I am really happy that mother got us on that mini-vacation. It was really cold (-25 to -32 instead of -10 to -15 as was promised when mama got tickets), but we still had good time. Meaning that I took long walks in woods until I got cold, that really wasn't that long less than two hours each, and took lots of photos and Ola spent mornings in library and walked around a bit too. I was forever grateful that I won an argument and packed my skiing clothes, they are perfect if you need to dive into the snowdrift to take a good photo or if you got lost and have to cut through woods without any roads. On the first night we took a small walk after signing in and I was frozen when we got back even if it was much shorter then all others I took later. Also when Ola and I went for a walk together - because mother is always annoyed that I can easily bring back several hundreds of photos and none of them will have me in it - I wore jeans as it was supposed to be a short walk. I couldn't feel my thighs when we finally got back.
But it is really beautiful there, I could have spent even more time just walking around if I wasn't risking getting a cold as it was.
There are many walking ways made through the woods and several local sights, main one being the "Love Tree" which is actually two trees - a birch and a fur-tree - growing side by side. In a popular custom couples come there and write their names on birch and hang a ribbon on a fur-tree. Also after really strong winds last year there are many birches that are bent over all over the woods, but that track is especially pretty because those bent trees form arcs all over it. There are also random fur-trees, mostly near buildings, that are decorated for New Year with paper toys and garlands.
Main disappointment was that we didn't see any squirrels. Usually there are a lot of them around there and all are really used to people - enough to be a bit of nuisance at times, as they have no problems with jumping onto your hand or head, or raiding your room if you left a window open and there is a convenient branch near. This time it was too cold for them as they apparently preferred to rely on whatever they had hidden and didn't show up at all. So all of the feeding places were take over by pigeons.
Still, night life in woods was very active judging by tracks. There were a lot of squirrel tracks where they either played or were running for their stashes. Several times I come over bigger tracks that I couldn't hope to identify, so they could be anything from local mouser cats to куницы. And woodpeckers were everywhere. You just had to walk a couple of minutes into the woods and they will be барабанить around you. But taking a photo of one was a challenge - they would fly away as soon as they see a camera, not to mention that they were always really high. I feel that last photo in this set shows quite clearly how local birds felt about me taking photos of them.
And of course when I was walking alone I had great time looking around and just admiring how beautiful winter is. And capturing that beauty on photos.
All in all I am definitely going to go there more for weekends whenever I need some time off. It is close enough - only an hour on bus from me - and prices are good for what they offer. My main complaint was that they have softer beds that is comfortable for me, but it is not so bad that I can't sleep in them for a night or two. And in warmer weather there is much more fun there to explore.