After we ate, Danila and his sister Dasha took me to the banks of the Volga to walk around. My pictures there didn't turn out so great, but I'll include them anyway. Picture a river as broad as the Mississippi but not as brown. Picture rolling hills covered with birches and pines where people pick mushrooms after a mushroom rain. Picture fishing and swimming. For those of us who grew up at the end of the cold war, the word Russia summoned up dreadful images, but really it is beautiful beyond words.