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
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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 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

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk June 26th 2008

The sun hasn't set on this town yet I (Ake) had some time on my hands now after Emma and I came home from Dublin and had nothing planned. So I went to Murmansk in northern Russia. Emma had to work and couldn't join me. But she wasn't interested in going there anyway. She couldn't see the point in visiting Murmansk. When I arrived at Murmansk airport I was asked by a man I met there why I decided to go to Murmansk of all places. I happily answered: "Why not?" and he laughed. I explained that to us Murmansk actually is sort of exotic. He didn't agree partly because he is from Russia and partly because he did his military in Murmansk and spent two years there then. Well Murmansk being exotic really is one ... read more
... and the reason why Murmansk is so special
The railway station in Murmansk
Amusement park

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Kola Peninsula » Murmansk July 11th 2006

I've made it - into Russia at long last! Sorry for the lack of updates over the past week or so - it's been really hectic here what with travelling and also a lack of internet cafes. Anyway, I'm typing this from a place in Moscow, just off of Red Square. A few of us got up early this morning to queue to see Lenin in his mausoleum and wow, what an occasion! As you can imagine, the tomb itself is very austere with soldiers around making sure you keep in line and keep on walking around the glass cabinet containing his body. The place itself is very dimly lit and cold (especially as it's about 30C outside at the mo). It's just off of Red Square with the huge walls of the Kremlin providing the ... read more




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