Natalia Griakalova. Alexander Blok’s travel map: Belgium, 1911

During the epoch when travels around Western Europe typically characterized the modus vivendi of the intellectuals Alexander Blok was not inclined to leave Saint-Petersburg too often and for a long time, except for journeys to Shakhmatovo in Klinskii district of Moscow region, where he spent his every summer till 1917. Such sedentism surprised his friend Vl. Piast, who was writing from Munich in May 1906: “Ne ponimaiu, kak eto kazhdyi russkii, imeiushchii svobodnoe vremia i khot’ ochen’ nemnogo neistrachennykh deneg, ne ezdit – na mesiats goda cherez dva – za granitsu”. In his return letter from same Shakhmatovo, Blok, as it often happened when concerning the “struny” of his soul, respectfully avoided answering the question (“Raduius’, chto Vam khorosho v Miunkhene. A mne teper’ ne khotelos’ by za granitsu” – VIII, 154), leaving the discussion “o slavianofil’stve i zapadnichestve” for the future. Mania transcendi, which had determined the life of the poet’s great-grandfather – G. S. Karelin, who was a keen traveller and researcher of Middle Asia and Siberia, was not inherited by Blok, yet its traces can be found in passionate impulses of his soul and inner anxiety, in his aspiration for the highest points of passion and possibly the very “ideia puti” (“idea of the way”).