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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Beauty Kanda’s Tales festival August 29

beaty-kandas-storiesA big town event is happening this Saturday, August 29 by the Spolokhi Hotel.

Performances by folk groups, historic reconstruction, tasting of home teas and jams, stalls by local artisans etc.

We visited the event last year, found it enjoyable, and can recommend it to anyone who happens to be travelling through Kandalaksha.

Arctic Trophy – 2015

arctic-trophyArctic Trophy-2015 motor rally starts in Kandalaksha on Sunday August 30 at 12 noon from the main square.

Participants will register in the Belomorye hotel on the 29th from 10am to 10pm, and have their vehicles inspected.

The race is towards the Barents sea coast, it will last a week, and is 500km long. The event has been held for ~20 years.

Here is a video from Arctic Trophy-2013 to give you an idea of what it looks like:




Finally, a series of killjoy photos from Sredny and Rybachy

Generally you foreigners are better toilet-trained than my compatriots, and I’m posting the photos below not to teach you but only to contribute to the realistic image of the place in the eyes of would-be visitors. Usually Sredny and Rybachy are shown too idealistically to my taste, and I’d like to inflict a small doze of reality upon you.


sredny more >>

“Forest Festival” in Pyal’ma, Karelia

pyalma-festivalThis weekend, August 14 and 15, Forest Festival was held in the village of Pyal’ma, Pudozh district, on the east shore of Onega Lake.

The aim of the festival was to attract attention to the preservation of Karelian taiga forests. The festival had several hundred visitors, and featured regional eco-tourism operators, local artisans, lectures and tours of taiga, and a separate programme for children.

This was the second event of this sort. The third one is planned for next year, for end of July or beginning of August 2016. Visitors, participants, or sponsors are invited. To participate next year contact Elena Pilipenko by writing to

Read more about the Festival, in Russian, on the site of the event’s organizer SPOK, or on their Vkontakte page.

Consequences of trespassing to “no foreigner” zones

procecutorJust spoke with a recently retired Umba and Kandalaksha procecutor. Asked him about what happens to foreigners caught in the “no foreigner” zones such as Umba or Sredny/Rybachy peninsula. The answer was that such cases have been extremely rare and that no consequences beyond a small fine and 2-3 hours at the police station can be expected. The fact that these areas are not clearly marked takes most of the blame off the offender, he said. But remember his was retired! And the trend in the last few years has been towards “tightening the nuts”. But my impression based on the conversation is that getting into these zones is not such a big deal.

If you are in Kandalaksha this weekend..

sun-city-2..consider a visit to the Sun-City Festival between Kandalaksha and Luvenga. Watch for a sign on the main road.

Performances, workshops, arts and crafts for sale.

Some photos from last year’s >>