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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First snow in Kandalaksha

Today, October 26 2016, we has this fall’s first snow. Much later than in past years. On this excuse I was dragged out to the Monastery Cape and told to stop whining about local wet and cold climate, or else sit in the warm car and wait. I chose to fake cheerfulness.

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My English students seek conversation practice

Here is a letter from one of them:

irina-2I’m desperate for English conversation practice!

In exchange, I can be your guide in Kandalaksha.

I can meet you at the train station, help you check into a hotel, recommend a place to eat, suggest places to visit, take you there, keep you from getting lost, and in every other way make you stay in Kandalaksha pleasant and comfortable. All totally free if you speak English to me and encourage me to do the same.

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Intellectual Life and Literature at Solovki

Intellectual Life and Literature at Solovki by Andrea Gullotta of the University of Glasgow is expected to come out in February 2017. solovki





















The book describes the initial period of the camp’s history, when it was relatively benign, with scientific and literary journals published, before it was turned into a killing site in the 1930s.

For details see

A small mid-October camping trip

This last weekend I was made to drag my ass along the south edge of the Kola Peninsula to the so-called Nos (“nose”) Cape, just east of the Golden Gate and Tetrina fishing base and ~3 miles to the village of Kuzreka. The latter is famous as the site of the Pomor ritual cookie festival and is, incidentally, open to foreign travellers despite Russian submarines regularly surfacing in the bay.


A popular summer destination among the locals, in the middle of October it was populated only by us, a fishing family from Apatity, and a bear who left numerous footprints


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Finally, an all-asphalt road to Salla, Finland


The last 15km long dirt and gravel section of the Alakurtti to Salla (Finland) road has finally been covered with asphalt. The ceremony of opening the road took place yesterday. Travel between Kandalaksha and Finland is now even easier.

Exhibition train in Kandalaksha on Oct. 5

railroad-expo-trainThe history of the Karelia and Murmansk part of the October railroad, originally connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg, and latest technological advances are said to be featured.

Here is the schedule of the train:

October 1 – Murmansk
October 2 – Zapolarnaya Station
October 3 – Olenegorsk
October 4 – Apatity
October 5 – Kandalaksha
October 6 – Kovdor
October 7 – Kem

Open 10am to 6pm, closed 1 to 2pm, admission fee 70 roubles.

Flooding in Kovda

flooding-kovdaHeard a couple of dramatic reports that water dumped from a reservoir up the Kovda river washed off the bridge in the village of Kovda downstream thus leaving the residents cut off from the mainland, and is threatening houses.

Complaints of no response from emergency services.

Kovda is some 80km south from Kandalaksha. See my small overview post on Kovda.

Events in honor of 100 years since the founding of Murmansk

murmanskIf you happen to be in Murmansk in the beginning of October, while the city is celebrating 100 years since its founding in 1916, there is no shortage of things to see. Many of them can be enjoyed without any knowledge of Russian. Here is the summary of main events to keep you entertained:

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Perishing in the Kola Peninsula woods and hills: the probability is 20 our of ??????

"Don't panic. There's another sign up ahead."The Murmansk Region section of the Ministry of Emergencies reported yesterday that since the beginning of 2016 43 persons were lost in the woods and hills, of which 11 were found dead and nine not located at all.

What level of risk these figures represent I know not since the total number of those venturing out was not told. Still, before leaving tell someone you are off, and indicate the route and the expected return time to make the search easier.