said goodbye to us, and we do not know where to turn. And so it was a real Russian David Lynch, and the village of Ida almost became our Twin Peaks. I will never forget that crazy endorphin splash - both from beauty and from the consciousness that, if there is any breakdown, we will be stuck here for God knows how long. But, thank God, our Porsche Macan Turbo coped with this road through the Chukhloma forests without the slightest hesitation. Veliky Ustyug I must say that the surprise, even shock on this journey to the Russian North was divided between cultural objects - churches, monasteries, houses - and applied objects. For example, we drove into the city of Veliky Ustyug, the northernmost point of our path, and immediately ended up in the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsk monastery - the oldest in the Russian North, apparently founded at the beginning of the 13th century by Cyprian Ustyug, where during the years of Soviet power there was so much, and the last is the road technical school, which is still there, although the monastery was recently given over to the church. And thanks to this, it has survived better than others here: the technical school occupied churches, cells, a refectory, etc. - and everything has survived to this day. Exactly in the same way here, in Veliky Ustyug, the Cathedral of Procopius the Righteous, the main local saint, has remained unfinished, with all its iconostasis, because there was a museum of atheism. Now everything is there in exactly the same degree of neglect, which is extremely picturesque, but not yet extremely dramatic. We walk there as if spellbound - empty, everything is closed, everything is overgrown with lush burdocks, huge linden trees, restoration forests are already standing here and there - and we stumble upon an elderly woman who, with this magical northern dialect, with tumbling, running upward intonation and the indispensable "that" in at the end of each phrase, she says that she was a restorer, restored the chapel in Novy Kuzminsky, where we spend the night today. He says about the wall with the remnants of the murals that is right in front of us: "And here, right at this wall in 1919, they shot, and the priest was also shot, and right here, into the moat, and thrown off something", - and points with his hand to the hollow overgrown with something luxuriously dark green and large-leaved. Ecopark "New Kuzminskoe" To get to the Novoye Kuzminskoye eco-park, you need to cross the Northern Dvina - and our car royally leaves the ferry along the assorted pieces of wood that the ferry guy throws right on the sand at the pier - and then drive along the country road through the ivan-tea trellises. And again to enter some kind of Norway: a perfectly green lawn running up a hill with gravel paths, stones and flower beds, a runway for small aircraft and a helipad. Eight wooden houses of completely Scandinavian design outside and inside, the same chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, a panoramic view - the river and as far as the eye can see the forest, forest and forest, to the very horizon. A luxury eco-resort literally on the edge of the earth. Another house stands at the bottom of the Luza River, there is a cool bathhouse in it, and while swimming in dense, dark, fast and absolutely clear waters, you can watch the setting sun leave one side and flood the other. And finally, for the first time in my life, to see a real northern white night, when in the second hour a huge red moon rises and hangs over the trees standing on the palisade, in the west there is still a bright sunset light, and in the east it is already light. As we drive home and say that only Fäviken is missing here, our gray-silver luxury car completely dissolves against the bright sky. Totma And true love is, of course, the city of Totma. Into the distance and from all paths, unlike anything, living his measured and well-ordered life, with wooden sidewalks, wooden houses, the high bank of the Sukhona River and churches that look like sailing ships. These churches - and in general the Totem Baroque - became our main cultural discovery. These temples were built by local sailors in the 18th century, “from an excess of capital,” as stated in the charter of the Panov merchants, issued for the construction of the main masterpiece of the Totem baroque, the Church of the Entry into Jerusalem. And this is not just an architectural phenomenon, it is a sociocultural phenomenon. Totem sailors - merchants Panovs, merchants Cherepanovs, merchants Kholodilovs and all the others - this is a fifth of all the then world turnover of furs, this is Russian America - the Aleutian Islands, Fort Ross, founded by the Totmich Ivan Kuskov, these are 20 sea expeditions only in the second half of the 18th century ... Returning home with all their money earned on sables, arctic foxes and the Totem black fox, these people hired local architects - of the names only Fyodor Titov and his son Maxim survived - and built these amazing churches: Entry Jerusalem, Trinity, Rozhdestvenskaya. Their walls are covered with cartouches, the main decorative element of the totem baroque, or, as they were called in those days, with stamps resembling painted scrolls that adorned the nautical maps of that time. And if they were usually molded and, accordingly, destroyed, then the local cartouches are bricks pushed out from the walls by half the length, and for 250 years they are safe and sound. Cartouches of the Totem Baroque - and it has spread even in Transbaikalia - there are up to 50 species, on one Church of the Entry into Jerusalem there are nine varieties of them. And when it comes to you in the perspective of the quietest street like a decorated ship under full sails, it speaks of love for the homeland more than any braces and corrections.