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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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:

  • Investigated supply lines for a traveller from St. Petersburg to Murmansk via the White Sea to Baltic canal (most recent). The trip has been cancelled or at least postponed until 2019 or 2020, and the boat is now for sale. Location: Riga, Latvia, but is about to be moved to the Mediterranean. Details >>
  • Person search in Kandalaksha (found)
  • Grave search in Arkhangelsk and Murmansk (found, photographed)
  • Wife search for a “non-standard” client (successful!)
  • Overview of the local wood market
  • Collection of biological samples (poor mussels!)
  • Search for filming locations
  • A number of translator/guide/driver assignments

Anything else I can do for you in this corner of Russia? Ideas and enquiries are welcomed.

No charge for the first hour of my time! Free consultations to those contemplating a trip to this corner of the world!!

“Living Symbols of the Arctic” exhibition in Murmansk from May 4 to June 5 2018

An artist of our acquaintance from Apatity, Irina Sitdikova, is holding a personal exhibition in Murmansk, at Prospekt Lenina 82, from May 4 to June 5 2018.

Irina’s specialization is stylized animals: seals, reindeer, fish, birds. Most of her art is available for purchase. 

Why is Russia like it is?

Here is a comprehensive yet of manageable size, profound yet easy to read article by Martin Levine, former Foreign Service Officer, explaining why Russia is what it is with all her peculiarities, which are likely to make our lives more difficult than they have to be for a long time to come. I stumbled onto it on Quora.com

I have spent a few months in Russia so I maybe understand their attitude a little bit.

The Russians have a set of issues that make it difficult for them to relate to the rest of the world, not just the USA.

A Profound Sense of Loss

The Russians are sort of like the British. They had an Empire and they lost it. Some parts of the Soviet Union were kept there by force, an internal empire. The Uzbeks, the Ukrainians, the Kazakhs, might have preferred to do their own thing. Then of course there were the “satellite “ countries of Eastern Europe. And, the Russians had outposts in Cuba, Vietnam, Angola and elsewhere.

The link to the rest of the article >

Volostnaya hill accessible by foot

I’m pleased to share with the world that Volostnaya Hill overlooking Kandalaksha has, unlike it was the case last March, well-packed trails, and can be accessed on foot without skies, snowshoes, or other contraptions and ceremonies.

Here are some photos from our trip there today..

Trees are fully packed in snow, a local “March” phenomenon, a consequence of wind and high humidity..


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A wedding in the Khibiny Mountains

The Kukisvumchorr ski resort http://www.25chorr.ru/

Downhill skiers Maria and Ivan celebrated their wedding here today.

Photo from the downhill skiing complex in VKontakte: 
https://vk.com/25chorr?w=wall-60271949_6831
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From Salla/Kemijarvi/Rovanijemi to Kandalaksha by bus

This week I received two inquiries from travellers planning a trip from Finland to Kandalaksha by bus.

It appears there is no scheduled bus but trips at the moment by passenger van are regularly organized.

Here is the list of companies that offer such trips:

  • http://transfer-tour.ru/
  • https://www.kandalaksha.org/perevozchik51/index.htm
  • https://vk.com/id316070484
  • https://vk.com/club52969354
  • https://vk.com/id8120737

(courtesy of www.allaboutlapland.fi)

The procedure is to call them and ask when the next trip is, and to reserve a seat, and to arrange a place to meet. The cost is in the area of 2000 roubles ($40).

If you need help communicating with local service providers feel free to ask me by writing to manfriday@yandex.ru 

PS. Just got a call from one of the operators, Sergei, tel. +7 921 157 9231, who confirmed that there are no regular buses but trips are organized “on demand”. At this moment he has the trips scheduled for March 5, 8, 10, and 17. The trip from Rovaniemi to Kandalaksha is 3000 roubles ($50+) and from Salla to Kandalaksha 2000 roubles. No particular pickup point but call Sergei and give him your address, and he’ll pick you up. And HE DOES SPEAK ENGLISH!! Since there are about five operators like him you can pretty much get on the bus every or nearly every day.

PPS. A comment from Alexandra:

It would be good for the foreign traveller to understand that all the buses are focussed on shop tours to Finland for the Russians. That is, the probability is high that either/neither the dispatcher or/nor the driver will speak English, and the routes, the places and times of parking are tied to major stores popular with the Russians. Also many of these tours originate in Murmansk or Apatiny..

Record snowfalls

 

 

I don’t know how many inches of the stuff fell down this week but here is a short video by Natalia Vopiyashina of Varzuga showing the Kandalaksha to Varzuga bus being pushed through snow by passengers somewhere around Kashkarantsy.

A review article in English: The White Sea – an Exotic Sea of the Russian North

“The White Sea, now the only inland sea in Russia, is a semiclosed basin connected with the Barents Sea through Gorlo and Voronka. Voronka and the Mezen Bay are also assigned to the White Sea. The geographic bound ary of the White and Barents seas passes along the line Svyatoi Nos Cape – Kanin Nos Cape.
Throughout the ages the White Sea have played an important role in economy of the North and North West of Russia. Many important events and stages in formation of Russia as a sea-power are associated with the White Sea”.

An article, in English, about the White Sea and scientific research on the White Sea, by A. P. Alekseev and V. G. Kulachkova “The White Sea – an Exotic Sea of the Russian North” (PDF: Alekseev_Kulachkova_The White Sea – an Exotic Sea of the Russian North_1999)

White Sea in late November. Photo by Gennady Alexandrov

Fourteen Citroen 2CV cars expected in Murmansk on January 26

Fourteen “ugly duckling” Citroen 2CV cars with 29 courageous Dutch on board have left Groningem, the sister city of Murmansk, and are expected to arrive on January 26. They will be parked by the Radisson Polarnye Zori hotel on ulitsa Knipovicha 17. The official meeting with Murmansk residents is next day, Saturday, January 27, at 12:30 pm. Free admission.

The group plans to visit the Children’s Hospital and the Center for the Disabled in Murmansk.