By another night train I headed north to Petrozavodzk, on the shore of Lake Onega, where I arrived shortly before 8 a.m. I crossed the railway line by the overpass and found myself in a depressing part of town: many streets seemed left unfinished and straggled disorderly, new blocks were under construction next to old wooden houses, and nobody was around. The sky was a bleak grey, and I could only imagine how much more dreary it would be in winter. The supermarket at the corner offered some food, but by then I was at my wit's ends after trying all the products that looked barely edible and never coming across anything worthwhile. The Russian writing put me off as far as the content of the packages, and even when I felt reassured by a familiar appearance I had often been deceived. That was why I had promised myself, for instance, never to buy cold cuts again – decidedly sub-standard – or supermarket cheese – perfectly tasteless.