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

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I’m ready for a new challenge

For the last few months, in addition to translating Alexandra’s book on the eiders (the end of the project is now in sight sometime in 2019) and teaching English (mostly to local kids), I’ve been looking where a motor yacht could fill up with quality diesel fuel between St. Petersburg and Murmansk. Now, with the yacht project over, 1/3 of my time and energy is freed up, and am ready to apply it to the benefit humanity and to help in paying our bills.

Examples of jobs done in the last three or four years, since our move to the Kola Peninsula: more >>

Moose in heat

The fall reproductive season has started in the Murmansk Region moose, which makes the animals careless and aggressive, and likely to end up in front of your car. I hear of at least a couple of accidents each year involving vehicles hitting moose on local roads, usually with ugly consequences. And yes, they can be aggressive. I was kicked by one in the Sokolniki part in Moscow a few years ago, after trying too eagerly to take a good photo. And in my younger days I witnessed a scene when a female moose chaced a boy. Never thought a human could run so fast! Come to think of it, both incidents happened when the animals were likely to be in heat, in spring in the former and in the fall in the latter story. You’ve been warned.

..was dragged out to Luvenga Tundras today

My tough and somewhat cruel mate used the fact that today I had no teaching engagements at all – a rare case during the school year – to drag me out into the hills in the vicinity of Luvenga, ~10 miles east of Kandalaksha along the south shore, with the purpose of “contemplating natural beauty”.

I’d estimate we walked at least 10km up and down a wet, muddy and rocky trail and got to the height of 500+ meters. Now my legs are falling off.

I admit however the scenery was indeed on the beautiful side, and I’m ready to take you travellers to the hills in exchange for a modest financial contribution to keeping us afloat. The trip includes a picnic.

Of things practical/edible – even though we are sick of mushrooms at this time of the year – we’ve collected one perfect King bolete and several Weeping boletes. Lots of blueberries and some lingonberry in the hills even though there very few berries by the sea because of the summer drought.

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2018 Northern lights season has started

A few sightings of this phenomenon have been noticed starting as far back as two weeks ago. No, you don’t need it to be cold but darkness and clear sky are essential. See some of my old advice to those seeking to see Aurora, including a link to the local Kandalaksha group of Aurora hunters.

Today’s Honey agaric catch

The mushroom season is in full swing. Today we collected a bunch of honey agaric, and am not sure what to do with them as by this time I’m almost sick of eating mushrooms even though picking them remains fun. Probably we’ll marinate some of them, fry another part, and freeze the rest.

An encounter with Daphne mezereum

Ran into one yesterday while exploring the coast and picking mushrooms. Daphne mezereum (February daphne)is said to be highly poisonous, with five berries able to kill a grown man. It causes swelling of the walls of air passages and a rather unpleasant death from suffocation. No thanks. The post about Daphne in Alexandra’s Facebook resulted in quite a discussion.

The 25th Arctic Trophy race starts off Kandalaksha on Sunday, Sept. 2 2018

Yet another of these silly events… As much as I dislike motors and vehicles and other activities that take me away from my couch I’ll share this piece of news because this sort of happenings does attract viewers, among whom an occasional client may materialize.

Starts on Sunday, September 2 2018, on the Kandalaksha’s main square, and proceeds to an undisclosed location somewhere on the Barentz Sea shore, probably ending up in Murmansk.

The race lasts a week, and participants are, in addition to Russia, from Norway and Finland. The Norwegians will be riding their ATVs.

This is the 25th race of this sort.

Here is a video from one of the past Arctic Trophy events to give you an idea what it looks like.

A bear seen near Polarniye Zori

A bear – and a huge one – is said to have been noticed in the outskirts of Polarniye Zori, 20km north from Kandalaksha. It seems to have been attracted to the town by garbage and caused quite a panic in the community, judging from social networks.

Wild mushrooms

 

Despite recent month-long draught mushrooms started showing up. Picked up a bunch of brown cap boletus yesterday, relatively worm-free. Seems we are one good rain away from a major mushroom outcrop.