Blogs from Kola Peninsula, Northwest, Russia, Europe

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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula May 31st 2014

Foreword To fully understand this story, we have to come back to the second half of January, to the Kola Peninsula, with its immense amounts of snow and a skiing tour in Hibiny. The full story is available in my blog. After I have returned from Hibiny, I surfed the web for almost five whole days in search of guided tours and interesting places in Russia, reading simply anything worth that came before my eyes. During my stay in Hibiny, the guide offered us a range of regional study books, one of which told about Tersky Pomors. It is that book that decided my going to the villages of Kola Peninsula. I have read a couple of passages about the old fishermen villages, and then checked out the options of public transportation. It turned out that ... read more
Tonya Tetrina
White SEa
Kuzreka Memorial

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula January 18th 2014

I make the preliminaries as short as possible: once I decided to join the 6-day ski touring of Hibiny with Club Perehod (my second trip with this company), paid the booking fee online (later paid the whole price also online), and waited. It is not necessary to explain my affection to skiing - and skiing in Hibiny Region, among rather noticeable mountains, is a treat not offered to many, though it is so cheap. In this case, I mean not Alpine skiing, but rather “ski-trekking”. In the next paragraph we will read some data about the region. Hibiny is the largest massif on Kola Peninsula, about 350 million years of geological age, its highest peak being Yudychvumchorr with 1200.6 meters above sea level; and the towns of Apatity and Kirovsk at mountains’ foot. To me, Apatity ... read more
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Everyone, Become Workers of the Transpolar Giant!
Hibiny Mountains

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula May 8th 2012

A lonely track winds its way along the Kola Peninsula's Tersky Coast from one log cabin village to the next, its orangey-brown earth taking up the majority of the narrow space between trees and sea. The taiga forest, its floor turned to swamp by the coming spring, ends abruptly on one side while on the other the White Sea, afloat with vast chunks of melting ice, laps the shore and fills the lungs with its fresh, salty breeze. A blazing sun beats down from a clear sky on this May morning, its rays sparkling on the sea's dark blue surface, illuminating the barky browns and mossy greens of the forest nearest to the road while leaving its depths utterly impenetrable to the eye. Half an hour after leaving the village of Varzuga our van stopped. Vasily, ... read more
The White Sea ice melting in May off the Tersky Coast, Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia
Wooden churches in Varzuga on the White Sea's Tersky Coast, Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia
A river melting near the Tersky Coast, Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula April 30th 2012

The mountainside rumbled under the hooves of 4,000 reindeer. When you put such a huge number of this species together, something very strange but well documented by science happens, and was taking place on a mountain on Arctic Russia’s Kola Peninsula at that moment: the reindeer were galloping around and around in a giant, perfectly-formed ring five hundred meters long and a dozen animals thick all the way around. Over the course of a day this grunting, snorting, mass of constantly circling animals was driven carefully down from the snowy heights, over the short, springy, brown vegetation that covered the boulder-strewn lower slopes and into the tundra and forest below. In this way the indigenous Saami reindeer herders began their Spring migration. I had arrived on Kola a few days previously after a 33-hour train ride ... read more
Saami reindeer herder, Lovozero Region, Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia
Saami reindeer herders riding a sledge on a frozen lake, Lovozero Region, Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia
Reindeer, Lovozero Region, Kola Peninsula, Arctic Russia

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk August 4th 2011

A curious thing about Russia is the queue culture at the train station. When I tried to buy my ticket alone I could not figure out how to do as some people seemed like they were standing in line while others were standing about the whole place. Luckily Sasha was not the kind of host who would let me do things by my own record. When arriving to a ticket queue the first thing to do is to shout out ‘kto paslednij’ (who is last?) and then wait until someone makes themselves noticed. Then you closely follow this person until he or her has his turn. That means you’re next. Who needs queue numbers now, huh? The fare to St. Petersburg costs 50 euro and getting my bike on there was free. This is very cheap ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk August 1st 2011

It really is too Russian to be true. Tanks and military enforcement everywhere. Not long after I came out of the 20 kilometer so-called control zone after crossing the Norwegian border 15 kilometers outside Kirkenes. In this control zone there is absolutely nothing and it is prohibited to go there without a visa to one of the countries in mention. Nothing really happened before 40 kilometers after, when suddenly a medium-sized city of concrete apartments erected from nowhere. Until then it was only the road and bushes. Zapalyani was the name and besides the soviet residential areas there was two 24-hours supermarkets. I tried both as it was getting chilly outside. In the second one I got one of the lady cashiers to heat up some water for me, so I could get a cup of ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk August 15th 2009

This story is about the evening spent on the train from Murmansk to St Petersburg, with three locals, Sergei, Svetlana and Leani. It is more like a story that you tell after a night of drinking, and there are no photos, rather than a regular travel blog, as so I have decided to split it out. Hope that you enjoy. The whole episode started very innocuously. I was sitting at the window talking photos of the passing scenery and reading my book of Alexander Pushkin short stories. The book was sitting on the table while I was snapping away and this Russian guy saw the author and picked it up and flicked through it and said a quick thank you in English and went on his way. At the next stop, he and his wife got ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk August 15th 2009

It is always an ominous start when your first flight is delayed, which causes you to miss your connection, which happened to me when the flight from New York to Helsinki was an hour late taking off. The up side was that instead of sitting for eight hours in a Moscow airport (more on that later) I got to fly to Stockholm, then on the Moscow, in time for me to catch the flight to Murmansk. The other great thing about that was that on my birthday I got stamps in my passport for Finland, Sweden and Russia. Not too bad at all. I have never been to either Finland or Sweden and I have to say that in flying over them, they are two of the most beautiful looking countries from the air. They have ... read more
3am in Murmansk and it is still light
Welcome! Take all the photos you want
Downtown Murmansk

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk November 22nd 2008

A short trip to the north - really far north Last summer dad had a few days off when mum still had to work. Those days dad took us for a short vacation trip without mum. That doesn't seem to happen very often these days. Dad doesn't seem to go anywhere without mum anymore. We have been thinking that maybe dad is getting too old to travel on his own. Or maybe it is that mum is not letting him travel on his own...? Well, last summer dad did go on a trip on his own and we were with him. To Murmansk in Russia all three of us went. That was a travel destination we didn't expect dad to take us to. We actually found Murmansk a bit exotic. Also going to a place north ... read more
John Lennon plaque
John Lennon statue
John Lennon plaque

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk July 2nd 2008

Communist Symbols I have a soft spot for communist symbols, communist statues, Lenin statues etc. I don't like what they stand for, but I like the way they look. One reason for that is probably that you can take excellent photos of them, and I like to take photos. In the years prior to the fall of the Soviet Union people in the communist world were to be constantly reminded of how great a system communism is and so on. Therefore every town had a Lenin statue, there were always a few streets in each town named after Lenin and Karl Marx, statues of war heroes dotted the cities and on city walls you could find plaques conmemorating communist leaders or a visit by Lenin or something. The symbol of hammer and sickle was to be ... read more
Plaque with Lenin picture
Lenin Statue
Lenin picture on a wall




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