Questions on Russian travel (in particular to the north-west of European part of the country), working, or living are most welcomed. Write to manfriday@yandex.ru, 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: more >>

Wild mushrooms

 

Despite recent month-long draught mushrooms started showing up. Picked up a bunch of brown cap boletus yesterday, relatively worm-free. Seems we are one good rain away from a major mushroom outcrop.

Guesthouses in Kuzomen

Kuzomen too succumbed to the temptation of having a bite off the growing tourist traffic. Several guesthouses have popped up recently.

Here is a couple of contacts:

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Off to Kuzomen

On our way to Kuzomen with a stopover in Kashkarantsy. Of things unpleasant, it was road repair, with 10 kilometers of large gravel between Umba and Kashkarantsy. Of misadventures, it was a blown camper tire. If we lose another one we are looking into a serious adjustment of plans as the nearest tire repair place is in Umba, 100+ kilometers of a really bad road back.

Saw a fox right in front of us but by the time Alexandra got out her camera the animal had almost disappeared in the bush.

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A jump over 40 meter bridge near Apatity

A roofer from Apatity, Alexander Borisov, jumped from a 40 meter bridge over the strait connecting Lake Ecostrov and Lake Imandra on Friday, apparently in search of adrenalin.

Consequences: a cracked bone and major bruises.

Alexander is asking people not to repeat this feat.

Back in circulation

This week I was visited by my brother Michael and his family. That was a delight although I may have been a bit tardy in answering your e-mails. Now, when he is on his way to Canada I’m back in circulation.

The newer and better version of Pasha

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“Stepping on Bones – Solovki and Russia’s Past” radio broadcast by BBC

Natalia Golysheva, a BBC correspondent whose grandfather was a Gulag prisoner, visited Solovki in June 2018. She joined pilgrims on their journey to the far-off skits, heard from local residents and spoke to the granddaughter of perhaps the most famous Gulag survivor Dmitry Likhachov asking her what Solovki represents in modern day Russia.

Among other things, Natalia explores the conflict between, on the one hand, the monastery, which is said to try to erase the traces of the prison history of the place, and, on the other, historians and human rights activists, who want Solovki preserved as a Gulag memorial.

«Stepping on Bones – Solovki and Russia’s Past». See the BBC site: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csxgtj

Artists are said to be invited to Solovki free of charge

Rumours have reached me that the Union of Independent Guides to Solovki invites artists, photographers, and bloggers to stay there for free in exchange for their paintings, photographs, or mentionings in blogs. Details here.

Moon in Lovozero last night

Not sure what the excitement is about but everybody seemed to have been talking about the “red moon” phenomenon yesterday. I saw no moon at 10pm, while the sun was still up, after which I retired for the night. Our friend in Lovozero, Tina Sovkina, however, stayed up and caught this “red moon” thng on camera, and here I am sharing the image with you.