Questions on Russian travel (in particular to the north-west of European part of the country), working, or living are most welcomed. Write to inbox@unclepasha.com, contact me via Skype at Uncle_Pasha_2011, or use chat at the bottom right corner of this page.

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From Kandalaksha to Zapolarny

Just returned from a trip to Zapolarny on an interpreting assignment. Here are some useful bits pertaining to the logistics of travelling from Kandalaksha to Zapolarny cheap and easy.

The annoying thing is that there is no direct link, either by bus or railroad, between Kandalaksha and Zapolarny. You’ll have to travel through Murmansk. But it turned out easier than anticipated.

To get to Murmansk fast and cheap hop on a minibus that leaves at 5:30 am and 6:30 am off the train station parking lot. To reserve a seat call 8 911 349 9000. The trip will take about 4 hours and as of the moment, it costs 700 roubles ($12US). The train is slightly slower and considerably more expensive ($20-35) but there are several during the day. See tutu.ru for the train schedule.

Another option of getting to Murmansk is by arranging a ride through blablacar.ru. My first experience with the system was highly positive. Lots of traffic between Kandalaksha and Murmansk, and the “standard” cost is 500 roubles (under $10) per passenger.

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The discovery of Olenitsa

On our way from Kuzomen we stopped by the village of Olenitsa some 50km west. Somehow this place managed to evade our attention in all these years. The village turned out to be a delight, as are most places along the south cost of the Kola Peninsula. Here are a few photos of this charming Olenitsa place:

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Back in Kandalaksha this evening

Just letting the world know that we are slowly moving back towards Kandalaksha, and it is business as usual starting this evening. Greetings from the village of Kashkarantsy, where we stopped for the night.

Buddhist stupa near Apatity vandalized

Someone has recently written “Russia is an Orthodox country” on the “Stupa of Enlightenment” by the Apatity to Kirovsk road, one of the two stupas near Apatity built by local entrepreneurs brothers Igor and Oleg Belyayev. This is of course a far cry from the Taliban blowing up centuries-old statues of Buddha but still..

Had one too many beers, climbed the horsie, survived

On returning from the Village of Kuzomen found the little horse hanging by our camper again. This time, with more than one beer inside me, I thought it a good idea to get on the animal that, apart from attempting to bite at my legs, took this abuse quite calmly and gave me a ride around our camp. 

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Made it to Kuzomen

Almost free of misadventures. The only exception was the muffler that broke off while we were, already in Kuzomen, going through deep sand. No effect on the vehicle’s ability to move. Of the south coast of the Kola Peninsula attractions, I’ll share the impressions of our stop by the Chapel of the Unknown Monk, one of the key local saints whose body was pulled up in fishermen’s nets somewhere in the 16th century near what’s now the village of Kashkarantsy. The poor fellow never got identified, but fish was caught particularly well in the sea near his grave, and miracle cures happened, thus the status of “local saint” and a small chapel. In our stops there in previous years, we were delighted to see a donation box left undisturbed in this remote and unprotected place. Now it is gone, with the following instructions displayed instead:

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Half-price on all my services till the end of August

Yes, I can be hired as a guide, a driver, an interpreter, or an agent of any sort (market research, sourcing, location/people/grave/whatever search) from my return to Kuzomen expected around the middle of August till the end of the month for HALF PRICE, i.e. $12.50/hour, with the use of the vehicle also halved to 20 cents/kilometer. A rare opportunity to get me cheap while helping me to revive my stagnating business.

Rye dough figurine celebration in Kuzreka

Rye dough ritual figurine celebration took place in Kuzreka yesterday, August 8. That was the 8th event of this sort, and this time it attracted a crowd of 2000, including the representatives of the regional authorities and a bunch of folk music groups.

Part of the festival was the scarecrow competition. The only part of the festivities that made me regret I wasn’t there in person.

Here are some pictures of the event borrowed from hibiny.com:

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