The shores of Lake Ladoga naturally shines as one of Russia’s great potential tourist attractions. Its unique atmosphere, nurtured by remote cultural centers like the archipelago-based Valaam monastery, offers a cross between Nordic sensibilities and Slavic spirituality. By 1999, its traditional buildings were restored, and in 2001 even Russian President Vladimir Putin honored this fairy tale location with an official visit. Cruise ship passengers traveling between St. Petersburg and Moscow on Russia’s most popular waterway route frequent the cobbled streets of Upper Mandrogi. The intricate gingerbread-like traditional woodwork regularly attract international tourists, many of whom spend a day getting to know the museums here, each featuring a different aspect of Russian folk life. The most popular museum here is the Museum of Russian Vodka. It contains a collection of 2,800 different varieties of vodka from all across the Russian Federation, with displays educating the guest on the varying ways in which this spirit is produced. Craft workshops also teach about painting and wood carving, weaving, lacework, and pottery. A petting zoo and quail farm introduces those young at heart to local plants and animals. Upper Mandrogi truly is its own destination.