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..

more >>

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: 
more >>

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.


The first sun of January in the mountains near Kandalaksha

Just a few photos that made these days the local photographer Artyom Kovalev. 10 minutes from the city by car, 30 minutes on foot, and voila …

more >>

A new no-words film on the Kandalaksha nature

The new film, entitled “This Cold North”, was shot by our friend and colleague, a biologist, photographer, and local history expert Gennady Alexandrov back in 1996 but just was released now. The focus of it is the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve..

2017 year summary

This is me by the White Sea coast ~200 meters from our new dacha, where my mate regularly drags me out, after a forced walk at minus 20 degrees centigrade (minus 4 Fahrenheit)

An appropriate end of December exercise may be to sum up the results of this year, my fourth one in Kandalaksha.

Making a living remains the number one issue. On that front I’m pleased to note that, after three years here, I seem to have achieved a certain popularity as an English tutor, and have just as many clients – mostly from among the local kids – as I need, three or four one hour lessons on an average day, exactly as much as I can comfortably handle.

As far as providing services to travelers and those who have an interest in Russia but can’t be here, several projects completed in 2017 come to mind.

more >>