Here is the schedule of boat trips between Kem (the village of Rabocheostrovski) and Solovetsky Islands:
March is considered by some to be the best time to travel around these places. Enough light, not bitterly cold, yet winter, which defines the character of the region, is still in full bloom. You stand a good chance of seeing aurora borealis too. Alexandra has just stumbled on this photo report of a bicycle trip to Solovki in March.
It needs to be mentioned that the only way to get to Solovki this time of year is by plane from Arkhangelsk at the cost of 10 th. roubles ($US170) both ways.
Nordavia has just announced its spring and summer 2015 schedule of Arkhangelsk to Solovki flights. Tuesdays and Sundays leaving Arkhangelst at 1:35pm, and back 3:15pm, in the air about one hour, at the cost of 9500-9800 (about $160 at today’s exchange rate). Probably easier than the classic route by boat from Kem.
There is something incongruous, if anybody cares about my opinion, about a luxury cruise to a place of prayer. But I’m not here to influct my opinion to would be travellers to Russia, or else would lose even that small trickle of clients that keeps me afloat. I’m here to share the good news that a luxury liner recently renamed St. John of Kronshtadt after a fin de siecle religious figure who, among other things, strongly advocated ascetic practices will be crusing between Akrhangelsk and Solovki. Before it was called Belinsky (a literary critic) and Shlisselburg (a fortress and a political prison at the mouth of River Neva, 30km west from St. Petersburg). Starting June 2014, Belinsky-Shlisselburg-St.John will be leaving Arkhangelsk every Tuesday and Friday. For details see www.solovkicruise.
To be translated, commente on, and posted here soon.
A town in Karelia, on the White Sea, about halfway between Medvezhyegorsk (“Bear Mountain”) and Kandalaksha, 15km off the main highway. Populaton ~30 th. Any train to Murmansk will go through Kem’. About 32 hours from Moscow, 25 from Saint-Petersburg, and 2-3 from Kandalaksha.
Visit Kem’ if you are interested either in the Pomors (an ethnic or cultural group, a subset of Russians), or the history of Gulag. A boat to the Island of Solovki – a popular destination among the Orthodox Russians because of the Solovetski monastery – leaves from the Kem’ port.
Here is yet another report, this time from Solovki.