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

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Looking for accommodation in Lovozero, Murmansk region. A case study.

By Alexandra

1In my romantic 13, when I wanted to become a vet, if someone was to tell me that I will end up organizing tours, I would consider such a silly idea not worth even being laughed at. But God works in mysterious ways. Having bound myself up with PV I got immersed into a peculiar area of private foreigner travel to Russia. A funny subject.

To me tourists travelling as an organized herd along a set route (Kremlin-Hermitage-Volga-the-great-Russian-river) are of little interest, and I would not myself explore the world that way. On the other hand it is hard to imagine how a foreigner can travel through Russia without a babysitter, in which capacity PV offers himself. The more I live, the more respect I develop towards an occasional freak that manages to avoid both joining an organized herd and using a babysitter.

Here, let us consider our trip to Lovozero..

Lovozero, founded over 400 years ago, if often called the center of Russian Lapland and the center of Saami – the indigenous people of the Kola Peninsula.

A great number of sports and tourist routes starts at Lovozero.

In the local museum and in the National Cultural Center one can get acquainted with history, culture, and lifestyle of Saami, and also to buy national clothing, household items and other articles by Saami masters.

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Leviathan by Andrey Zvyagintsev

leviathanSome time ago I’ve informed the dear public about a monumental film being shot in Kirovsk and Teriberka. Now I’m pleased to add that this film in about to come out (November 2014) and it was voted best at the London Film Festival (according to this tweet by the British Film Institute). Before that Leviathan got the Best Foreign Film Prize at the 32nd International Festival in Munich, and the Best Script award on the 67th Сannes Festival. Presently it is seeking the Oscar on behalf of Russia.

About Leviathan on Wiki >>

Peter Bradshaw, Leviathan – a new Russian masterpiece, in The Guardian >>

Trailer with English subtitles >>

Lovozero – accommodation overview

lovozero_accomodThe next planned exploratory trip is to Lovozero, where the Bartosh family, the keepers of the Amethyst Coast shop, move for the winter. Now we are in the process of collecting info on Lovozero. The distance from Kandalaksha is 220km. Doable in one day but not easily. Also we want more time to check the place out, with Bartoshes‘ help if possible. So where to stay for the night is an issue. Here is what Alexandra has dug out so far:

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The Trip to Kolvitsa is nearing printing

Here is how the book’s official announcement in English will look like:

About The Trip to Kolvitsa

At the core of this book is a series of interviews with Kolvitsa old-timers, the oldest of whom were born in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Many of those interviewed are direct descendants of a small group of Karelian migrants who moved here and founded the village in early 90s of the 19th century. These interviews were mostly taken and processed in the Fall of 2014 and, together with historic background, provide a comprehensive view onto the origin and history of the village.

The book starts with a historic overview of lands around Kolvitsa, first mentioned in the middle of the 16th century as property of the Monastery of Holy Virgin in Kandalaksha. more >>

Letters in support of Evgeny Vitishko

Noticed a call by Amnesty International and Greenpeace to post a photo of nature on any social network, mark it with hashtag #freevitishko, and write a few lines in support of Evgeny Vitishko. Greenpeace volunteers will print these out and send them to the prison camp where Vitishko is doing his time for painting on a fence.