This post is also available in: PortuguêsMillions of people visit St Petersburg annually, nothing fairer than that as it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. What happens is, the surroundings of the city is also impressive and only a few tourists adventure themselves over there. We were lucky to have met a Russian group practicing rafting in Georgia. After having ended up accidentally at the same guesthouse as them in a city which there isn’t anything else to do a part from rafting, we spent the night together drinking chacha (a Georgian distillate from grape) at the best Russian style – shots, shots and more shots! They were going back to St. Petersburg by car (3600Km) and we agreed to take a lift with them two weeks later. Everything was sorted out and in two weeks’ time we met again with two of them, Sergey and Kostya. We drove for a day and a half until we reached St Petersburg, though we stayed there for only a few minutes. They were taking us to a forest where they have a rafting base as well as a summer camp. A forest in Russia? We did not know what to expect. Once the car began entering the forest, with those massive trees, the snow began falling for the first time in the year. Then we started to get excited. It was night. We arrived at the wooden bungalows and slept. We spent five days over there exploring the landscape, the famous Temperate Coniferous type of forest, which was unknown to us and the one we have seen on school books. The place is near the Finnish border (it was still Finnish territory up to 1939) and that is why they have a similar vegetation with the one of the Nordic countries. The Bodon forest is surrounded by enormous lakes and is full of activities related to water, such as rafting, kayak and fishing. Any walk around the forest is also impressive and on top of that, you can go foraging for wild mushrooms and many types of berries to eat later. At night, when the cold was stronger, we went around the fire-place inside a yurta and made barbecues and mulled wine. We spent nights over there, telling stories, playing guitar and laughing a lot. Losevo, as the village we stayed is named, is a weekend and holiday destination for many Russians, albeit it is still unknown for the majority of tourists who visit St. Petersburg. It is a shame, as there is only 120 km between the two. Our days in Losevo taught us a lot about Russian culture (particularly about this area of the country, which seems to have, sometime, more similarities with Finland and Norway than with Russia itself). But above it all, the biggest lesson was to appreciate the cold, which for us – mainly Fernanda though -, have always been afraid of. Over there, we realised that cold does not stop anybody’s life but, in fact, only make things cozier. Lena Summer Camp and Kiviniemi Rafting Base are 20 min walking from each other and very easily accessed by train, bus or car. Information about Lena Summer Camp: The chalets fit up to 6 people and have toilet and kitchen. To rent it from Monday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday would cost 7900 RUB (around US$122). You can use all the facilities of the place, such as the activities for the children, climbing wall, boats, fishing rods and so on. Information about Kiviniemi: Kiviniemi is a rafting and kayak base. Over there you can rent all the necessary equipment for the activities. For those who have never practised before, they also have available classes and guides. Other activities, such as bike rides are also available. Contact – [email protected] or [email protected] And please, very clear, we are not saying about them because we have met them but because we loved the experience! For those following Monday Feelings, you know we like to search for the least known touristic tours and more for the ones which has local life. If you are also this type of traveller, run over there (but please contact them beforehand as this is in the middle of a forest!).